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“The Coronavirus Just Might End School Privatization Nonsense”

Support your local traditional, democratic, transparent, K-12 public schools and reject greed-based, autocratic, opaque and secretive, private sector charter schools and vouchers.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is an essay I wrote for Education Week. I thank them for their close reading, fact-checking, and careful editing.

The vast majority of the nation’s schoolchildren are out of school because of the deadly coronavirus. Parents are frantically trying to figure out how to keep their children engaged in learning, and many districts are providing online instruction or recommending resources for lessons. After teaching her two children for a week, Shonda Rhimes, the creator and producer of hit TV shows, tweeted, “I think teachers should be paid a billion dollars a year. Or a week.” Another parent forced into homeschooling joked, “Is there any way I can get one of my children transferred to someone else’s class?”

Most parents don’t feel qualified to teach their children at home, especially since museums, libraries, and other public spaces are also closed. They don’t long to be home schoolers; they long…

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Posted by on April 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

David Berliner: How “Successful” Charter Schools Cull and Skim Students They Don’t Want

Diane Ravitch was recently criticized for writing that charter schools, supported by public tax money, engage in skimming and creaming students and families. Ravitch, however is right!

Diane Ravitch's blog

I recently wrote an article that referred to charter schools that succeed by excluding students with disabilities, English learners, and others unlikely to get high scores. The editor questioned if this claim was accurate. I turned to several expert researchers to ask their view, and they all agreed with my assertion. David Berliner of Arizona State University—one of the nation’s pre-eminent researchers and statisticians—had data to back it up, and I invited him to write an essay addressing this issue.

He wrote:

Culling, Creaming, Skimming, Thinning: Things We Do to Herds and School Children

To cull is to select things you intend to reject, often in reference to a group of animals. An outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease can cause authorities to order a cull of farm pigs. An outbreak of low-test scores or a meeting with undesirable parents can promote the culling of charter students. To cream is to remove…

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Posted by on April 13, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

A Conspiracy Theory that turned out to be Real

On July 4, 1776, The Declaration of Independence said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Read Slaying Goliath, and learn that some of the wealthiest and most powerful Americans are trying to take away our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I was a public school teacher in California from 1975 – 2005. During those thirty years, I worked 60 to 100 hours a week during the school year. I took work home seven days a week and couldn’t wait for the winter and spring breaks, not because of the time off from teaching, but because I’d have time to catch up correcting student work. After all, teachers have to sleep, too.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan released a report that was a lie. That report was called “A Nation at Risk,” and it painted the nation’s public schools as failures.  After that misleading report, teachers were called lazy and incompetent. The public schools were blamed for the prison population in the United States that was really caused by Presidents Nixon and Reagan’s war on recreational drugs like marijuana.

The critics of the public schools even came up with a misleading term that was also a lie. It was called “The school to prison pipeline.” There has never been a school to prison pipeline in the United States.

After “A Nation at Risk,” came the Self Esteem Movement that got its start in Catholic K-12 schools and from the pulpit of evangelical Christian churches. When that failed, teachers were blamed again. However, the majority of teachers, including me, did not agree with the Self Esteem Movement that put pressure on us to stop failing students that refused to learn and inflate grades so children would feel good about themselves, even if they didn’t deserve it.

That top-down failure was followed by The Whole Language Approach to teaching. English Lit Teachers like me were told to stop teaching mechanics, grammar, and spelling because it was boring. We were told that the kids could learn that boring stuff just by reading on their own, except most kids do not read on their own.

A decade later, when that Whole Language Approach that was forced on teachers also failed, teachers were blamed again.

That is why, back in the 1980s, I started to think there was a conspiracy theory to destroy the public schools. Over the years, as one top-down movement after another to improve the public schools failed, I convinced myself that it could not be right that someone was trying to destroy our public schools.

Who could be that cruel, that greedy, that monstrous, to deliberately demonize teachers and blame them for almost every problem in the United States? The critics said teachers were lazy. The critics said we were incompetent. The critics said our labor unions were corrupt and were getting in the way of improving the public schools.

