Category Archives: Uncategorized

What does it take to become a child prodigy?

Lloyd Lofthouse

I have two favorite living child prodigies: one from the United States (age 13) and one from Norway (age 11).

Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent in 2016, at age 12. She competed by singing her own songs that she wrote (the first video). She then signed a contract with Columbia Records and put out her first short album (with 5 songs) that reached #9 in the United States. She went on to win awards from the Teen Choice Awards and Disney.

Angelina Jordan won Norway’s Got Talent when she was age 8, singing classic jazz. At age ten in 2016, she recorded “I Put a Spell on You.”  If you enjoy that performance, there’s more. You will discover Angelina performs barefoot. Her first album is scheduled for release this year.

Grace VanderWaal and Angelina Jordan are both child prodigies. Scientific American explains what it takes to be a child…

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in Uncategorized


TruthOut: How the Illinois Backdoor Voucher Program Works

How are ALEC and the Walton family privatizing public education without public consent?

That’s called subversion – a crime.

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“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)”

ALEC is the perfect example of a seditious conspiracy.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kari Lydersen explains the story behind the Illinois tax-credit program, in this article.

In exchange for sending more money to Chicago, the Illinois legislature (controlled by Democrats) included a $75 million provision for tax credits for private school scholarships.

This is a voucher by another name.

It is the way to enact vouchers in a state where the state constitution bars them.

The nation’s best known tax credit program is in Florida, where Jeb Bush tried and failed to convince voters or the state supreme court to roll back the state constitutional ban on vouchers.

Betsy DeVos wants a national tax credit program, to drain students and resources from public schools.

Learn about it.

It is another way to privatize public education without public consent.

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Posted by on October 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Backpack Full Of Cash: The Film About Education and Privatization That You MUST See!

This is the film the media won’t review and the film industry won’t show. Guess who owns the media and the film industry — not the children and not the working class.

Diane Ravitch's blog







The photograph below is, from the left, filmmaker Vera Aronow; Nancy Carlsson-Paige (mother of Matt Damon and Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at Lesley College); narrator Matt Damon; and filmmaker Sarah Mondale.


BACKPACK moving full speed ahead!


BACKPACK in the spotlight, igniting conversations worldwide!
Have you heard? “Backpack Full of Cash” is moving full steam ahead––thanks in great part to your support! Recently, we attended a wonderful screening in Albany, NY, and a big event in Boston with Matt Damon, the film’s narrator, and his mother Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige…

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Posted by on October 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


VIDEO: Betsy DeVos’ “Conversation” at Harvard


On September 28, 2017, US ed sec Betsy DeVos spoke at Harvard’s Kennedy School at what appeared to be a welcoming venture for a woman who actively campaigns against traditional public education in favor of a business-model vending of educational-styled options: a two-day conference entitled, “The Future of School Choice: Helping Students Succeed.”

DeVos delivered a keynote address— as part of a session entitled, “A Conversation About School Choice.” Below is the entire one-hour event featuring DeVos as posted on the Harvard Kennedy School website. (Note that the silent protesters in the audience and their protest during DeVos’ 25-minute speech were not captured in this video.)

Interestingly, the moderator, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Archon Fung, calls for a “conversation” and for those with opposing views on school choice “to listen and understand one another instead of circling the wagons into our own echo chamber.”

Fung says this as he…

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Jersey Jazzman: The Education “Reform Movent” is a Rightwing Movement

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jersey Jazzman is a teacher, blogger, and doctoral student in New Jersey. He has been writing brilliant statistical analyses of the differences between charter schools and public schools for years. He is no ideologue. He is a pragmatist.

In this post, he concludes what I long ago concluded: the so-called “reform movement” is a rightwing endeavor. I believe its real goals are to stamp out unions, deprofessionalize teaching (think TFA), and turn a profit on school funding.

JJ (aka Mark Weber) notes that Eva Moskowitz gets sizable funding from Wall Street and such notorious right wingers as the Mercer Family, which is also funding Steve Bannon. He notes the racist comments of the chairman of her board, as well as the Republican ties of other board members.

It is no secret that the notoriously rightwing Walton Family Foundation claims credit for opening one of e rey four charter schools…

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


William Doyle: Yes, There is a Finnish-Style Public Elementary School in New York

Imagine if possible, a public school in the United States where teachers are actually valued and children are allowed to be children. Common Core and high-stakes, rank-and-punish tests do not rule this K-5 public school.

Diane Ravitch's blog

William Doyle was a Fulbright Scholar in Finland, and his child attended the local school. When Doyle returned to New Tork City, he went in search of a Finnish-style public school and found it. It is called The Earth School.

“My child now goes to PS 364, also known as the Earth School, a little-known gem of a public K-5 elementary in the East Village.

“The student population is some 50% black and Latino children. Half the students qualify for free and reduced priced lunch, and 23% of students receive special education services.

“If American teachers built a school, instead of politicians and bureaucrats, it would look a lot like this. Founded as an experimental program in 1992 by a group of New York City teachers who wanted, in the words of the school’s website, “to create a peaceful, nurturing place to stimulate learning in all realms of child development…

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


Michigan: A Textbook Example of How NOT to Reform Schools

Money rules, and that money ruins.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Martin Levine, writing in the Nonprofit Quarterly, explains that the example of Michigan is strong evidence that Betsy DeVos’ plans to impose choice will harm education.

Before launching a huge new initiative, it is important to have trials and see how things work out. That is why the Common Core failed. Its advocates were so eager to shove it into every state that they couldn’t take the time to see how it worked in reality, in real classrooms with real teachers and real students. They didn’t have time for feedback from practitioners. They had no idea how it would work out. And it blew up in their faces.

Martin Levine says look at Michigan if you want to know how school choice and characterizing works.

Michigan has allowed market forces to replace the planning and oversight roles for which government was traditionally responsible. Control of public education was moved from…

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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Uncategorized