Florida Education Association Responds to Governor DeSantis on Quality Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

This just came in from the Florida Education Association. Ten percent of Florida’s 3 million students attend charter schools. Five percent attend voucher schools, most of which are religious. Eighty-five percent attend public schools. Governor DeSantis and the Legislature should not ignore the eighty-five percent while catering to the wants, needs, and desires of the fifteen percent.

FEA statement on Gov. DeSantis and education

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Education Association (FEA) President Fedrick Ingram released this statement today following the inauguration of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Gov. DeSantis has said he is focused on giving every child the opportunity for a world-class education. So are the members of the Florida Education Association, and we hope to work with him toward that goal. We want a great education available to every child, and we want every student to be successful.

“Our state can do the most good for the greatest number of students…

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Mitchell Robinson Consoles Fordham Institute on Loss of Scott Walker

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mitchell Robinson, a professor of music education at Michigan State, was bemused by the reaction of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s to Scott Walker’s election defeat.

He begins:

“I have to say that it’s pretty amusing to see an–allegedly–education-focused website like the Fordham Institute print this “sky is falling” forecast of new Wisconsin governor Tony Evers’ predicted influence on schooling in the state, but it’s illustrative of Fordham’s deep hatred for public education, and their support for the corporate ed reform agenda. Between the twisting of facts and innuendos, it’s like taking a stroll through a hallway of funhouse mirrors…so join me as we take a peek at their concerns:

“They are concerned that Evers wants to adequately fund schools: “Evers wants to increase school funding—even more than Walker”…

“Yes, because Walker was such a big supporter of public schools. (My eyes just rolled back so hard they bumped into…

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John Thompson: Oklahoma and the Same Tired Privatization Agenda, Part 3

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the third in a series about education politics in Oklahoma by John Thompson, historian and retired teacher.

The Oklahoman no longer dominates Oklahoma politics as it did for generations, but it is still the biggest bear in our woods. Now that legislators and governor-elect are more inexperienced than ever, the corporate school reform-loving newspaper is aggressively pushing its privatization agenda. Since our state government is almost completely lacking in knowledge of how and why the state implemented the entire accountability-driven, charter-driven experiment at the beginning of the decade, who knows who will win the hearts and minds of newly-elected officials?

One of the most worrisome of the Oklahoman’s recent editorials praised Reason magazine’s prescription for school improvement. Reason’s diagnosis was virtually indistinguishable from that of Jeb Bush’s ExcelinEd, which said that underfunded high-poverty urban schools don’t need more money as much as they need to learn from high-performing…

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How Many Decisions Do Teachers Make Every Day?

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Teaching is an exhausting job.

If you’re a parent, you know how tiring it is with just one or two kids.

Imagine having a room full of them — Twenty to thirty children, each demanding your attention, each requiring your urgent help – every minute, every day, for hours at a time.

Back in the late 1980s, before education became totally absorbed by standardized testing and school privatization, we used to wonder about the effects of such need on a single individual.

We used to wonder how much was really being asked of our teachers.

Today no one outside of the classroom really gives it much thought. We think of educators as part of a vast machine that is required to give us and our children a service.

We’re stakeholders. They’re service providers. And the students are a national resource.

None of us are people.

Perhaps it’s this dehumanizing…

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John Thompson: The News from Oklahoma, Part 1

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the first of a three-part series. Last spring, Oklahoma experiences a mass teacher walkout to protest underfunding of public schools.

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher, writes:

Oklahoma made national headlines in 2018 because of its teacher walkout; teachers running for the legislature; and a “Blue Wave” in Oklahoma City and the nation’s biggest congressional upset. But the election of a vocal Trump supporter as governor has emboldened privatizers. In some ways, the drama is more common in states, like Oklahoma, that have cut schools and public services in the most extreme manner. Mostly, however, the assault on the state’s schools and the teachers’ counter-attack is representative of national privatization campaign.

Test-driven, charter-driven reform failed, so now the Billionaires Boys Club is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in selling the “Portfolio Model.”

The Portfolio Model is new and different. Its strategy is the opposite: charter-driven, test-driven reform.

