The Secret of Finland’s Amazing Success

Diane Ravitch's blog

A recent article in The Guardian in the U.K. revealed the secret of Europe’s most successful school system: Finland. It is a four-letter word: P-L-A-Y.

The author, Patrick Butler, visited the Franzenia daycare center and describes what he saw.

Central to early years education in Finland is a “late” start to schooling. At Franzenia, as in all Finnish daycare centres, the emphasis is not on maths, reading or writing (children receive no formal instruction in these until they are seven and in primary school) but creative play. This may surprise UK parents, assailed as they are by the notion of education as a competitive race. In Finland, they are more relaxed: “We believe children under seven are not ready to start school,” says Tiina Marjoniemi, the head of the centre. “They need time to play and be physically active. It’s a time for creativity.”

Indeed the main aim of early…

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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Child Predator We Invite into Our Schools



There is a good chance a predator is in the classroom with your child right now.

He is reading her homework assignments, quizzes and emails. He is timing how long it takes her to answer questions, noting her right and wrong answers. He’s even watching her body language to determine if she’s engaged in the lesson.

He has given her a full battery of psychological assessments, and she doesn’t even notice. He knows her academic strengths and weaknesses, when she’ll give up, when she’ll preserver, how she thinks.

And he’s not a teacher, councilor or even another student. In fact, your child can’t even see him – he’s on her computer or hand-held device.

It’s called data mining, and it’s one of the major revenue sources of ed-tech companies. These are for-profit business ventures that produce education software: programs to organize student information and help them learn. They make…

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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


Charles Pierce: Massachusetts, Don’t Fall for the Charter Hype

Diane Ravitch's blog

Charles Pierce blogs for Esquire, where he turns out spot-on posts about many issues. He lives in Boston, so he is well aware of the millions of dollars being spent to deceive the public into thinking that more charter schools means more money for public schools.

In this post, he explains that the issue is about siphoning money from public schools and sending it to privatized schools.

He writes:

The people seeking to blow up the cap on the number of charter schools here in the Commonwealth (God save it!) have turned on the afterburners in recent weeks, as we get closer to balloting in which a referendum on lifting the cap will be placed before the voters. The airwaves are thick with commercials about how lifting the cap on charter schools will provide more money to public schools, which is a dodge, because charter schools are not in…

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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


“Learning is Earning” the Rand Corporation way with digital badges and Edublocks

“Learning is Earning” the Rand Corporation way with digital badges and Edublocks

Seattle Education


All of the elements are in place:

  • There’s piece work employment without financial security or due process.
  • The opportunity for corporations to pay employees in script instead of actual cash. 
  • Smart Contracts and the possibility of a lifetime of servitude without compensation.
  • Cradle to grave corporate surveillance of every citizen.

If George Orwell wrote a sequel to 1984, the idea of The Institute for the Future’s Edublocks and The Ledger would have a starring role.

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) prides itself on bringing people together to make the future—today.”

IFTF is an outgrowth of The Rand Corporation and counts as partners corporate giants in technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and advocacy.

Groups such as AARP, the American Medical Association, AT&T, GM, Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente and Shell – just to name a few of the heavy hitters who have hitched their wagons to IFTF. 

In case you’re not familiar with

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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


Megan Tompkins-Stange: Why Should Bill Gates Decide How Our Children Should Be Educated?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Megan Tompkins-Stange recently wrote a book (Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform and the Politics of Influence) about her study of certain big foundations. I posted EduShyster’s interview with her. She writes here about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its intention to remake American education, without asking parents or educators if they agree with the foundation’s plans.

She describes the Gates Foundation’s pivot from small schools to Common Core to “personalized learning.” Each pivot involved maximum imposition on districts and states eager for new money, and the money also had strings attached. The strings designed by the Gates Foundation.

As Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton family foist their experiments on other people’s children, they have no accountability for their mistakes. Sometimes they don’t even seem to acknowledge them.

She writes:

But education is a public good: a fundamental human right to which citizens in…

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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


Mercedes Schneider: Will the Waltons Buy the Public Schools of Massachusetts?

Why does the Walmart Walton family want to destroy the best public schools in the country that’s in a state where they do not live?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Wow! I have seen billionaires put money into elections on behalf of charter schools around the country, but this one takes the cake.

Alice Walton and Jim Walton of Arkansas really want Massachusetts to have more charter schools. They must be very unhappy that the public schools of the Bay State are #1 in the nation. Clearly, the state needs disruption and market forces to shake up its highly successful school system.

Mercedes Schneider writes that the two Waltons gave $1.828,770 to the campaign in Massachusetts to increase the number of charters in the state by a dozen a year in perpetuity.

Mercedes writes:

According to the September 09, 2016, filing of the Massachusetts ballot committee, Yes on 2, billionaire Arkansas resident Alice Walton is one of two individuals providing the $710,100 in funding to promote MA Question 2, raising the charter school cap.

Alice Walton provided $710,000.

A second…

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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Uncategorized


John Thompson: The Price Exacted from Students for the Test-and-Punish Regime of Accountability

When California had its own set of standards and teach-to-the-test crap, at least California didn’t use the test scores to rank-and-fire teachers even though the state did rank schools and required schools to post a detailed school report card on the Internet where parents could see how the school performed and a lot of other information like suspension rates, poverty rate, etc. And that school report card revealed that schools with low ranking all had high rates of childhood poverty. Parents could use those report cards to pick where to live to escape those high rates of poverty so their children wouldn’t be exposed to children that lived in poverty — that is if the parents who cared could afford to live in communities with little or no poverty.
But, California’s standards and high stakes tests were developed over a period of years and involved all the stakeholders: teachers, students, parents, etc. There were even challenges in court to elements of the program that some parents/teachers didn’t like.
In addition, at the start of each year, teachers met and went over the results of the standards for previous year’s test results for the current year’s crop of students. Then teachers broke out in department/grade level groups and planned what standards to focus on based on the previous year’s results for the current year’s students and planned how best to achieve that — there was no demands that we had to teach every standard. Instead, we focused on a few standards the test results revealed the students were weakest in and brainstorm cooperatively how to achieve success in those areas.
After more than a decade of developing this program, it was all trashed when the Common Core Crap and its secretive very profitable flawed and fraudulent tests came out of Washington D.C.

California’s standards were not without their flaws but it was a much better than the crap fostered on the nation by the Obama-Gates-Pearson for Cabal of profit at any cost while trampling parents, teachers, teachers’ unions and children.

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Thompson, teacher and historian in Oklahoma, is a frequent contributor to the blog.

Diane Ravitch publicized an educator’s concise and astute critique of Florida’s standards of instruction where “The FLDOE has absolutely no clue on how long it takes to teach each standard effectively.” An educational software company “looked at the standards that a fifth grade teacher is required to teach effectively and stopped counting when we found it would take a minimum of at least 300 school days to teach the standards to an effective level.” The obvious problem is that covering the tested standards would take 2/3rds of a school year more than the time students are in class – even if there were no disruptions of learning ranging from assemblies and class disruptions to the time wasted on benchmark and other form of testing.

Reader: It Takes 300 Days to Teach the Florida Standards Effectively

Moreover, even…

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Posted by on September 10, 2016 in Uncategorized