CURMUDGUCATION: Why Honor Diane Ravitch? : Why Honor Diane Ravitch? Tonight the Network for Public Education is throwing a shindig in New York to honor Diane Ravitch. In truth, it is also to help raise money for NPE, an organization for which Ravitch is a co-founder. If you are at all concerned about public education, you are familiar with Ravitch's name, and the general arc of her story that has
CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Speaks (Sort of) : DeVos Speaks (Sort of) Poor Betsy DeVos. She has recently spent time on the Donald Trump "Thank You These rallies Are The Only Part I Liked About Running for President" Tour, complaining tha t the media is spreading "false news" about her. I suppose that she could address that by actually, you know, speaking to the press directly, but apparently she is spe
Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme : School privatization is a pyramid scheme Want to know why today’s Trumpian Republicans — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick among them — think public education is a waste of money? Just listen to President-elect Donald Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes. She cuts to the heart of it. There’s no such thing as facts, Hughes said. In the Trump era, a Pinocch
Badass Teachers Association : The Tragic Consequences of Placing Professors on Watchlists by Dr. Michael Flanagan I recently scrolled by an article discussing a “professor watchlist” created by a conservative group (Flarety, 2016) . There have been other sites over the years designed to identify “problem” professors and their leftist viewpoints. The administrators of the watchlist sites often con
Johnson leaves Sacramento on upswing | The Sacramento Bee : Kevin Johnson’s legacy as Sacramento mayor Last dance with Mary Jane One more time to kill the pain I feel summer creepin' in and I'm Tired of this town again Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD After eight years as mayor, Kevin Johnson leaves Sacramento in much better shape than he found it. On Tuesday, he hands off to
John Thompson: We Can’t Let Betsy DeVos Destroy Our Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog : John Thompson: We Can’t Let Betsy DeVos Destroy Our Public Schools John Thompson is a teacher and historian in Oklahoma. As the Daily Oklahoman’s Ben Felder explains, “Education savings accounts (ESAs) and vouchers have not been easy sells, including in the GOP-controlled Oklahoma Legislature.” Until this
CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Baby, It's Cold Outside (12/11) : ICYMI: Baby, It's Cold Outside (12/11) Some readings from the week. Remember to share, pass on, and generally amplify what you read that you believe hits the spot. Is Ed-Tech Research Nearing Its Big Tobacco Moment From Gotesborg Universitet of all places, a consideration of how trustworthy ed tech is and will continue to be (or not). What
Trump, the Electoral College and Governing: Is There a “Better” System? How Will Trump Manage the Transition from Candidate to President? | Ed In The Apple : Trump, the Electoral College and Governing: Is There a “Better” System? How Will Trump Manage the Transition from Candidate to President? Pursuant to law promulgated by Congress and regulations by the Federal Electronic Election Commission (
Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 12/10/16 Featured Post Is Mónica García Using LAUSD Students as Stepping Stones? Guest Blog: Who Speaks for the Children? - Lily's Blackboard by mike simpson / 15min Guest Blog: Who
Tonight the Network for Public Education is throwing a shindig in New York to honor Diane Ravitch. In truth, it is also to help raise money for NPE, an organization for which Ravitch is a co-founder.
If you are at all concerned about public education, you are familiar with Ravitch's name, and the general arc of her story that has provided a sort of third-act apostasy-fueled career for her as a public figure. She has plenty of detractors from all sides of the education debates, and some of them are pretty worked up about her. Some of the arguments are the same old purity crusades, resting on the notion that if someone only says The Right Thing 98% of the time, they're ruined goods. I've never been a fan of that theory, but then I'm not much of labels guy, either. Human beings are generally complex and always non-uniform. If I ever meet someone who tells me that they agree with me 100% of the time, I assume they are lying to me.
Ravitch is important because she is the closest thing we have to a central figure in the public education side of the debates. While the reformster movement has manufactured big-time cover-photo public figures (She Who Will Not Be Named, former DC chancellor), won innumerable public posts (Arne Duncan), joined a plethora of billionaires (Eli Broad), and congealed around already-famous figures (Bill Gates), the defenders of public education have no such roster. If I showed a list of prominent reformsters to an average civilian, she would know many of the names. I don't think I could pull off a similar trick with public education advocates. Ravitch is about as close as we get to such a central, recognizable figure.
Part of that is her story. Hanging out with the architects of education reform, then defecting upon the realization that they were following the wrong past. But it is also her relentless attention to the movement and the many people it touches. She blogs endlessly, and a large part of that blogging is amplifying hundreds of voices of people who are invested in all of this. Reading Ravitch's blog not only keeps you informed about what is going out there, but it provides an undeniable sense that you have lots of company, lots of people who care about public education, too. You're not crazy, and you're not alone.
