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Top 10 Reasons Public Schools are the BEST Choice for Children, Parents & Communities

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Everywhere you look today you’ll find profits prophets of doom bemoaning the quality of our public school system.

We’ve got too many failing schools, they say. The only thing to do is to invest in private and privatized institutions vouchers, charters, ANYTHING but public.

But as education professors Christopher and Sarah Lubienski wrote in their landmark book “The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schoolsthere’s little evidence behind the hype. Public schools are far from perfect, but even given their deficiencies, they have benefits that far outweigh those of privatized schools. Indeed, market-based educational reform, wrote the Lubienskis, is “increasingly a belief system rather than a policy theory.”

Privatized schools are sometimes great at boosting standardized test scores, but when it comes to authentic indicators of student learning, they often fall well behind their traditional public school counterparts.

And when you…

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

A Message to Education Deans: Resist!

Diane Ravitch's blog

More than 200 deans of education at scores of colleges and universities have organized to resist the corporate reformers’ efforts to deprofessionalize teaching and destroy public education. They call themselves Education Deans for Justice and Equity. They work in partnership with the National Education Policy Center. If you are a faculty member, please ask your dean to sign on. If you belong to an education organization, please consider adding its support.

“Dear Education Deans:

“As the start to a new academic year unfolds, so do increasing attacks on public education. Building on the “Declaration of Principles” that was released in January of this year and signed by 235 education deans, many of us feel compelled to continue to speak out collectively, publicly, and forcefully.

“Towards this end, we have prepared a new statement from education deans, “Our Children Deserve Better,” that counters the harmful rhetoric and actions currently coming from…

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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Teacher in the Bronx: Why Were My Students Forced to Read a Pro-Charter Article?

This is the choice the FOR-PROFIT corporate reformers of public education are offering our children. Send your child to a corporate charter school and expect that child to give up his or her social life (that includes being a member of your family) starting in kindergarten at age FIVE to end up long hours like a university medical student does.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Eric Mears, a teacher in a public high school in the South Bronx, complains that his high school seniors were required to read a pro-charter essay in a Houghton Mifflin textbook.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/24/my-public-school-students-read-pro-charter-propaganda/

The essay, by Malcolm Gladwell, celebrated the work ethic in East Asian schools and at KIPP, while putting down the students’ neighborhood and school.

Mears wonders why Gladwell chooses East Asian schools as models for success instead of the schools of Finland.

He objects to the blatant pro-charter propaganda in the textbook.

He writes:

“I am a South Bronx public school teacher who is expected to teach my students that they must enroll in charter schools and leave “desultory” public schools, such as ours, if they wish to succeed.

“I, along with scores of other New York high school teachers, teach from a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Collections textbook whose introductory text is a pro-charter chapter from Malcolm…

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Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Jersey Jazzman: The Secrets of Success Academy

Learn what makes a corporate charter school like Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies different from public schools. If you love dictators and fascists, you will love Eva’s money machine.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Most of you who have been reading this blog over the past five years know the secrets of Success Academy’s “success.” Careful selection of students. Exclusion of those unlikely to succeed. Lots of outside money.

Jersey Jazzman has done us the favor of documenting these strategies.

He found exactly what you would expect:

“Schools like Success Academy almost always have structural advantages — advantages that have nothing to do with their governance — over the schools against which they compare themselves:

“Different student populations.

“Resource advantages.

“A less-experienced, less-expensive faculty.

“A longer school day/year and/or smaller class sizes and/or tutoring, made possible by #2 & #3 in combination with free-riding on the public district schools.

“Strict disciplinary codes which encourage students who do not thrive in a “no excuses” environment to leave.

“In the minority of cases where “successful” charters out-perform expectations, I have seen no compelling evidence that freedom…

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Posted by on August 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Teaching Children how to Navigate today’s Confusing Media Circus

I was teaching English during the 1st Bush War against Iraq. It was called the Gulf War, and it was 1991. By then, I’d been teaching 16 years. I retired and left teaching in 2005 after 30 years. In 1991, a few of my students had brothers in the military over there, and I asked my students to write letters and send gifts to him and others in his unit. That became our link to a war.

At the time, the country was very supportive of that war, and it didn’t occur to any teachers I knew to discuss and question what was happening because it wasn’t an unpopular controversial issue. There were those that spoke out but there’s always someone that’s against all wars even if the U.S. were attacked without warning like Pearl Harbor during World War II.

The New York Times reported on January 22, 1991, “The American public’s initial soaring optimism about the war against Iraq has flattened a little, but support for the war remains broad and President Bush’s approval rating continues to stand at a record level, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows.”

It also helped that the Gulf War was over before it had time to lose support. It only lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. That New York Times story mentioned in the previous paragraph came out a little over month before the war ended on February 28.

Compare that to the War in Afghanistan that started in 2001 and is still raging, or the Vietnam War that started in 1955 and went to April 1975, almost 20 years that saw millions killed and maimed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos before the United States finally left.  By 1970 only a third of American’s believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.