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Ohio: Kasich Appoints Four Businesspeople to State Board of Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ohio Governor John Kasich once again demonstrates his cluelessness about and hostility towards educators by apoointing four businesspeople to the state board of education. Apparently, there is not a single person in the education field in the state of Ohio whom he trusts to make decisions about the state’s education programs from preK-university.

Kasich appointed a realtor and three manufacturers to the state board. No educators wanted.

Gov. John Kasich named a realtor and three managers of manufacturing companies to the state school board this week, continuing his efforts to make workforce preparation a greater part of Ohio’s education system.

Kasich has made better preparation of students for careers a major goal of his administration, winning on some issues. But he was thwarted on two much-publicized ones – seeking to have teachers spend time in businesses and a bid to merge the state departments of education, higher education and…

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Vaping in the Classroom

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One of the challenges of being a public high school teacher is developing a constant awareness of what is transpiring in my classroom. Even when I conference individually with my student, my eyes and ears are open in a hyper-observant manner that I have cultivated over decades.

Of course, times change, and over those decades, what I’ve needed to pay attention to has evolved– including smoking, it seems.

Now, there’s vaping.

I saw a commercial for vaping in which the advertiser stated that vaping is meant to help smokers who are trying to quit.

Nice try.

As that advertiser was speaking, I was hearing my own high-school-classroom, overlay script:

Vaping makes it easier for teenagers to access nicotine without being detected. Why, they can even vape during class, in the classroom, and many teachers would not even realize it because it would not occur to them to even consider…

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Houston: Governor Wants to Take Over Houston Public Schools, Although No State Takeover Has Ever Succeeded

Publicity stunt.

Power play.

Governor and Lt. Governor are clueless and hostile about public education.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Governor Greg Abbott, not known for his educational credentials, tweeted insults at the school board of the Houston Independent School District. The privatization buzzards are circling. The governor wants to take over the entire district, even though no one at the state government or the Texas Education Agency knows how to turn around a district or even a school. As a graduate of the HISD, I take these insults personally. Since when did a Republican governor decide that local control was a terrible idea? Is Governor Abbott a socialist?

Thankfully, Jitu Brown of the Journey for Justice is in Houston, warning about what happened in Chicago and other cities.

Be it noted that no state takeover has ever succeeded. The bureaucrats know only one trick: give the public schools to charter operators, who kick out the kids with disabilities and English learners. Some reform.

The threat of a state takeover…

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Tony Evers, Inaugurated as Wisconsin Governor, Faces a Divided State But Has Backing from Strong Public Education Network

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In his fine book on the political ramifications of the 2010 Red-wave state elections, The One Percent Solution, Gordon Lafer describes state politics marked by big money and the impact of the Tea Party: “In January 2011, legislatures across the country took office under a unique set of circumstances.  In many states, new majorities rode to power on the energy of the Tea Party ‘wave’ election and the corporate-backed RedMap campaign.  Critically, this new territory included a string of states, running across the upper Midwest from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, that had traditionally constituted labor strongholds…. In addition, this was the first class of legislators elected under post-Citizens United campaign finance rules, and the sudden influence of unlimited money in politics was felt across the country… Wisconsin’s was the most notorious legislation adopted during this period… Wisconsin’s ‘Budget Repair Bill’ (Act 10) largely eliminated collective bargaining rights for the state’s…

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Oklahoma: Businessman Splits Rural Town by Opening a Charter to Compete with Public School

Diane Ravitch's blog

I read this story with a growing sense of disgust. A businessman in Oklahoma opened a charter school in a small town to focus on career readiness and job training, functions already offered by the local public school.

This man, with no experience in education, lured 29 students to share his vision and abandon the community public school. He did so over the objections of the local school district.

Within the walls of the Academy of Seminole, eight rented rooms in a community college library, it can be hard to see why the little school has kicked up so much dust in this former oil boomtown, population 7,300. On a recent Friday, businessman and school founder Paul Campbell addressed the students, just 29 freshmen and sophomores, to tell them what it’s like to run a business.
What he dislikes? Making small talk at political events and “firing people.” What he…

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