Ravitch has not tried to be a Great Leader, has not enforced an orthodoxy, and has not been getting rich from her activities. Her defection was arguably the worst career move ever, leaving people who write multi-million-dollar checks to fund websites, advocacy groups and think tanks to keep their CURMUDGUCATION: Why Honor Diane Ravitch?:
Poor Betsy DeVos. She has recently spent time on the Donald Trump "Thank You These rallies Are The Only Part I Liked About Running for President" Tour, complaining that the media is spreading "false news" about her. I suppose that she could address that by actually, you know, speaking to the press directly, but apparently she is spending time prepping for her confirmation hearing. Her appearances at Herr Trump's rallies haven't been covered in great detail, but thanks to the faux journalist power I call "Making It Up," I'm prepared to present the full text of one of her most recent tour speeches.
Thank you! Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to see all my friends and neighbors out to greet me here in my hometown of Grand Rapids. Just keep right on applauding. Remember, my family and I can ruin you at any moment. That's it! Cheer, fellow citizens and peasants!!
There has been a lot of speculation about what kind of Education Secretary I will be. Let me clear that up. I will be a great one!
For one thing, we will be bringing the benefits of school choice. I think all Americans agree that it's important that all businesses, no matter what their zip codes, have an opportunity to get their hands on a piece of the giant mountain of money that funds education in this country. Choice will let us do that. Cheer!!
But we want to do better than that. Everyone should have a chance to grab some of those public tax dollars, including all of the private schools which already exist. Vouchers should be an important part of an education money payout plan because every private school, whether its CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Speaks (Sort of):
Want to know why today’s Trumpian Republicans — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick among them — think public education is a waste of money? Just listen to President-elect Donald Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes. She cuts to the heart of it. There’s no such thing as facts, Hughes said.
In the Trump era, a Pinocchio nose is the new Washington Monument. It’s growing out of the swamp of corruption Trump once claimed he wanted to drain. Trump & Co. make up their own truths and facts as the circumstances of their power and pocketbooks require. Nice work — if you can get it.
So, the GOP reasons in that context, why in the world would they use taxpayer money to fill our children’s heads full of “facts” that could one day put at risk the fact-free, truth-free plans of the powerful?
As we near the start of the 2017 session of the Texas Legislature, the fate of public education once again hangs in the balance. Patrick — especially Patrick — has long had his sights trained on public ed.
The right’s school-voucher schemes have nothing to do with improving the actual education of children. There are many weapons in the anti-education voucher arsenal, such as vouchers backed with taxpayer money to send kids to private schools and so-called “education savings accounts.” Whatever it’s Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme:
The Tragic Consequences of Placing Professors on Watchlists
by Dr. Michael Flanagan
I recently scrolled by an article discussing a “professor watchlist” created by a conservative group (Flarety, 2016). There have been other sites over the years designed to identify “problem” professors and their leftist viewpoints. The administrators of the watchlist sites often contact the students of these professors and encourage them to write anecdotal reports about alleged bias towards conservative ideologies. The creators of these watchlists feel that the professors are promoting a liberal agenda, while attacking conservative values.
In the past I would have kept scrolling by an article like this, writing it off as just another extremist website. But we are now living in a different America. Since the Presidential election hate crimes have spiked (Balingit, 2016). We have white nationalists taking key roles in the next presidential administration (NYT, 2016). Our President-elect, among many other authoritarian missives, has expressed plans to register Muslim citizens (Trip, 2015), and disregard First Amendment rights (Wright, 2016). The next logical target is college professors, because they educate and develop critical thinking and research skills in our next generation. A repressive government controlled by Wall Street, with a militarized police force, does not want free thinkers and political activists. Professors who are identified as liberals, progressives or leftists, might produce educated citizens Badass Teachers Association:
Last dance with Mary Jane One more time to kill the pain I feel summer creepin' in and I'm Tired of this town again Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
After eight years as mayor, Kevin Johnson leaves Sacramento in much better shape than he found it. On Tuesday, he hands off to Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg a more confident city on the rise.
As Sacramento’s first celebrity mayor, Johnson brought charisma and connections he used to boost his city’s national stature, as well as his own. He called on all those skills to keep the Kings in town, open the new Golden 1 Center and jump-start development downtown.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson listens to speeches during his farewell reception at City Hall on Tuesday. Jose Luis Villegasjvillegas@sacbee.com
As the city’s first black mayor, he expanded racial inclusiveness and championed the now-thriving Oak Park neighborhood, where he grew up. As an outsider, he helped further expand local politics beyond the old guard of unions, neighborhood groups and the Democratic Party to include a younger, more diverse group of stakeholders.
