Frank Breslin: Time for Congressional Hearings About Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Frank Breslin, retired teacher of foreign languages and history, calls for Congressional hearings about the cost and misuse of testing.

He points out that test scores are used to close public schools, fire teachers, and privatize schools, even though charters do not get better results than public schools.

He warns that the federal government has used testing to impose its failed ideas on schools, eviscerating local control. Breslin concludes that the best way to end federal intrusion is to abolish the Department of Education.

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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


Carol Burris: What I Learned at “The Great Debate” about Common Core

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Carol Burris was the only actual on-the-ground educator to participate in the Intelligence Squared debate about Common Core. Unlike the other three debaters, Burris is principal of a high school. She is also a crack researcher, who has published and done research on education issues.

She recently wrote in Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog about the four big “Flim-Flams” at the heart of the claims for the Common Core.

She writes:

“Since the standards were first introduced, Common Core supporters have created amorphous platitudes and spin to market it. Even as more Americans like me “wise up,” do not expect the Common Core-ites to give up. Think tanks have received millions from Gates to support it and education companies are making millions on new Core-aligned materials. There is big money being spent — and big money to be made — in the Common Core.”

Here is what you will hear…

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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


LA Times Blames LAUSD School Board for Deasy’s Mistakes

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Howard Blume of The Los Angeles Times has done a remarkable job of reporting about Superintendent John Deasy’s huge problems in managing the school system, the most monumental of them being his decision to borrow from a construction bond issue to buy Apple iPads loaded with Pearson content for every student and staff member at a purported cost of $1.3 billion. Bad enough that he was raiding the bond issue funds for this project, but emails surfaced revealing that Deasy and his assistant Jaime Aquino (a former employee of Pearson) had discussions with both Apple and Pearson about the project before the bidding began. Along the way, we learned that Apple was charging above the market price for the iPads; the price dropped when this came out. The problems associated with this fiasco were unending.

Yet the Los Angeles Times editorial board apparently missed Blume’s excellent reporting. Today they published…

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Ohio: More Charters Failing than Public Schools

Lloyd Lofthouse:

The truth we won’t hear from the corporate owned and controlled media:

“Of the top 200 PI [Performance Index] scores, 10 are Charters, 190 are districts. Of the bottom 200 PI scores, 21 are districts and 179 are Charters.”

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Stephen Dyer, education policy fellow at Innovation Ohio, has analyzed the latest state report cards. The state’s Governor, John Kasich, is pro-charter, pro-voucher, and pro-market forces. He is no friend to public education. The legislature is the same. They want more schools that are privately managed. As we saw in a post yesterday, Ohio has a parent trigger law, and (as I posted yesterday) the State Education Department has hired StudentsFirst (founded by Michelle Rhee) to inform parents in Columbus about their right to convert their low-performing public school to a charter or hand it over to a charter management organization. Given the statistics in this post, the odds are that the parents will turn their low-performing public school into an even lower-performing charter school, with no hope of escape.

Yet when the state report cards came out, public schools overwhelmingly received higher grades than charter schools. Dyer explains in…

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


Amazing Story of the Day: Ohio Department of Education Hires StudentsFirst as “Neutral” Third Party

Lloyd Lofthouse:

StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee, is not a neutral third party. It actively lobbies and advocates for charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing in states across the nation.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

From reader Chiara:

This is absolutely amazing. [Ed: read the story in the link]

The Ohio Department of Education has chosen a lobbying group. StudentsFirst, to direct efforts to “inform” parents on whether to turn over a bunch of public schools to private contractors under the Parent Trigger:

“Columbus Superintendent Dan Good said yesterday that the district is working to understand all the nuances of the law. On Tuesday, the school board is to hear a presentation by the Education Department and StudentsFirst, the group that the department chose to inform and organize parents”

Rules released by the department yesterday refer to StudentsFirst as a “neutral third party,” but Columbus Education Association President Tracey Johnson said the group is not neutral; it’s a school-reform lobbying organization.”

This is ridiculous. Our state Department of Education is completely captured by lobbyists.

They’re a joke. I resent paying these people. I think StudentsFirst…

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Authoritarian v. Authoritative: “With great power comes great responsibility”

Originally posted on the becoming radical:

The Peter Parker/Spider-Man myth—like most in the ever-reshaping and rebooting world of comic book superheroes—has spun a slightly inaccurate but powerful catch-phrase around Peter’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The original wording—“AND A LEAN, SILENT FIGURE SLOWLY FADES INTO THE GATHERING DARKNESS, AWARE AT LAST THAT IN THIS WORLD, WITH GREAT POWER THERE MUST ALSO COME —  GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!”—was not spoken by Uncle Ben, in fact, but by the narrative’s omniscient narrator penned by Stan Lee:

August 1962, Vol. 1, #15 Amazing Fantasy, Marvel Comics

And for Peter Parker, this truism, however phrased, reveals his ongoing battle with the responsibility inherent in his acquiring super powers, complicated by that occurring without his choice. The world of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been manipulated in the Marvel Universe (even literally) as an internal battle between that responsibility and Parker’s own personal desires (personified often as love interests such as Gwen…

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Bob Braun: Finally, Some Heroes in Newark: The Students

Lloyd Lofthouse:

Has any major media outlet reported on this act of civil disobedience by children that is similar to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 that launched a revolution against the most powerful empire of the time, the British Empire? Maybe it’s time for another revolution against the empire if wealth.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Bob Braun has been writing about the abusiveness and insensitivity of Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” plan. He has written that it has disrupted the lives of children and families, with no goal other than to sweep away neighborhood schools and impose charter schools. Newark has been under state control for nearly 20 years. In short, the people of Newark have had no say in the governance of their city’s schools, and now Chris Christie and Cami Anderson have decided to turn them over to private management.

Braun reports that the real heroes in this struggle for democracy are the high school students of Newark. While most of the adults seemed resigned and ready to bow to authority, the high school students went into the streets to protest. A group of them chained themselves together, sat down in the city’s main thoroughfare, and blocked traffic. The newly elected Mayor Ras Baraka…

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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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