I retired from teaching in 2005 and swore that if I was forced to teach again, I’d instead rejoin the U.S. Marines and fight in Afghanistan against Islamic terrorists. Since I had already served in the Marines and fought in Vietnam before I was a teacher, I knew that being a teacher was way worse because of the way teachers are treated in this country.

When I retired, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left without medical insurance, but the critics said teachers were greedy, and our retirement systems would cause the states to go bankrupt. I live in California, and about 6% of the state’s annual budget goes to support the teacher retirement system.

If you believe that retired teachers are greedy, let me sell you a vacation home on a moon orbiting Saturn. I understand the view of Saturn’s rings are incredible.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that what I suspected back in the 1980s was real. There has been a movement in the United States for decades to replace the nation’s democratic, transparent, public schools and destroy the teaching profession. That disruptive movement wants to replace the people’s public school with a profit-driven, often corrupt, secretive, autocratic, private school system that operates without rules and oversight.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that the leaders of the publicly funded, private-sector charter school industry are mostly deceivers and liars.

Read Slaying Goliath, and you will learn that the leaders of the publicly-funded private/religious voucher school industry are also mostly deceivers and liars.

When you read Slaying Goliath, you will learn who those liars are. You will learn who is behind the disruption of our public schools and how they are subverting our Constitutional Republic to strip us of our rights. Then maybe you will be angry enough to support and even join the passionate resistance of parents, grandparents, teachers, and children that are already fighting to save America’s public schools.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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John Merrow Proves That the Public Admires and Respects Teachers

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Merrow released this post on April 1 but my page was already full, and anyway the post is not a joke. However, if you read it—and you should—you will spot John’s humor.

He begins:

Although I left reporting more than four years ago, my blood still boils when people like Betsy DeVos, the supremely unqualified Secretary of Education, Senator Rand Paul, Representative Steve King, Laura Ingraham of Fox, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, convicted but pardoned felon Dinesh D’Souza, and other uninformed public figures blast public school teachers and public education.

Because I’m retired, I have time to dig for the truth. And so, to find out how real Americans feel about public school teachers, I decided to go to the grassroots. Do ordinary Americans respect teachers more than they respect lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, and politicians?

I’ve devoted the past seven months to original field research on this subject…

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Posted by on April 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

You Are Invited: A Webinar about the Koch Machine

Join and watch the free webinar that attempts to reveal the vast subversive Koch machine that was built over a period of decades to destroy our Constitutional Republic and replace it with a Theocratic Kleptocracy ruled by autocratic billionaires like the Kocks and the Betsy DeVos family.

Diane Ravitch's blog

A valuable website called “Unkoch My Campus” is offering a webinar where you can learn how to identify the tentacles of the Kochtopus.

Charles Koch and his late brother David
have subsidized anti-government, anti-public school policies and think tanks for decades. They underwrote the voucher campaign in Arizona and other states. They work closely with the DeVos family foundations to promote their views. The Koch’s have established centers to advocate libertarian ideas on more than 300 campuses. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we see how necessary it is to have a functioning federal government. At times of crisis, we understand that we need an effective public sector. The Koch movement has worked hard to reduce the ability of governments to protect their citizens.

This is a message from “Unkoch My Campus.”

We’re building a movement against the most intricate infrastructure of political influence in the country.

The bad…

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Posted by on March 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Project Propaganda AKA Project Forever Free

Learn more about the autocratic billionaire kleptocrats funding the war to privatize and profit from OUR democratic K-12 public schools.

tultican

By Thomas Ultican 3/28/2020

During final months of 2019, the Education Post was reorganized. In 2014, four billionaires spent $5.5 million to establish a new digital media channel in response to the massive and effective push back against their favored education reforms. Actually, it was more than four billionaires. One of those funders was the Walton Family Foundation made up of multiple billionaires. The channel was called Education Post but its official non-profit name was the Results in Education Foundation (RIEF) whose existence seemed to be purposely obscured. Peter Cunningham was listed on tax forms as President of RIEF, but publicly Cunningham was only known as the founding Executive Director of Education Post.

