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The Politics and Ideology of School Choice Research

In the 1980s, with help from President Ronald Reagan’s lies and misinformation, libertarians, Republicans, and neoliberals cracked open the schoolhouse door and invaded our public schools. Today that invasion is an all-out war between their failed ideology and saving our community-based public schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Julian Vasquez Heilig, T. Jameson Brewer, and Frank Adamson recently published an analysis of the neoliberal roots of school choice and its spillover into research on school choice.

They begin:

To conceptualize the politics of research on school choice, it is important to first discuss the politics of market- based approaches within the broader purview of public policy. Modern notions of “markets” and “choice” in schooling stem from the libertarian ideas Milton Friedman espoused in the 1950s. As these ideologies escalated in the 1980s under neoliberal theory and Republican orthodoxy, the argument that parents should have choice between competing schools within an education market with little regulation began to crack the public schoolhouse door, allowing an influx of private school vouchers and charter schools.

The ideology of a competitive education market supposes that competition and deregulation are necessary and fundamentally positive forces that will “fix” the “failed” public school…

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Posted by on June 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Why is “Critical Race Theory” Controversial and What Is it?

The Traitorous-Trumpian Right attempts to “whitewash” history.

Diane Ravitch's blog

In several states, the Governor and Legislature have denounced “critical race theory” and even (in Idaho and some other states) banned it from their schools. The controversy over teaching about race gained ground when former President Trump condemned CRT as divisive and launched his own quickie commission to teach “patriotic” education. The object seems to be to minimize or eliminate teaching about racism, past or present.

Retired teacher Nancy Flanagan dissected the controversy here, in one of the best-informed analyses.

It seems that the white adults want children to think of their country as one without faults, flaws, blemishes, or systematic oppression. To see our history whole, the good and the bad, they think, will undermine love of country.

The National Education Policy Center published a useful overview of the controversy and concluded that teaching history must be based on evidence, not ideology.

It begins:

Here’s how NEPC Fellow Shaun…

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Posted by on May 17, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

PA Gov. Wolf Fires Charter School Appeals Board. Every. Single. Member.

PA Gov. Wolf Fires Charter School Appeals Board. Every. Single. Member.

Here’s another example of how the “Reform School” private sector but publicly funded Charter school industry is deliberately destroying the working class, community-based, democratically managed, transparent, have to follow the law, public schools with employees that belong to public-sector unions.

As a rule, those “reform school” Charters are not transparent and do not have to follow the same laws that OUR public schools do.

gadflyonthewallblog

Being Governor of Pennsylvania must be one of the most thankless but important jobs ever.

With a hopelessly gerrymandered legislature, a majority of Republican lawmakers representing a minority of voters stops nearly anything from getting done for the rest of us.

If it weren’t for a Democratic Governor to act as a check and balance on this lunatic fringe, the state would devolve into chaos.

Case in point: the Charter School Appeals Board (CAB).

It took Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, seven years to fire his predecessor’s appointments and nominate replacements to the CAB.

Yet the GOP legislature is crying crocodile tears that he’s exceeding his authority by doing so.

The board is supposed to be a place where charter schools can challenge decisions made by their local school boards.

Charters are schools that are funded by taxpayer dollars but can be privately operated.

They have to ask the local…

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Posted by on May 15, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Maurice Cunningham: Who Got Suckered? Secretary Cardona or Readers of The74?

The extremist billionaire controlled fake National Parent Union (pretending to represent most parents but only represents a few such as Walton, Koch, et al. After all billionaires have children, too, that never attend public schools) fools (or allegedly buys/owns) U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Maurice Cunningham is a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts. His specialty is following the gobs of money poured into “education reform.” His exposes of Dark Money in the 2016 charter expansion referendum was a crucial element in turning the public against the referendum (you can read more about him in his blogs and in my book Slaying Goliath.)

In this post, published here for the first time, Professor Cunningham writes about the innocence or naïveté of Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who met with a billionaire astroturf group and thought he was reaching out to ordinary parents and families.

Cunningham writes:

Who Got Suckered, Secretary Cardona or Readers of The74?

“The Pro-privatization education blog The74 recently published To Rebuild Trust with Families, Ed. Dept. Seeks Input from Outspoken Parents Group. The story purports to be about how Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona “seeks”…

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Posted by on May 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

David C. Berliner: A Hug for Jennifer

“Alec’s brother had been shot and killed by the police the night before– a rarity in the middle class neighborhood the school served. And it happened at home, in front of Alec.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

David C. Berliner, one of our nation’s most honored researchers of education, shared this essay for readers of the blog.

                                             A Hug for Jennifer

          I met Jennifer for the first time at a party. She taught elementary school to mostly white, mostly middle-class kids in a suburb of San Francisco. We chatted about education for a while and she invited me to visit her class. I like visiting classes, in part, because they are always so difficult to understand. It is an enormous intellectual challenge to witness and make sense of the interaction of teachers and students with curriculum materials in a classroom setting. Sometimes, with teachers you come to admire, it is like trying to put together a recipe after  tasting  a delicious food. It’s hard to figure out the ingredients that made it so special. 

