Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris: A Critical Review of the PBS Special “Schools, Inc.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Between April and June of this year, PBS distributed a three-hour documentary called “Schools Inc.” to its member stations. I was invited to comment on the program by WNET, the PBS station in New York City. It was a 10-minute interview, and not nearly enough time to respond to all the issues covered in a three-hour narrative. I was certainly grateful to WNET for inviting my response but thought a longer analysis was needed. I asked Carol Burris, the executive director of the Network for Public Education, to co-author a critique of the program with me. It was posted last night by Valerie Strauss on her “Answer Sheet” blog. You can check her post for all the links in our article, as well as PBS’s response to my objections to the documentary and the libertarian CATO Institute’s critique.

The Network for Public Education circulated our objections to the…

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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


Test-Based Accountability – Smokescreen for Cowardly Politicians and Unscrupulous Corporations


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There is no single education policy more harmful than test-based accountability.

The idea goes like this: We need to make sure public schools actually teach children, and the best way to do that is with high stakes standardized testing.

It starts from the assumption that the problems with our school system are all service-based. Individual schools or districts are not providing quality services. Teachers and administrators are either screwing up or don’t care enough to do the job.

But this is untrue. In reality, most of our problems are resource-based. From the get-go, schools and districts get inequitable resources with which to work.

This is not a guess. This is not a theory. It is demonstrable. It has been demonstrated. It is a fact.

No one even disputes it.

What is in question is its importance.

However, any lack of intention or…

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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized


A Nashville School Board Member Warns Kentucky and Mississippi about the Charter Scams

if you don’t toe the line for charter schools, you will be attacked. You will be demeaned, bullied, and belittled. Get ready for the smear campaigns and character assassinations.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Amy Frogge ran for the Metro Nashville School Board in 2012 as a concerned mom who was also a lawyer. She was unaware of the pitched battle about charters and privatization. She had the simple goal of improving public schools, which made her an enemy of the privatizers. She ran again last year and was re-elected. Both times, she faced candidates who outspent her by vast sums with out-of-state reformer cash. She was previously named to the Blog’s Honor Roll for her fortitude in standing up to the vilification by reformers and sticking to her promise to fight for public schools.

In this post, she writes that it is a new day in Nashville. High-profile charter operators arrived with big promises, then crashed and burned. The Nashville community sees them for the frauds they are.

She hopes to alert parents in Kentucky and Mississippi to beware, now that rightwing…

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Posted by on July 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


Charter School Lotteries – Why Most Families Don’t Even Apply


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Who gets to enroll in your school?

This question is at the heart of the charter school debate.

While traditional public schools have to accept any student who meets residency requirements, charter schools can be entirely more selective.

They don’t have to take just any student. They can pick and choose based on pretty much whatever criteria they want.

Despite the fact that charters are publicly funded and privately run, transparency requirements are so low in most states that regulators aren’t even allowed to check up on their enrollment practices.

It’s a situation rife with the potential for fraud and abuse with America’s most vulnerable students often being victimized and huge corporations raking in record profits.

Critics say that charter schools routinely accept only the easiest students to educate. They take those with the best academic records, without disciplinary problems or special education needs. This allows them…

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Posted by on July 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


NAACP on Charter Moratorium: “We Won’t Back Down!”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Corporate privatizers like Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, Arne Duncan, and Peter Cunningham (previously Duncan’s communications director, now editor of the billionaire-funded Education Post) claim that turning public money over to operators of privately-managed contract schools (aka, “charter” schools) is the “civil rights issue of our time.”

But the authentic voice of the civil rights movement–the NAACP–does not agree. Last summer, the national convention of the NAACP passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools until important issues of accountability were addressed and corrected. Despite a concerted effort to persuade the national board of the NAACP to repudiate the resolution, despite critical editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Board upheld the resolution at its meeting last October.

Since passing and confirming the resolution, the nation’s oldest civil rights group decided to hold hearings across the country. What they learned convinced them to stand…

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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Uncategorized


Stolen Language: Charter Schools Are Not “Public” Schools

No matter what you have been told, what you have read, what you think, corporate charter schools are NOT public schools. I want to stand and shout as loud as I can the world “Not!” Do not fall for that lie.


On August 15, 2016,  the Post News Group published an op-ed entitled, “There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Public Charter School.'”

The piece was written by retired San Francisco State University adjunct professor, education activist, and Oakland, CA. resident, Ann Berlak. In short order, Berlak lays bare the lie behind the popularized message, “charter schools are public schools,” in such a clear, direct manner that I thought it worth sharing with my readers:

This year, more than a quarter of Oakland’s 49,000 students are attending one of its nearly 40 charter schools, far more per capita than anywhere else in the state.

Is this something for Oaklanders to boast about?

Not long ago I visited a school in Oakland to read to third graders on “Literacy Day.” On 
the way to the classroom I asked my guide if this was a charter or a public school. The 

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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Uncategorized


Jeff Bryant: Why Is There Bipartisan Support for Charter Scams and Corruption?

I don’t trust corporations. That distrust was earned. Corporations are profit generating cancers that will crush anyone and anything that gets in the way of profits. But I have always trusted public school teachers. I do not trust teachers that work in the private sector without the protection of due process rights and where the boss/investors are motivated primarily by those profits. Profits should never be the goal of schools supported with public dollars.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jeff Bryant points out an irony that should enrage every taxpayer and citizen: Both major political parties love charter schools, despite the numerous scandals that accompany unregulated, unaccountable charters.

Here is a part of his great piece on the malfeasance that is now commonplace in the charter industry. There are many links:

“Charter schools have become a fetish of both Democratic and Republican political establishments, but local news reports continue to drip, drip a constant stream of stories of charter schools doing bad stuff that our tax dollars fund.

“An independent news outlet in New Orleans, where the school district is nearly 100 percent charter, reports that two homeless children were kept out of class for a month because they didn’t have monogrammed uniforms.
In Oakland, California, a state-based news outlet reports charter school enrollment practices ensure charter schools get an advantage over district schools when academic performance comparisons…

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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Uncategorized