Lisa Haver: Who Elected These Billionaires to Impose Their Half-Baked Views on Our Schools?

By dianeravitch

Lisa Haver is a retired teacher in the Philadelphia public schools and co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.

In this article, she asks who gave the billionaires the right to reorganize our public schools, when none has any knowledge or experience in education.

None of them has a clue about how to teach r how to run a school. Yet people are lining up to get their money.

Who will hold them accountable when their ideas fail, as Bill Gates Common Core failed?

She is thinking now of Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. She is thinking of Laurene Powell Jobs. They know nothing about education.

“Over the past 20 years, education policy has increasingly been enacted not to satisfy the needs of the students and their families, but the wants of the wealthy and powerful who are converting public education from a civic enterprise to a marketplace for edu-vendors: the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has paid to expand charters and lobby for the use of Common Core standards in all 50 states; real estate and insurance mogul Eli Broad now leads a group of corporate funders pushing a plan to move half of all K-12 students in Los Angeles into charter schools; the Walton family has initiated a new $1 billion campaign to promote charters nationwide; Trump financier Carl Icahn has established a chain of charters in New York City.

“No one elected these billionaires, and they are accountable to no one. We can’t call our members of Congress to object to their policies. While Americans continue to condemn the power of the very rich to influence elections, we must also fight to stop them from having more influence over the future of our young people than the constituents of democratically elected school boards.”

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

New York: NYSAPE Blasts New Standards as a Pathetic Compromise

By dianeravitch

The New York State Allies for Public Education–the state’s leaders of the opt out movement–blasted the new standards adopted by the Board of Regents as nothing more than a rebranding of the hated Common Core standards.

A few changes were made in hopes of mollifying critics, but the standards are the same old test-based accountability system. A failed system survives.

“Parents are no longer content with crumbs, baby steps, and the lesser of evils. These are our children and they are running out of time. For many it is already too late. This was a huge opportunity to put New York on the right educational path and once again we chose the path of test-based accountability and standards written without grade-level practitioner expertise. We intend to hold the Regents to their promise that they will continue to revise the Next Generation Learning Standards and add more Opportunity to Learn factors to our accountability system. And we will continue to ensure that schools pay attention to these issues and focus on providing students with what matters: a quality education and a real chance to thrive.”

Go, NYSAPE!

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

New York’s New Standards: Lipstick on a Pig, or a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear, or Common Core Rebranded

By dianeravitch

Bianca Tanis is a parent and teacher in New York, and a member of the board of the New York State Alliance for Parents and Educators.

She reviews the new new new brand-new Next Generation standards of New York State.

There are a few nice tweaks here and there, but overall it is the same old Common Core with a new name.

The most glaring issue is the State’s refusal to veer from the flawed Common Core Anchor Standards. Given what we now know of the Common Core–the lack of grade level practitioner input, the lack of a basis in research, and the lack of any pilots or studies–the commitment to these anchor standards reveals the State’s commitment to a failed reform agenda and a misguided adherence to the belief that “rigor” will ameliorate the impact of poverty, under-funded schools, and institutionalized racism.

For many months, parents and educators have been expressing concerns regarding the PreK-2 standards. These concerns were well-founded. The newly adopted prekindergarten standards require that 3 and 4 year-olds display “emergent reading behaviors with purpose and understanding.” The prekindergarten standards also require that preschoolers make “connections from read-alouds to writing.” I would imagine that nothing kills a 3 or 4 year old’s love being read to than being asked write a reading reflection.

Many young, vulnerable children are being set up for failure. May children will be considered “behind” on day one of kindergarten. These children are not lagging behind according to developmental norms. Rather, they have failed to live up to a standardized expectation that has nothing to do with their needs. Children are meant to move and explore, and sadly these standards ensure an increased focus on direct instruction and rug time.

Universal PreK programs will likely be obligated to adopt these standards, either by future regulation …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Susan Ochshorn: New York Regents Just Threw the Young Children Under the Bus

By dianeravitch

Susan Ochshorn is an expert on early childhood education. She runs an organization called ECE Policy Works. She has been urging the New York Regents to throw out the Common Core standards for young children and replace them with developmentally appropriate standards. They ignored her advice.

She writes here.

We are violating everything that is known, which is considerable, about how children develop and learn best. We are stealing their childhood, robbing them of play, the primary engine of human development.

We have empirical evidence that kindergarten has become the new first grade, and preschool the new kindergarten. Across the country, and in New York, we have relegated play to an hour a day or less for five-year-olds, and a growing number of four-year-olds. One three-year-old I know recently brought home work sheets from her early childhood program.