He attracted strong and loyal supporters, but partly because Johnson did the job of mayor in his own way, he also fueled tenacious detractors. There is no denying he was a polarizing figure.
As it is in trying to assess any politician’s time in office, it isn’t easy to always draw a direct line from Johnson’s actions to successes and failures. Timing matters, a lot. He took office in December 2008, in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, which forced painful budget cuts. He departs during a strengthening economic recovery, which allows the city to do more.
Still, there were crucial choices to make. And along with just-retired City Manager John Shirey and allies on the City Council, Johnson made mostly the right decisions to stabilize city finances, start pension reform, catch up on water and sewer infrastructure, and much more.
Two years ago, Johnson took the lead in bringing together the police department and community leaders after the riots in Ferguson, Mo. While police reform in Sacramento is a work in progress, the fact that it is being done without violence is no small matter. Johnson deserves a lot of the credit.
With his wife Michelle Rhee, he also used the mayor’s office to promote education, including public charter schools, though that unfairly drew the wrath of teachers unions.
Despite the city’s progress, there will be a nagging sense that he could have accomplished even more.
Would he have made a difference on a wider range of issues if he had been a little more interested in policy and better at following through? What would be his impact if he had spent a little less time and energy trying to win more powers and focused more on fully using those he had? Or if he had been a little more of a team player and didn’t sow suspicion by bringing in his own “shadow” staff at City Hall and soliciting big-dollar donations for his own network of nonprofits?
Last year, he faced accusations of sexual harassment by a former aide in the city manager’s office. The city rejected her claim for damages. But then the sports website Deadspin resurrected 20-year-old allegations (aired during Johnson’s first campaign) by interviewing a woman who accused Johnson of sexual misconduct while she was a teenager in Phoenix.
That cloud may help explain why he retreated from public view in his final months in office. While Steinberg won’t be sworn in until Tuesday, he has been holding meetings with key players for months and has already weighed in to delay the selection of a new city manager and a final decision on a bigger convention center.
In his farewell remarks, Johnson called his two terms a roller-coaster ride. That’s certainly true, but there were plenty more ups than downs. He didn’t achieve everything he wanted, but he got a lot done. His city owes him its gratitude.Johnson leaves Sacramento on upswing | The Sacramento Bee:
John Thompson: We Can’t Let Betsy DeVos Destroy Our Public Schools
John Thompson is a teacher and historian in Oklahoma.
As the Daily Oklahoman’s Ben Felder explains, “Education savings accounts (ESAs) and vouchers have not been easy sells, including in the GOP-controlled Oklahoma Legislature.” Until this November, the same argument which defeated vouchers last year would have seemed to be persuasive. Our schools have been clobbered by a 27% decrease in per-student funding and they can’t stand a further reduction. Even a month ago, a grassroots coalition of educators and families appeared ready to send more teachers to the legislature, and to pass SQ 779, which would have raised teachers’ wages.
Then a well-funded and false advertising campaign helped derail the teacher raise, and Betsy DeVos’ the American Federation for Children, “spent nearly $170,000 in Oklahoma campaigns this year, often in opposition to public school teachers who were also running.” So, Felder now reports, “last month’s election results on both the national and state level have some school choice advocates seeing a political opening.” He cites Republican Sen. Kyle Loveless, “‘There is definitely going to be some movement on education savings accounts this next year in Oklahoma … Last year we were a couple of votes short in the Senate but I think we picked those seats up this year.'”
In addition to American Federation of Children’s money, a series of Indiana corporate reformers have repeatedly come to Oklahoma and pushed the DeVos/Trump/Pence agenda. So, it is doubly important that Oklahoma legislators, like their counterparts across the nation, become aware of what former Gov. Mike Pence and the $1.3 million that DeVos and her political action committee poured into Indiana have bought – and at what price.
Chalkbeat Indiana’s Nicholas Garcia, in “Six Things to Know about Indiana’s School Voucher Program, A Possible Model for Ed Sec Nominee Betsy DeVos,” explains that “the number of students using vouchers rose from 3,911 in 2011, when the program launched, to 32,686 in 2016.” Originally, vouchers were pushed as a way to help poor students in failing schools, but “a growing portion of Indiana voucher users are from middle-class families, and growth has been greatest among suburban families.” Now, “60 percent of Indiana voucher users are white, and about 31 percent are from middle-income families — not exactly the student population that struggles most in the state’s schools.”
Even more disturbing is the way that vouchers have grown into a greater threat to the financial stability of schools, “In 2011, just 9 percent of voucher users had never before gone to public school, Chalkbeat reports, “That was true for more than half of students using vouchers in 2016. So, Indiana isn’t offering an escape from failing schools but a subsidy for many who would never attend a public school.