Sarah Blaine: How Can We Stop Arne’s Zany Plan to Grade Ed School by the Scores of Students of Their Graduates?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Sarah Blaine, a lawyer who wrote the earlier post explaining the absurdity of Arne Duncan’s plan to grade colleges of education in relation to the test scores of the students taught by their graduates, here responds to a question about the possibility of litigation. By the way, if you want to comment on Arne’s plan, here is where you write:

Sarah Blaine writes:

There’s a lot to be said for impact litigation, and if someone offered me the opportunity for employment working on meaningful anti-reform education-related impact litigation, I’d be the first to say yes. Education Law Center in NJ, for instance, has done great work over the years, but they’re one tiny organization (and they haven’t offered me a job). And funding is a huge issue here — impact litigation isn’t cheap, and while I do my blogging for free, I do need to earn a living from my…

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Teachable Moment

We, as educators, are obligated to have these discussions in our classrooms, not after school. I appreciate the forum after school, and I appreciate the treacherous waters you navigate, appeasing administrators, parents, etc., but I still think it needs to be said. These are the discussions that improve ourselves, our culture, and our democracy, and they should be at the forefront of what we spend our time on. Having them after school is a second best alternative. If this isn’t “core curriculum”, I don’t know what is.

Movement of Rank and File Educators


By Mr. S (Brooklyn high school teacher)

After the grand jury decision was released on the Mike Brown case and following the protests that have taken place in New York, a few of the teachers decided we have to do something. Actually the decision to do something about racism began a few years ago when teaching my criminal law class a young lady broke down and began crying about how she was stopped and frisked on a regular basis. From that moment until now we have been struggling with what we can do to try to bring some racial justice to our school, our city, our world.

This past Thursday, the day after the grand jury decision in the Garner case was announced, we decided to have an after-school discussion where our students were welcome to express their feeling on recent events in Staten Island, Ferguson, and their thoughts on…

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Anthony Cody: The Scary Revival of Eugenics

Shocking. I didn’t see that coming. But I should have. It’s a continuation of the fascism theme that keeps emerging in the rhetoric and actions of the corporate “reformers”and their government allies.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody is rightly concerned about an article in the Néw York Tomes proposing the use of genetics to identify which students need which interventions.

As he observes, eugenics has an ugly history. In the early decades of the twentieth century, some of our leading intellectuals became enthusiastic about the idea that the human race could be improved if we applied the same principles used in breeding animals to the breeding of people. Those of high intelligence and character should marry and reproduce, while those who were of low intelligence should be discouraged from reproducing, even sterilized to prevent them from doing so. That was the moral of the famous story of the Jukes and the Kallikaks. That cautionary tale was included in high school textbooks as late as the 1950s (I know because I read those textbooks in high school).

Now, as Cody writes, eugenics is presented as…

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The Simplest and Most Obvious Incontrovertible Reason to Oppose Common Core



Spoiler alert: Its money. And ownership …of our children, our schools, and our democracy.

There’s a lot of critical critiques of Common Core pertaining to the content itself. Examples of ridiculous math samples and interpretations of social studies hidden curriculum abound on Facebook and blogs. I have no intention to dispute the opinions of people who find the content questionable, even if I don’t always agree. I am not offended by words like “equity” and “diversity” in the new standards, nor are my children personally struggling with the new math methods. But I oppose CCSS vehemently nevertheless. Liking or disliking particular standards, language, or strategies is not a solid ground on which we can create a unified front to fight Common Core. I know many highly qualified good teachers and parents who like some of the standards. I know other highly qualified good teachers and parents who hate them. These…

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Albuquerque: Parent Speaks Out Against Testing Despite Efforts to Silence Her (and Teachers)

I think it’s critical that parents become informed and empowered about this issue. I’m sure the majority of parents appreciated what was said and many likely left with a raised awareness. School boards could be holding parent meetings to share the pros and cons of standardized testing. PTA’s certainly should be. And if they don’t, we should act alone like the woman in New Mexico. Enduring a little social awkwardness is well worth the ultimate result- if we do the work, positive change will win out.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This letter arrived in my email from a professor at the University of New Mexico who is deeply disturbed by the over-testing of her children. The president of the local PTA did not want her to speak, she said. Even more shocking was her statement that teachers had to sign a pledge promising not to say anything negative to parents about the PARCC test or to disparage testing in general. I don’t know why, but I was reminded of the loyalty oaths that many teachers were compelled to sign during the McCarthy era in the late 1940s and early 1950s, to “prove” that they were not Communists.





Albuquerque PTA Smackdown





This is a redacted version of the talk I attempted to deliver at my children’s Elementary School PTA meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.


The former PTA…

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The Educational Delusional Scheme



Here lies public education

A guest post by Dr. Denise Gordon                                  November 22, 2014

I write this short essay to disclose what is happening within my own science classroom, I write to expose the demeaning work environment that I and my fellow colleagues must endure, and I write to give purpose to my years of acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge in teaching science for the secondary student. I am not a failure; however, by the Texas STAAR standard assessment test, I am since this past year I had a 32% failure rate from my 8th grade students in April, 2014. The year before, my students had an 82% passing rate.

What happened in one school year? It does not matter that 2/3 of the student population speaks Spanish in their home. It does not matter their reading capability could be on a 4th grade level. It does not matter homework never…

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