More frequently, my observations struck me as a bit like trying to study what comes out the end of a…

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Posted by on April 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Gary Rubinstein: Why I Left the “Reform” Movement

Gary Rubinstein, from teacher to crusader fighting to save OUR public schools from the greedy, lying, manipulating corporate and billionaire-funded “reform school” movement.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Gary Rubinstein is well known to readers of this blog, as I have posted almost all of his blogs. He is a career high school math teacher in the New York City public schools. I met Gary about ten years ago, when I had made a complete turnaround in my views about testing and choice. I was working on an article about “miracle schools” that fudged their data and discovered that Gary was an expert on reviewing school-level data and exposing frauds. He helped me write an article (“Waiting for a Miracle School”) that appeared in the New York Times in 2011, and he has continued to be a friend ever since. Gary’s analytical skills have been invaluable in fighting off idiotic “reforms,” like evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores (known as VAM). In his multiple posts on that subject, he showed its many flaws. For example, an elementary…

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Posted by on April 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Florida: League of Women Voters Exposes Voucher Boondoggle As Big Business

Carry a good flashlight when you follow this DARK money.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Florida League of Women Voters has long been wary about the state’s rush to privatize public school funding through charters and vouchers. It has previously published reports on the conflicts of interests, the politics, and the money in the charter sector. In this report, it investigates the organization created to hand out money for vouchers, called “Step Up for Students.” I am posting only the introduction. To read the body of the report, please open the attached PDF file.

Step Up for Students

Preliminary Investigative Report

League of Women Voters Education Task Force

Contact: Dr. Sarah (Sally) Butzin

President, League of Women Voters of Tallahassee

sally.butzin@gmail.com

850-728-1097

March 2021

Introduction

For the past 20 years, a private organization has been growing exponentially using direct and indirect public funds largely out of public view. This organization is the conduit for an unregulated school system without standards being created by the…

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Posted by on March 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Beware: Here Is How to Wreck Your State’s Public Schools

One state and school district at a time, like a dangerous virus, the reform schoolers, greedy power-hungry frauds, and liars all, are destroying OUR community-based public schools.

janresseger

Many state legislatures are currently considering new private school tuition vouchers or planning to expand long running voucher programs, tuition tax credit vouchers, and education savings account vouchers. Ohio provides a stark warning about the potential damage of rapidly growing school privatization at public expense.

In a column in Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Peter Robertson examines how the growth of publicly funded private school tuition vouchers is increasingly sucking up the state funding Ohio supposedly provides for its public schools:

“According to the Ohio Department of Education’s first February Foundation Funding Report (Robertson’s article contains a link to the Excel spreadsheet from the Ohio Department of Education.), districts will spend $162 million this school year on these private school vouchers… An analysis last year by News5 Cleveland found that nearly two-thirds of voucher recipients had not previously been students in the public district schools—they were private school students who…

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Posted by on March 20, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Michael J. Hynes: Beware the College Board Dragon!

David Coleman and Bill Gates got together, copulated, and gave birth to the Test Gods that destroy the lives of children and makes the lives of teachers miserable.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Dr. Michael J. Hynes is superintendent of the Port Washington school district on Long Island in New York. He previously posted here his proposal for a new vision of education.

He writes here about the College Board, which has become the gatekeeper whose tests decide which students go to which colleges.

He writes:

The College Board Monster and Why It’s Time to $lay the Dragon (at least during a pandemic)

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D.

Reader beware.I wrote a scathing diatribe about the College Board a few years ago. I have since updated it as we enter testing season this spring.

Before you read my thoughts about the educational sacred cow and standardized testing machine known as the College Board, you should know up front that I am no fan of the College Board CEO/President David Coleman who years ago was the architect of Common Core. I felt this way before the…

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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Network for Public Education: The Scandal of For-Profit Charter Schools

The K-12 “reform school” movement that abuses children and teachers is only there for the money.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, authored this powerful exposé of for-profit charter schools. The report names the nation’s largest for-profit charter chains, which profit not only from skimming tuition money, but from lucrative real estate deals and financial dealings with related for-profit corporations owned by the charter operator.

Between September 2020 and February, 2021, The Network for Public Education identified more than 1,100 charter schools that have contracts with one of 138 for-profit organizations to control the schools’ critical or complete operations, including

  • management, personnel, and/or curriculum. Patterns of for-profit management companies directing schools to their related real estate and service corporations is more the rule than the exception among these schools. Chartered for Profit: The Hidden World of Charter Schools Operated For Financial Gain exposes how for profit education management organizations use charter schools to direct funds away from children to the pockets…

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Posted by on March 17, 2021 in Uncategorized