Bruce Baker: How to Get Rid of Accountability, Transparency, and Student Rights

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

This may be the most important article you read this week, this month, or this year. It was published last year, and I missed it. But, wow, Bruce Baker nails what is wrong with “education reform.”

Basically, the public has been sold a bill of goods. We have been told that charters, vouchers, tuition tax credits, and other means of removing governance from the public sector to the private sector will produce schools that are more transparent and more accountable. We are also told–though Baker doesn’t explore it here–that these choices will produce education miracles for poor and minority students (that’s not true either).

What Baker demonstrates in detail is that charter schools and voucher schools are less transparent and less accountable than public schools. Furthermore, in these alternative settings, students forego their constitutional rights. In truly private schools, like voucher schools, we can’t expect accountability or transparency. The charters…

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


Should Pre-K Classrooms Be “Play-Based” or Have a Common Core Standards -Based Academic Component?

Originally posted on Ed In The Apple:

Have you been hanging out with four or five year olds lately?

They vary in size, maturity, literacy and numeracy skills; US schools assign kids to grades by age, some children just turned four and other are almost five, some kids don’t speak a word of English, some haven’t been a few feet away from their mother, others live in shelters, some mothers are teenagers, other caregivers are grandparents. Their vocabulary varies widely, their experiences vary widely. Pre-kindergarten teachers have a daunting task.

The 68 page New York State Foundation Standards for the Common Core gets off to a good start, a long list of what the standards should NOT be used for -

* an assessment tool
* a curriculum
* mandate specific teaching practices,

However, when you click on the ELA pre-k standards you find a checklist. See a section of the ELA pre-k standards below:

* With…

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


David Kirp: Why Teaching Is Not a Business

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In a truly wonderful article in Sunday’s New York Times, David Kirp of the University of California at Berkeley lays waste the underpinnings of the current “education reform” movement. Kirp not only shows what doesn’t work, he gives numerous examples of what does work to help students.

Kirp explains in plain language why teaching can never be replaced by a machine. Although the article just appeared, I have already heard about angry grumbling from reformers, because their ultimate goal (which they prefer to hide) is to replace teachers with low-cost machines. Imagine a “classroom” with 100 students sitting in front of a monitor, overseen by a low-wage aide. Think of the savings. Think of the advantages that a machine has over a human being: they can be easily programmed; they don’t get a salary or a pension; they don’t complain when they are abused; and when a better, cheaper model…

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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Facts that reveal Obama’s Manufactured Crises of College-Career readiness and the alleged Failure of Public Schools

What is the role of the public schools? The Center for Ethical Leadership (founded in 1991) says that public education is foundational to a healthy democracy and developing our humanity—not to have every student achieve high scores on standardized tests.

After you read this post, you decide if the U.S. public schools are doing their job and what that job description should be.

The goals of G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and Obama’s Race to the Top and the President’s insane Common Core agenda that demands 100 percent of high school graduates by 2014-15, who are 17/18 years old, must be college and/or career ready is horribly wrong when we look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( report on the educational needs of the job market.

According to, if 100 percent of Americans were college educated, then most would be overqualified for 67 – 77 percent of the jobs [96.5 to 110.9 million], and 26 percent of those jobs [37.4 million] don’t even require a high school diploma or its equivalent. In 2013, 143.9 million Americans were employed in the civilian labor force.

How can there be a public education crises when only 40 percent of the jobs require a high school degree and by age 25, 90 percent of Americans have a high school degree or its equivalent? I think those numbers say that the workforce is overqualified and someone is cherry picking numbers to manufacture a public education crises.

Then there are the jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or better—that number is 23 percent [about 33 million jobs], but according to a special report of The Most Educated Countries in the World, 42.5 percent of Americans [about 90 million] have a college degree. That means for every job that requires a college degree, there are 2.7 college graduates, and Bill Gates and President Obama want more college graduates and are willing to punish teachers by firing them and then turn public schools over to corporations if public school teachers don’t achieve the President’s artificial and unnecessary goals.

To discover what happens to college graduates who live in countries with high college graduation rates, we only need to look at South Korea, Russia and Japan.

President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have frequently cited Korea in contrast to America’s alleged shortcomings. They mention the diligence of its students, the commitment of its parents, its success in equipping successive generations to compete.

