The Language Police Are Back (Psst: They Never Went Away)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Much has been written about the ludicrous banning of words at various government agencies.words like “climate change” and “fetus” and “diversity” are on the outs in government documents, while Nazi rallies and chants are okay, at least among Trump’s alt-right fan base. Alan Singer has a clever idea:

“To help teachers address the official and unofficial word bans in their classes, I propose a “High School Homework Challenge.” Students should write a coherent paragraph using all ten words and phrases officially and unofficially banned by the Trump Administration. For extra-credit, text your paragraph to Donald Trump at @realDonaldTrump.”

For me, there is a certain sense of deja vu about this latest burst of word censorship.

Nearly twenty years ago, I was on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). President Clinton suggested the creation of voluntary national tests. At first, he…

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Posted by on January 16, 2018 in Uncategorized


History Lesson: The Founders Cared about Education Before the Constitution Was Adopted

Diane Ravitch's blog

We often hear that the word “education” is not included in the U.S. Constitution. That is true, but it does not mean that the Founding Fathers were indifferent to the importance of education. The U.S. Constitution was written and signed in 1787. Before the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1789, the Congress passed Ordinances that expressed their commitment to the importance of public schools.

Congress enacted the Land Ordinance of 1785 to show how the new lands in the western territories should be settled. This ordinance laid out new townships into 36 sections. Section 16, in the center, was to be set aside in every township in the new Western Territory for the maintenance of public schools. (“There shall be reserved the lot No. 16, of every township, for the maintenance of public schools within the said township.”) The committee that wrote the Land Ordinance included Thomas Jefferson…

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized


Jersey Jazzman Debunks the Gorilla Channel and Miracle Schools

The alleged miracle corporate charters schools that are not miracles. It’s all a lie, a sham, a shell game.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Do you believe in miracles? Do you want to believe that a charter chain—unlike public schools— can graduate every student, no matter what their economic status, and send them on to college? We all want to believe in heroic teachers and miracle schools. The reality is often not as impressive in the cold light of day. Incremental change is a stabler, more reliable base for lasting change but it is not so exciting as miracles.

Along comes Jersey Jazzman to debunk the latest miracle charter story promoted by the New York Daily News. 

The story and follow-up editorial cited this statistic about Democracy Prep Charter High Schools:

“According to the network, last year 189 of the 195 seniors in its three high schools that had graduating classes went on to college. And although the sample size is small (the network has graduated fewer than 400 students), the network estimates that…

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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Uncategorized


Michigan: One of the Most Segregated States in the Nation: Thanks, Betsy!

Meet the Queen of Racial Segregation in the 21st Century … her name is Besty DeVos!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The next time an advocate of school choice claims it is “ the civil rights issue of our time,” tell him or her about Michigan. After many years of school choice, it is now one of the most segregated states in the nation, tied with Mississippi and just behind the District of Columbia. 

Is racial segregation the new definition of civil rights?

”Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald with the Detroit News report that the Associated Press analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics enrollment data from the 2014-2015 school year.

“The AP found that a large number of African-American students are enrolled in schools which are largely segregated, especially in Michigan, where 40% of black students are in public schools that are in “extreme racial isolation.”

“That puts Michigan in second-place nationwide, tied with Mississippi and behind only Washington, D.C., which came in at 66%.”

Racial segregation is…

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Uncategorized


Connecticut: Suburban District Drops Summit Online Platform Due to Parent Revolt

“Personalized learning,” is a euphemism for machine learning that moves at a different pace for each student, depending on algorithms. But most parents prefer human teachers to machines. And who is making a profit from This so-called (fake) personalized learning that few if any countries use in their public education systems?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Parents in Cheshire, Connecticut, took the lead in ousting the Summit Online Learning Platform developed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as part of CZI’s plan to remake American education.

The Summit Program was developed by Summit “Public Schools,” which in fact is a privately managed charter chain that pretends to be public. It describes its approach as “personalized learning,” which is a euphemism for machine learning that moves at a different pace for each student, depending on algorithms. The parents preferred human teachers to machines.

“The fast-growing online platform was built with help from Facebook engineers and designed to help students learn at their own speed. But it’s been dropped because parents in this Connecticut suburb revolted, saying there was no need to change what’s worked in a town with a prized reputation for good schools.

“The Summit Learning program, developed by a California charter school network, has signed up…

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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


My Review of Daniel Koretz’s “The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better”

Before NCLB, every state had its own tests and its own accountability measures, but none was as harsh, punitive, and unrealistic as NCLB. None required every school to reach 100 percent proficiency or face mass firings or closure or both.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

I reviewed Daniel Koretz’s book, “The Testing Charade” in the current issue of The New Republic.

The review is behind a paywall, but you can get a free 30-day pass or a one-year digital subscription for $10 for the year. When it comes out from the paywall in a couple of weeks, I will post it in full.

The review starts like this:

“In 1979, the psychologist Donald Campbell proposed an axiom. “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making,” he wrote, “the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” He also wrote: “Achievement tests may well be valuable indicators of general school achievement under conditions of normal teaching aimed at general competence. But when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose…

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Posted by on December 19, 2017 in Uncategorized


Ethan Siegel: How to Break Public Education

Discover how the corporate, get-rich frauds behind the fake, top-down reforms of community-based, democratic, transparent, non-profit, unionized public education are destroying what was once the envy of the world.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel writes in Forbes magazine about the way that federal policies have disrespected and demoralized passionate teachers. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Every Student Succeeds Act have been disasters for teaching and learning.

Every sentence in this short article is priceless, and I hate to abridge it. You will have to open the link and read it yourself in its entirety.

He writes:

The ultimate dream of public education is incredibly simple. Students, ideally, would go to a classroom, receive top-notch instruction from a passionate, well-informed teacher, would work hard in their class, and would come away with a new set of skills, talents, interests, and capabilities. Over the past few decades in the United States, a number of education reforms have been enacted, designed to measure and improve student learning outcomes, holding teachers accountable for their students’ performances. Despite these…

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized