Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bob Shepherd: The Standardized Testing Hoax

The High Stakes Test con game: Nothing that students do on (profitable) high stakes tests even remotely resembles what real readers and writers do with real texts in the real world.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bob Shepherd, a frequent commenter here, has been a curriculum writer, as assessment developer, a publisher, and a classroom tea her. As frequent readers of this log know, he is also a polymath, with a broad, nearly encyclopedic range of knowledge.

In this essential post, he explains why standardized testing is invalid and useless for accountability purposes.
They do not measure what they claim to measure.

Here is a brief excerpt from a brilliant explanation:

Nothing that students do on these exams even remotely resembles what real readers and writers do with real texts in the real world. Ipso facto, the tests cannot be valid tests of actual reading and writing. People read for one of two reasons—to find out what an author thinks or knows about a subject or to have an interesting, engaging, significant vicarious experience. The tests, and the curricula based on them, don’t help students to do…

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Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Uncategorized


President-Elect Biden: Keep Your Promises!

President-Elect Biden MUST keep all of his campaign promises about public education?

Diane Ravitch's blog

During the campaign, Joe Biden made clear commitments to support community public schools. He promised transparency and accountability for privately managed charter schools, as well as a ban on federal funding for charters operated for profit. He also unequivocally took a stand against standardized testing in a public meeting with hundreds of educators in Pittsburgh. NPE board member Denisha Jones asked him at that time if he would commit to ending standardized testing in the schools. He unequivocally said yes.

The Network for Public Education, joined by dozens of other groups, calls on President-Elect Biden to keep his promises.

To add your group’s name, contact NPE.

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Posted by on November 22, 2020 in Uncategorized


Los Angeles: Support Scott!!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The charter industry and the billionaires want to replace Scott Schmerelson with a charter employee. They want to buy control of the LAUSD school board.

Don’t let them! Stand with Scott, a veteran educator and a champion of public schools.

Tell the billionaires that the public schools of Los Angeles are not for sale!

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Posted by on October 23, 2020 in Uncategorized


Calling Joe Biden: You Promised to Cut Back Federal Testing Mandates, Remember?

“Let’s help elect Joe Biden, then make sure, relentlessly, that he keeps the promises he made to the students and educators of America.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Joe Biden needs to have a talk with his policy director Stef Feldman. During the campaign, Biden made specific commitments to reduce the mandates for standardized testing and to reduce the stakes attached to testing. But Stef Feldman met with the Education Writers Association and she didn’t seem to know anything about what Biden had repeatedly said about the misuse and overuse of standardized testing. She said the question should be left to the transition team and the new administration. What?

Feldman refused to commit to granting waivers to the states to bypass the federal mandate for annual testing in spring 2021. DeVos granted waivers in 2020 after almost every school closed down due to the pandemic but said she would not do it again in spring 2021 (hopefully by then she will be back in one of her mansions or on one of her yachts).

It is now late…

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Posted by on October 23, 2020 in Uncategorized


A Medical Scientist Speaks Out About Children and COVID

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader who is a scientist wrote to ask why I posted the views of an economist about children and COVID instead of those of a medical researcher. She sent me this interview of Angela Rasmussen that appeared in Science Friday. Rasmussen is a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

In the interview, she says:

ANGELA RASMUSSEN: Well, teachers and parents should definitely not think that children are immune or more resistant to the virus. Just because they don’t develop a severe of disease [sic], that doesn’t mean that they can’t be infected and it doesn’t mean that they can’t bring the virus home with them to transmit to other people in their household. It also doesn’t mean that they would be incapable of transmitting it to faculty and staff in schools.

And in general, we– I think a lot of the discussion about schools has…

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Posted by on October 12, 2020 in Uncategorized


A Study of Charter Schools and Special Education

Reputable studies repeatedly find the same results, that publicly funded, private sector charter schools cherry-pick students, discriminate, and are worse or no better than OUR public schools. Private sector charter schools are robbing OUT public schools of funds. This must be stopped!!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education has released a study of charter schools and special education by doctoral candidate Katherine Parham at Teachers College, Columbia University.

From the dawn of the charter movement, the subject of charter schools and special education has generated significant controversy.

