Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Spruce Goose of School Reform? « Diane Ravitch's blog

The Spruce Goose of School Reform? « Diane Ravitch's blog:

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The Spruce Goose of School Reform?

New York State had the misfortune to win that pig in a poke known as Race to the Top. The state got $700 million.
Our political leaders licked their chops, thinking that this was new money that could be used to offset budget cuts.
Silly them.
Every dollar of RTTT must be used for designated purposes, not a dollar can be moved to make up for deficits elsewhere.
And many districts are now learning that whatever money they get from RTTT will require them to spend two, three, four times as much complying with its requirements.
The State Education Department has been designing an “educator evaluation” system that is so complex, so punitive and so demoralizing that more than a third of the principals in the state signed a petition opposing it and calling for a pilot test. The system, known as APPR (annual professional performance review), assigned 40% of


Who Defines “the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time”?

One of the ironies of corporate-style reform is that the reformers like to pretend that they are leaders of the civil rights movement of our day.
Arne Duncan says that closing low-performing schools, firing staff, and turning around schools is the civil rights issue of our time.
Mitt Romney says that supporting vouchers and charters and for-profit online schools is the civil rights issue of our time. we have heard this from many others in recent years.
This phrase gets attached to every proposal to privatize public education, to crush teachers’ unions, and to break


Our Most Brilliant Scholar of Education?

I read this post by Yong Zhao when it came out 18 months ago. I remember thinking that his was a new and important voice in our debates about American education. Others discovered him long before I did, and I am glad I did too. I devour whatever he writes because he is not only a careful scholar but he is wise. He has great respect for creativity, initiative, originality, and inquiry; and he is repelled by standardization and conformity, which is the enemy of the foregoing. The fact that Yong Zhao was born and educated in China and has a deep knowledge of that nation’s education system gives him added authority. It also gives him the perspective needed to put our usual debates into a fresh and original framework. Yong Zhao is now at the University of Oregon and speaks often at international conferences.
I urge you to read his important book Catching Up or Leading the Way.
His new book, just published, is World-Class Learners, a must read.
I have read this essay many times and quoted it many times. I will quote it again, I am sure.
It gives me pleasure to share it with readers of this blog.

“It makes no sense:” Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech


Can Anyone Teach? This Teacher Says No

In Louisiana, as I wrote in a recent blog, the Jindal legislation does not require that teachers in charter schools have certification. Certification is not a high bar in Louisiana, but it does represent a standard: a minimum grade point average in college, a college degree, a passing score on a state or national examination. At a recent meeting, a Harvard-educated member of the state board of education suggested that teachers don’t even need to have a college degree. In some other states like Indiana and Texas, standards to teach are also dropping or have already fallen. Some “reformers” think that any requirement is a hoop or hurdle or obstacle created to keep people out of teaching. Some economists dismiss the value of any credentials or education or experience for 

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