Michelle Rhee’s D.C. Education Revolution Continues to Collapse


The Associated Press‘s Ashraf Khalil explains: “As recently as a year ago, the public school system in the nation’s capital was being hailed as a shining example of successful urban education reform and a template for districts across the country. Now…. after a series of rapid-fire scandals including one about rigged graduation rates, Washington’s school system has gone from a point of pride to perhaps the largest public embarrassment of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s tenure… A decade after a restructuring that stripped the decision-making powers of the board of education and placed the system under mayoral control, city schools in 2017 were boasting rising test scores and a record graduation rate for high schools of 73 percent, compared with 53 percent in 2011… Then everything unraveled.”

Teachers jobs were threatened if they didn’t raise test scores and increase graduation rates by passing students no matter what. Money was an…

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Posted by on June 22, 2018 in Uncategorized


Michigan: The Effects of Charters on a State That Once Had Fine Public Schools

Discover why Betsy DeVos, when asked about public education in her home state of Michigan, changes the subject to Florida.

Diane Ravitch's blog

It is no secret that the DeVos family controls state education policy in Michigan. As Betsy DeVos has acknowledged, when they make campaign contributions, they expect to see the changes they want.

Since DeVos took control, education in Michigan has been in decline. The state has hundreds of charter schools. Accountability is minimal. DeVos likes it that way. Michigan is the only state where 80% of charters operate for profit. That means less money for instruction because investors come first in a for-profit business.

Last year, the New York Times Magazine ran a very good article about the charter mess in Michigan. It points out that 70% of the charters are in the bottom half of state performance. So much for “saving poor kids from failing schools,” more like privatizing schools for profit without regard to the kids.

“The results have been stark. The 2016 report by the Education…

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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in Uncategorized


Colorado: Democratic Candidates for Governor Fight Over Corporate Education Reforms

Colorado, vote for the right candidate for your Governor and save your public schools from corporate pirates and frauds.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Colorado is heating up as a battleground over education issues. The gubernatorial race could be a watershed moment in the fight to reverse failed and punitive reforms.

There are three candidates for Governor. Two are corporate reformers: Jared Polis and Michael Johnston. The third, Cary Kennedy, has taken them both on for betraying public schools and teachers. I am not aware of any political race where the issues are drawn as sharply as they are in this race.

Polis and Johnston are angry at Kennedy because a teacher-funded group bought ads criticizing their education views. She can’t control the outside group. Polis and Johnston say she is engaged in negative campaigning and call the ad an attack ad. It seems to me that voters need to know where candidates differ. If they can’t criticize one another for their records, how will voters learn about the candidates?

Cary Kennedy was Colorado…

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Posted by on June 10, 2018 in Uncategorized


Joanne Barkan: Who and What Are Behind the Privatization Movement?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Joanne Barkan has been writing brilliant articles about the billionaire assault on public education for several years. Her first was “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools.”

Her latest is this article, which appeared on Valerie Strauss’s “The Answer Sheet.” She calls it “Death by a Thousand Cuts.” It will ring true for everyone who is fighting the massive money and power of the privatizers.

Barkan supplies a brief history of neoliberalism, as well as the federal efforts to introduce competition and privatization into the schools.

She begins:

When champions of market-based reform in the United States look at public education, they see two separate activities — government funding education and government running schools. The first is okay with them; the second is not. Reformers want to replace their bête noire — what they call the “monopoly of government-run schools” — with freedom of choice in a competitive market dominated…

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Posted by on June 5, 2018 in Uncategorized


Peter Greene: Progressives Do Not Endorse Privatization of Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

As a rule, if a progressive shares any part of Betsy DeVos’s agenda, chances are he or she is not a progressive. Progressives usually support public schools governed by a democratic entity; progressives believe that teachers should have the right to bargain collectively and to seek better funding and better working conditions for the students and staff; progressives think that all teachers should be well educated and certified; progressives believe that educators, students, and families should be treated with respect; progressives believe that civil rights law should be enforced; progressives work towards a society that is fair and just to all its citizens. Progressives do not defend racial segregation.

That’s my peroration.

Now comes Peter Greene’s response to Conor Williams’s loopy claim that progressives should defend charter schools even though they are segregated and non-union. Peter notes that Conor’s teaching experience was limited to a couple of years at the…

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Posted by on June 3, 2018 in Uncategorized


What’s Wrong with Charter Schools? A Short Explanation for the Uninitiated

What is wrong with MOST private sector charter schools?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Every so often, a friend who is not deep into education issues asks for a short explanation of why I oppose charter schools. Didn’t Obama and Duncan support them? But now Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers support them? I keep meaning to write a brief summary but have not had time.

Recently a friend in California wrote an explanation that might serve the purpose.

What’s wrong with charter schools? The picture in California*

Charter schools take resources away from the public schools, harming public schools and their students. All charter schools do this – whether they’re opportunistic and for-profit or presenting themselves as public, progressive and enlightened.

Charter schools are free to pick and choose and exclude or kick out any student they want. They’re not supposed to, but in real life there’s no enforcement. Many impose demanding application processes, or use mandatory “intake counseling,” or require work hours…

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Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Uncategorized


Thomas Frank: The Teachers’ Strikes Burst a Lot of Bubbles

Diane Ravitch's blog

Thomas Frank, author, commends the striking teachers in Arizona and elsewhere for dashing the neoliberal dream of demonizing teachers.

He writes in “The Guardian”:

What I like best about the wave of teachers’ strikes that have swept America these last few months is how they punch so brutally and so directly in the face of the number one neoliberal educational fantasy of the last decade: that all we need to do to fix public education is fire people.

Fire teachers, specifically. They need to learn fear and discipline. That’s what education “reformers” have told us for years. If only, the fantasy goes, we could slay the foot-dragging unions and the red-tape rules that keep mediocre teachers in their jobs, then things would be different. If only some nice “tech millionaires” would step in and help us fire people! If only we could get a thousand clones of Michelle Rhee, the…

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Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Uncategorized