Albert Shanker cautioned in a Washington Post op-ed in 1994 that the freedom from state and local regulations sought for charter schools would mean control over admissions and thus exclusion of “difficult-to-educate students.” A decade later, Martin Carnoy and his co-authors documented in The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement (2005) that high-achieving charter middle schools enrolled far more students with strong academic records than neighboring public schools as well as far fewer English-language learners and students with special needs. Similarly, Gary Miron and his co-authors documented in a 2011 study of a major charter management organization…

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Posted by on September 3, 2020 in Uncategorized


Derek Black: Betsy DeVos and the Theft of CARES Funding

Starting with the COVID-19 pandemic, Betsy DeVos increased breaking laws and twisting rules to destroy OUR public schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

In this article in the New York Daily News, constitutional lawyer Derek Black explains how Betsy DeVos used her authority as Secretary of Educatiin to send federal dollars intended for public schools to elite private schools and religious schools. Black’s new book, “School House Burning,” is an outstanding read.

He writes:

Betsy DeVos’ agenda to expand private education has floundered for three years. In 2017, public schools’ financial hole was too deep for either party in Congress to consider digging it deeper. But since March of this year, amidst a pandemic that has killed more than 170,000 Americans, cratered the economy and underlined the importance of public education, the U.S. secretary of education has made more headway than in the last three years combined.

Naively, Congress assumed that DeVos would put coronavirus response ahead of her ideological agenda. They were wrong, and now she is on the verge of turning…

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Posted by on August 30, 2020 in Uncategorized


Darcie Cimarusti: How Charters in New Jersey Double-Dipped into Federal CARES Funding

Crooked Charter Schools are like the COVID-19 virus, an infection of greed destroying our country’s public education system.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Darcie Cimarusti is a school board member in New Jersey and Communications Director of the Network for Public Education. Her telling of charter school greed in New Jersey reminded me of the song called “On That Great Come and Get It Day” from “Finian’s Rainbow.” No “Come and Get It Day” for public schools, onLy for politically connected charter schools. And for those who believe that charters play by the same rules as public schools, take a look at those salaries for charter principal. A sweet deal.

She writes here with meticulous documentation about how some charters in New Jersey took a generous portion of Paycheck Protection Program funds, whose ostensible purpose was to help small businesses survive the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic. The charters that grabbed big bucks were never in danger of losing their funding. Thirty years ago, the original goal of charter schools was to…

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Posted by on August 18, 2020 in Uncategorized


Thomas Ultican: “School Choice” Was Created by White Supremacists

Diane Ravitch's blog

In this post, Thomas Ultican reviews Steve Suitts’ devastating new book about the origins of school choice.

Advocates of school choice like to claim economist Milton Friedman as their godfather but Suitts, who has spent his career working in civil rights activism, shows that the true originators of “freedom of choice” were Southern governors and legislatures who were determined to thwart the Brown decision of 1954. Suitts doesn’t ignore Friedman. He points out that his 1955 essay proposing freedom of choice proposed that in a choice system, there would be all-white schools, all-black schools, and mixed-race schools.

The segregationists loved Friedman’s ideas because it mirrored their own. They knew that in a free-choice regime, the status quo would be preserved by racism and intimidation.

So when you hear libertarians and right wingers talking about the glories of choice, think George Wallace. Think Bull Connor. Think James Eastland. Think White Citizens…

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Posted by on August 12, 2020 in Uncategorized


Dilemmas Facing Policymakers in Re-opening Schools

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Here is the best summary that I have found thus far on the policy dilemmas facing school boards and superintendents in deciding how and when to re-open schools. It comes from a blog called Electoral Vote. Curated and written by two academics, one (Andrew Tanenbaum) an expert on statistics and public opinion polls and the other (Christopher Bates) a historian.

Every educational policy has one or more prized values embedded in it and when it comes to Covid-19, these values clash. Choices have to be made among sought-after values (health and safety of students; health and safety of faculty; giving parents choices of school options, limited resources to do efficiently what is essential, quality of educational experience, etc.). Sacrifices occur as policymakers with limited funds and knowledge of the virus’s spread and effects strike compromises (e.g., when to open, under what conditions) in deciding which values take precedence…

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Posted by on August 2, 2020 in Uncategorized