Back then we didn’t have the Alt Right lying, conspiracy theory generating media machine that exists today. The worst we had back then was Rush Limbaugh and a few other rising stars in conservative talk radio. Let’s not forget that Fox Broadcast Television Network didn’t have its primetime launch until April 5, 1987. It was almost as if Rupert Murdock knew that the Fairness Doctrine was already doomed, and that a few months later in June of 1987, President Reagan would veto the Fairness Doctrine legislation that would have guaranteed more balance and honesty in the media, and this paved the way for the endless lies and conspiracy theories we have to live with today from the Alt-Right.


What is wrong with honest, equitable, and balanced coverage of controversial public issues?

The Washington Post reported in 2014, “About half (16) of the 32 outlets have an audience that pretty clearly leans to the left, while seven have audiences that lean conservative. The rest (including all the broadcast networks) are somewhere near the middle.”

Back in 1991 during the 1st Gulf War, we didn’t have Vote Smart (launched 1992), or Snopes (launched 1995), or FactCheck.org (launched in December 2003), or PolitiFact.com (launched 2007). These sites have become America’s antibodies fighting the Alt-Right media machine virus that’s infecting any chance at balance and truth in the news. There is a big difference between bias and lies.

Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

But a lie is an untruth. It is deceit. It is deception. It is dishonesty. It is trickery. It is worse than bias. Lies can be revealed by facts, but bias is harder to dig out and varies from a simple bias that cherry picks facts to an extreme bias that ignores facts that does not support that bias. Most traditional media bias is not extreme and is not easy to measure. Lies are easier to discover by a little digging using the Fact Check sites listed above.

With news supported by facts based on actual events, it’s not easy to generate conspiracy theory propaganda that is worse than vomit and diarrhea in your mouth at the same time.

The need for fact checking started soon after the 1st Bush War (ended February 1991) and then grew after the 2nd Bush War that was justified by lies of WMDs (2003 – 2010, a war that lasted 8 years, 8 months, and 28 days).

As the Alt-Right conspiracy-theory generating media machine grew and the GOP continued to move further to the right into unchartered extremist territory, the need to question everything has become necessary.

So, today, before an event or movement can become an issue, teachers must teach their students to question everything they hear and read in the traditional media and especially from the Alt-Right media machine, and teach them how to use all those fact and fact check sites listed above with links. That includes government sites that gather data and information: U.S. Census, the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NASA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The CIA’s World Factbook, etc.

Of course, if Fake President Trump, who obviously only learns from Fox, and the Alt-Right Media machine, has his way, those fact-gathering government agencies that employs both registered Democrats and Republicans might not exist in a few months or years since Trump has made it clear he doesn’t trust any information that isn’t what he wants to hear or can’t control.

Contrary to the false opinions of the extreme, deplorable followers of Trump and the Alt-Right, every teacher and every government worker isn’t a liberal or a progressive, but most of them are probably not racists either. In fact, I’ve read that almost 30-percent of public school teachers are registered Republicans while the rest are independent voters and registered Democrats.

There are other terms children should learn about. For instance, confirmation bias, a perfect term to describe Fake President Donald Trump’s choices for where he tunes in to hear the news that is often wrong in so many ways.

To discover more about bias, read The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational.

And then there’s lies. Yes, there are different levels of lying too from bad to horrible. For instance Politifact.com divides its fact checking into: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire, and on that note, here’s a list of all the Pants on Fire lies from Donald Trump.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Bill Phillis: Charter Schools Are Bought and Sold; Not Public Schools

Corporate Charter schools are ushering in an age where local communities and parents have little say over the education of their children because those children are now a commodity and not a person.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Phillis, founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy and former deputy commissioner of education in Ohio, laments the commercializations that charter schools have introduced into K-12 schooling, while claiming to be “public schools”:

He writes:

“For sale: A school–The practice of buying and selling charter schools signals the complete disconnect between school and community

“The greatest human-inspired public institution-the common school-was created as a school for all children. The nexus between the community and the common school is powerful in the lives of school children; charter schools are not community-based entities.

“Parents in a school district would be shocked if they opened the morning paper and read the headline: School district for sale. That happens in the charter world.

“Charter school organizations are bought and sold. Ron Packard, former CEO of K12-Inc. (in Ohio, K-12 Inc. operates the Ohio Virtual Academy) left K-12, Inc. and started a…

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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Who Cares More About Black Children: The NAACP Or Rightwingers?

Diane Ravitch's blog

The NAACP bravely spoke out in favor of regulating charter schools to make them accountable, transparent, and subject to the same standards as public schools.

Most people would say that the NAACP’s concerns and recommendations are reasonable.

But supporters of charter schools are outraged and hysterical.

The Center for Education Reform, which has advocated for charters for more than 20 years, astonishingly called the NAACP “opportunity’s opponent.” This is a breathtakingly insulting slur coming from a conservative organization that has long been hostile to public education.

CER provides a link to other rightwing organizations that oppose the NAACP’s criticism of public schools.

Who cares more about black children?

The NAACP or the Heritage Foundation?

The NAACP or CATO?

The NAACP or Betsy DeVos?

The NAACP or hedge fund managers?

The NAACP or the Walton Family Foundation?

The NAACP or the Center for Education Reform?

The NAACP or the Thomas B…

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Uncategorized