But the truth is that Korean officials are alarmed that many graduates are not finding jobs—more than 40 percent in the past year according to Washington

What’s even more shocking is the fact that the United States already has a higher percentage of college graduates than South Korea according to a special report of The Most Educated Countries in the World.

10. Australia, 38.3 %
9. Finland, 39.3 %
8. New Zealand, 39.3%
7. United Kingdom, 39.4%
6. South Korea, 40.4%
5. United States, 42.5%
4. Israel, 46.4%
3. Japan, 46.4%
2. Canada, 51.3%
1. Russia, 53.5%

As for Russia, according to DE, Germany’s international broadcaster, approximately 30 percent of Russian university graduates under the age of 25 don’t have a full-time job. If they do, they’ve had a rough time getting there.

Anywhere from 65 to 70 percent of graduates are not able to find work directly after graduation, but require, on average, five-to-six months to find a position. Nor is that position protected under Russian labor law. Twenty-five percent of those employed do not have a contract with their employer.

And often, those jobs do not provide enough to survive on. According to a study by the New Economic School in Moscow, more than 50 percent of young academics who work in the Russian public sector have second or even third jobs in order to make ends meet.

In addition, Japan’s college graduates also face a tough job market. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Monday’s data on how recent Japanese college graduates are faring in the job market show that, despite a slight improvement, the overall picture remains grim.”

In conclusion, what is the real agenda of President Obama, Bill Gates and the rest of the fake education reformers—a topic worth exploring?


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves


Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


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Breaking News: Florida School Board Wants Entire District to Opt Out!

Lloyd Lofthouse:

Florida, by all accounts, is one of the most politically corrupt states in the U.S. One honest democratically elected school board in one of the 67 Florida school districts wants to throw out the Common Core. I think they better arm themselves for the brutal attack of the Carpetbaggers profiting off the Common Core assessments, because they are about to be attacked with millions in PR funded spin and cherry-picked facts twisted into lies.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The Lee School Board in Florida wants to opt out of all standardized testing. They have listened to parents. They are tired of enriching Pearson.

“FCAT. Florida Standards. Common core.

“No matter what you call it, the school board wants it gone.

“Board members unanimously expressed their disdain for standardized testing at the school board meeting Tuesday, pledging to research the possibility of “opting out” the entire district from standardized testing.

“There needs to be a come-to-Jesus meeting … to talk about these issues point blank,” Chairman Tom Scott said.

Board member Don Armstrong said the district cannot afford to continue testing at the current rate.

“A lot of our money is being poured out of this county to go to one company, I won’t say names,” he said. “But on this board or not on this board, I won’t stand for it anymore.”

Dozier asked the board to…

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


Michigan State Board Calls for Sweeping Changes in Charter Law

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The Michigan State Board of Education passed a resolution calling for reform of the state’s charter law. The vote was along party lines; the state board is dominated by Democrats but the legislature is not.

The resolution was passed following a series in the Detroit Free Press showing that the state spends nearly $1 billion each year on charters, which are neither transparent nor accountable.

“Among the recommendations: The board wants the Legislature to require private management companies that run charter schools to post online the same kind of information that traditional public schools must post, bar management companies from also being a charter school’s landlord, require lease agreements to reflect fair market values, set clear standards for who can open charters and hold charter authorizers accountable for the academic performance of their schools.

“The resolution, which was rejected by the two lone Republican members of the eight-member elected board…

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


Linda Darling-Hammond: California Is NOT Lowering Standards for Teachers

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In the past few days, there has been vigorous debate about whether California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing was lowering standards; some critics went so far as to claim that future teachers in core subject areas would no longer need a four-year degree of any kind. None of this was true. I reached out to friends across California who assured me that it was untrue. Just this morning, the Sacramento Bee published an article by Linda Darling-Hammond, chair of the CCTC, explaining exactly what transpired.

D-H explained that standards were not lowered and remain high in every field.

Here are the changes that alarmed teachers of physical education:

“The commission did vote to provide an authorization within the physical education credential for ROTC teachers. Those who pass a basic skills test and a test of PE knowledge and complete 135 hours of teacher preparation can earn this authorization. If they…

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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