During the first four years of operation, the top contributor to REIF has been Michael Bloomberg. Available tax records show that between 2014 and 2017 he granted it more than $7 million and when added to the…

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Posted by on March 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Lessons from the 1918 Flu Pandemic, When Many Schools Closed

During the 1918 Flue Pandemic, “Some cities (in the United States) closed their schools for the duration of the health crisis, as long as 15 weeks.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

I was recently contacted by a journalist who asked me if there was any precedent for the current school closings in response to a health crisis.

My first impulse was to say “no,” based on my knowledge of history, but I started googling before responding.

I googled “school closings” and “1918 flu epidemic” and found this excellent article by Alexandra M. Stern, Marin S. Cetron, and Howard Markel, published in 2009.

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.28.6.w1066

The authors wrote in 2009, in relation to an outbreak of the A/H1N1 influenza of that year:

”Nine decades before our current encounter with a novel strain of influenza virus, the deadly second wave of the 1918–19 influenza pandemic struck the United States. In response, most urban communities closed K–12 public schools for an extended period of time, in some locations for as long as fifteen weeks. Typically, the order to close schools came late in the epidemic…

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Posted by on March 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

NEPC: There Is No “Science of Reading”

Diane Ravitch's blog

The National Education Policy Center issued a statement today about teaching reading.

The bottom line: There is no “science of reading.”

It’s time for the media and political distortions to end, and for the literacy community and policymakers to fully support the literacy needs of all children.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Joint Statement Regarding
“Science of Reading” Advocacy

KEY TAKEAWAY:

It’s time for the media and political distortions to end, and for the literacy community and policymakers to fully support the literacy needs of all children.

CONTACT:
William J. Mathis:
(802) 383-0058
wmathis@sover.net

Kevin Kumashiro:
(202) 468-9489
kevin@kevinkumashiro.com
TwitterEmail Address

BOULDER, CO (March 19, 2020) – The National Education Policy Center and the Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE) today jointly released a Policy Statement on the “Science of Reading.”

For the past few years, a wave of media has reignited the unproductive Reading Wars, which frame early-literacy teaching…

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Posted by on March 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Wendy Lecker, Civil Rights Lawyer, Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH

Diane Ravitch's blog

Wendy Lecker is a civil rights lawyer for the Education Law Center who writes regularly for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Stamford (CT) Advocate.

https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-A-fighter-against-bad-education-15111892.php

She writes:

Diane Ravitch is rare in American public policy — a public figure who very publicly admitted that the positions she once championed were wrong. Dr. Ravitch is a historian of education and former assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush — and was once a vocal champion of two pillars of education “reform”: school choice and standardized testing. In 2010, she published a book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” in which she meticulously critiqued these policies, and rued her role in pushing them.

Since then, Dr. Ravitch has tirelessly fought ill-conceived and harmful education policies and promotes a vision of public education that she believes is better for children and truer to our democratic…

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Posted by on March 9, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Los Angeles: Teachers v. Billionaires

Beware of the Billionaires out to abuse the children of LA Unified.

Diane Ravitch's blog

MEDIA ADVISORY
March 2, 2020
Contact: Anna Bakalis, 213-305-9654

Los Angeles — The stakes are high in the LAUSD School board race to elect Patricia Castellanos in District 7, Scott Schmerelson in District 3, Jackie Goldberg in District 5 and George McKenna in District 1. As of Monday morning, the California Charter Schools Association PAC and billionaires like Bill Bloomfield, who sits on the CCSA PAC board, have funneled more than $6.2 million into the race against these candidates, making it the most expensive primary school board race in US history. They are spending $1 million every other day since last week.

“What our kids don’t need are billionaires spending $20,000 an hour every day to buy our school board election. Imagine if the millions they are spending against public education were redirected into our schools?” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “Our school libraries could be open five days a…

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Posted by on March 2, 2020 in Uncategorized