Children are being assessed at younger and younger ages. We’re condemning them to the tread mill before they can even lace up their running shoes.

This is decidedly not how young children thrive. They learn through play, exploration, inquiry, and movement. It’s absurd to expect them to sit quietly, to passively receive information and regurgitate it back. We talk endlessly about producing critical thinkers, innovators, but we’re eliminating the kind of teaching and learning that nurtures them.

With New York’s Pre-K through 2nd grade standards, early childhood teachers are under massive pressure to get children to meet the benchmarks. Growing numbers are convinced that they’re committing malpractice, that they’re actually doing harm. Many have used the term child abuse.

In measuring young children by these standards, we deny their uniqueness, ignoring their strengths and vulnerabilities. We deny their human right to a rich, joyful educational experience.

New York policymakers are deluded in thinking that their efforts can close …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Testing Expert: The Common Core Would Be Dead Without Continued Gates Funding

By dianeravitch

I have written several books about the rise and fall of fads in education. One that has risen and should have fallen by now is the Common Core. Why does it persist? Trump promised to kill it, but Betsy DeVos has done nothing to discourage states that use it. Many states have rebranded the CC and call it something else like “Florida Standards” or “New Generation Standards.” But it is the same old Common Core.

Richard Phelps, testing expert, explains why the Common Core persists. As long as Bill Gates keeps funding it, it survives. He points out that the Gates Foundation has been the source of funding and advocacy for the Common Core standards. If CC were a normal educational fad, it would have died by now due to overwhelming opposition from parents and its demonstrated ineffectiveness.

But Bill Gates not only funded the creation of the Common Core, he has funded advocacy groups to support it and funded news media to write favorable articles, even if they have to beat the bushes to find a supportive voice.

Gates is not ready to write off his investment yet, as he did with his failed effort to impose cookie-cutter small schools ($2 billion) and his failed effort to evaluate teachers by test scores of students (full cost unknown, but surely hundreds of millions, mostly passed on to taxpayers by embedding the Gates quixotic idea into the Race to the Top).

Yet Common Core lives on, even if on life support. The life support is dollars.

“The amounts are huge. A search in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website for grant awards with the keyword “Common Core” returns 257 results accumulating more than $300 million.
Substituting the Common Core euphemism “college and career readiness” uncovers another $130 million for another 52 …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

John Thompson Reviews John Merrow’s “Addicted to Reform,” and Loves It!

By dianeravitch

John Thompson, historian and teacher in Oklahoma, Reviews John Merrow’s ADDICTED TO REFORM:


In “Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education”, John Merrow lets it all out. Merrow, the winner of the George Polk Award and two George Foster Peabody Awards, leads us down “Memory Lane,” republishing his astonishing journalism that predates “A Nation at Risk,” and its warning against “a rising tide of mediocrity.” He also recalls successful innovators such as James Comer, E.D. Hirsch, Deborah Meier, and Henry Levin.
ADDICTED TO REFORM by John Merrow | Kirkus Reviews
But Merrow shows how high stakes testing dramatically increased our output of mediocre and even worse lessons for our kids. He tells us how the bubble-in reform “mania” got to a point where a principal told his teachers to “motor down,” to stop teaching 11th grade material to high-performing freshmen in order to prepare for the 9th grade test. Even more despicable was cancelling an annual kindergarten play so five-year-olds could spend more time becoming “college and career ready.”

The veteran reporter, with four decades of experience at NPR and PBS, reviews the way that test and punish “went into high gear during [the] Bush and Obama” administrations, when “‘regurgitation education’ became the order of the day.” Accountability-driven, competition-driven reformers turned schools into dreary places for “parroting back answers, while devaluing intellectual curiosity, cooperative learning, projects, field trips, the arts, physical education and citizenship.”

Merrow recalls the legacies of “blindly worshipping test scores.” Under Arne Duncan, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, et. al and with funding by the “Billionaires Boys Club,” test scores became more than “the holy grail.” Merrow concludes, “Test scores are their addiction, the equivalent of crack cocaine, oxycodone, or crystal meth.”

Given Merrow’s influential coverage of corporate reform abuse in Washington D.C., it is no surprise that his …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Master of Disruption Will Speak to National Charter School Conference

By dianeravitch

Clayton Christensen, the leading advocate of DISRUPTION, will address the “National Summit on Education Reform,” sponsored by Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence. He will speak on Thursday November 30 in Nashville, as Jeb’s group celebrates a solid decade of efforts to privatize public education. Don’t expect to see or hear about charter school frauds or the failure of vouchers to improve student test scores or the looting of public funds by virtual charter schools.

