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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

 

The NAACP Report: Why Are Charter Supporters Complaining?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Please read the NAACP report on charter schools.

Ever since it was released, charter supporters have complained bitterly about the report and accused the NAACP of being paid off by the unions.

This is ridiculous. It is a sound and sober report.

Consider its recommendations.

1. There should be more equitable and adequate funding for schools serving children of color. The school finance system is extremely unfair and inequitable over states, districts, and schools. School funding in 36 states has not returned to its pre-2008 levels, when budgets were slashed. Federal funds in real dollar amounts have declined for Title I and special education over the same period.

Do charter supporters disagree?

2. School finance reform is needed to ensure that dollars go where the needs are greatest.

Do charter supporters disagree?

3. Invest in low-performing schools and in schools that have a significant opportunity to close achievement gaps. “Students…

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Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Katherine Stewart: The Racist, Fundamentalist Roots of the Attack on Public Schools

“When these people talk about ‘government schools,’ they want you to think of an alien force, and not an expression of democratic purpose. And when they say ‘freedom,’ they mean freedom from democracy itself.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Katherine Stewart, author of the book “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children,writes in the New York Times about the historical origins of attacks on democratic public schools.

When the DeVos crowd and rightwing think tanks refer to “government schools,” they are drawing their rhetoric from a dark and ugly history, tainted by racism, anti-Catholicism, and hatred of democracy itself.

Trump, DeVos, the religious right, and conservatives today promote “school choice” so children do not have to attend “government schools.” But where did this language come from?

She writes:

Before the Civil War, the South was largely free of public schools. That changed during Reconstruction, and when it did, a former Confederate Army chaplain and a leader of the Southern Presbyterian Church, Robert Lewis Dabney, was not happy about it. An avid defender of the biblical “righteousness” of slavery, Dabney railed against the…

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Roundup of NAACP’s Harder Stance on Charter Schools

Roundup of NAACP’s Harder Stance on Charter Schools

The NAACP comes out swinging at corporate charter schools.

Cloaking Inequity

I just returned from the 2017 NAACP national convention in Baltimore. Two important events occurred. The first I’m not going to talk about here on Cloaking Inequity until after the NAACP National Board meeting in the fall— I learned my lesson last year :). Second, the NAACP’s Task Force on High Quality Education released a report after their year long listening tour that took place across the United States.

Here’s what I wrote in The Progressive Magazine about the Task Force and its recent report.

NAACP Seeks to Ban For-Profit Charter Schools and Increase Local Control

The NAACP, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights groups, released a major report on charter schools today.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 11.07.20 AM.png“Quality Education for All: One School at a Time” presents a…

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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in Uncategorized