If you are going, be sure to read the debunking of disruption by Harvard professor Jill Lepore. She demonstrates that disruption is a fraud, a hoax. Even the business disruptions that Christensen boasts about were actually failures. “Disruption is a theory of change founded on panic, anxiety, and shaky evidence….”

Read Judith Shulevitz’s takedown of disruption in The New Republic, and how it has emboldened those who want to destroy public education and diminish democracy. Eli Broad’s love of disruption produced the failed leadership of Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein.

Shulevitz wrote (in 2013):

“But when Broad’s “change agents” move into the institutions they’ve been taught to shake up, as dozens have now done, we can see how disruption, well, disrupts—not just “the status quo,” but peoples’ lives. Teachers quit en masse or are fired. Nearby schools close, forcing students to travel to distant ones. School boards divide and bicker. Parents picket. Broad-affiliated superintendents all over the country—Atlanta; Philadelphia; Rochester, New York; Sumter, South Carolina—have resigned or been forced out after no-confidence votes, corruption or cheating scandals, or, in one case, the discovery of alleged irregularities with a doctorate degree.”

Bringing a disruptor into your school district is like inviting an arsonist into your home. You will have change aplenty, but you will lose your home and possibly your family.

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Follow the Money: A Handy Guide to Some of the Organizations on the School Choice Gravy Train

By dianeravitch

The One Wisconsin Institute compiled a list of the organizations that have been funded by the far-right Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee. It is a remarkable documentation of the largesse that is showered on advocates for privatization of public schools.

You will notice the relationship with Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children, adding more shekels to the school choice honey pot. DeVos’ AFC has pumped millions of dollars into Wisconsin legislative races to assure that its privatization agenda is protected by the legislature. We are reminded again that our Secretary of Education is an extremist who opposes public schools.

Bradley-funded activities work to prevent any accountability or audits for private schools that receive public funds. And they seek every opportunity to siphon money away from public schools to benefit voucher schools.

Among the notable recipients of Bradley funding:

*American Enterprise Institute (where EdWeek blogger Rick Hess is education director) received $4.3 million from their Bradley paymasters.

*Black Alliance for Educational Options (founded by Howard Fuller) got $1,475,000. BAEO sends speakers to black communities to try to persuade them that charters and vouchers are best for black children. You can be sure that BAEO does not tell its audiences that its activities are funded by a rightwing foundation run by reactionary white men.

*Center for Education Reform, run by former Heritage Foundation aide Jeanne Allen, which exists to smear public schools and promote privatization. 620,000.

*Center for Union Facts, led by PR man Rick Berman, whose goal is to defame teachers’ unions: $1,550,000. About 10 years ago, I attended a meeting of the rightwing Philanthropy Roundtable, where Berman gave a pitch for funding, based on his campaign to demonized the New Jersey Educational Association. When I asked him to explain why the top-performing states are unionized, and the lowest are not, he answered: I …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Here are the Jobs of the Future!

By dianeravitch

An official projection of the new jobs that will be available, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2014-2024.

Notice how few require any post secondary education. Notice that you don’t need a high test score or the Common Core for most of them.

Education raises wages and prospects for the future. But most new jobs are low-wage, low education.

…read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core

Nicholas Tampio: The New York Regents Should Reject the Failed, Renamed Common Core Standards

By dianeravitch

Nicholas Tampio calls on the Regents of the State of New York, the state school board, to reject the rebranded Common Core standards.

Tampio is a professor of political science at Fordham University.

He writes:

“On Sept. 11-12, the New York State Board of Regents will consider adopting the Next Generation Learning Standards for English language arts and mathematics. The standards are nearly identical with the Common Core and keep the features that parents have loudly, and justifiably, protested. New York should not keep wasting time and money on low-quality academic standards. The Regents should vote no on the renamed Common Core standards.

“The New Paltz Board of Education made a public comment describing how the “new” standards are virtually indistinguishable from the Common Core. “Of the 34 ELA anchor standards, 32 are word-for-word identical when compared to the original anchor standard,” the board said.

“Here is the first Next Generation ELA anchor standard: “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” This is the first Common Core anchor standard and the basis of Common Core’s emphasis on “close reading.”

“On assignment after assignment, assessment after assessment, Common Core close reading works the same way. Students provide verbatim evidence from a text to answer questions about the text. As a professor, I know that this pedagogy fails to prepare students for college, and as a parent, I see that it leads to a dreary school day.

“The Common Core standards train children merely to regurgitate other people’s words.

“For instance, the 2017 Regents ELA examination, based on Common Core, asked that students write an essay on whether school recess should be structured play. The exam provided four texts and instructed …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core