Betsy DeVos

Pennsylvania Wants YOU to Give Standardized Tests to Your Kids at Home – Education Article

    A multi-million dollar corporation wants to make sure Pennsylvania’s children keep getting standardized tests.  Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) and the state Department of Education are providing the optional Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) assessments for use in students’ homes.     Students are not required to take the CDT in the Commonwealth unless their district decides to give it. The test is encouraged by the state as a way of telling how students will do on the required tests.…

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Why High Stakes Testing Was Cancelled This Year (and Probably Will Be Next Year, Too) – Education Article

 There are at least two silver linings to the current Coronavirus catastrophe for education.   One – with nearly all public schools closed, March was the first month since 2002 without a school shooting.   Two – districts nationwide cancelled high stakes standardized tests in April and May.   Taken together, these are two victories that no one could have predicted before November.   Gun safety restrictions remain laughably lax in the US compared to the rest of the world.…

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The Internet is NOT the Best Place for Kids to Learn After the Coronavirus Pandemic – Education Article

 If the Coronavirus quarantine has taught educators one thing, it’s this.   Online learning is not better than in-person schooling.   After all these years of corporations throwing apps at us and well-meaning administrators providing us with devices and philanthrocapitalists pumping billions of dollars into ed tech first academic schemes, we can all see now that the emperor has no clothes.   When schools nationwide are closed to stop the spread of a global pandemic and learning is restricted to…

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Mike Turzai is Willing to Sacrifice Pennsylvania’s Students and Families to the Economy – Education Article

 Mike Turzai says he’s furious with Pedro Rivera.   Why is the highest ranking Republican in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives so angry with the state Secretary of Education?   Rivera said the Commonwealth’s public schools, which have been closed since mid March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, would not reopen until it was safe to do so.   If that means schools don’t reopen on time in the Fall, so be it.   Specifically, on Wednesday, Rivera said:   “At…

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HBO’s “Bad Education” Aims at Public School Theft While Ignoring More Frequent Fraud at Charter Schools & Testing Companies – Education Article

 “Bad Education” is a frustrating movie to watch as a public school teacher.   It does a fine job telling the true story of a wealthy New York district where administrators stole millions of dollars for themselves.   But it ignores the far more frequent waste and malfeasance caused by school privatization, high stakes testing and runaway ed tech.   Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but there is no subject more political than public schools.   During the current Coronavirus…

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Adventures in Online Teaching: Reinventing the Wheel for a Handful of Students – Education Article

 Today in our ZOOM meeting, one of my students tried to get one over on me.   I sat at the bureau in my guest bedroom, surveying a gallery of 7th grade faces lined up in little boxes on my laptop like the opening scene of the Brady Bunch.   Lilly was lying on her bed face up, almost definitely scrolling on her cell phone.   Pha’rrel was eating a cookie as he tried to fit his overgrown curls under…

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You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy – Education Article

    It’s okay if a few children die to start up the economy.   That is literally the opinion being offered by media influencers and policymakers as Coronavirus social distancing efforts continue passed the 30-day mark.   In the midst of a global pandemic, we’ve closed down all nonessential businesses while people self quarantine at home waiting for the curve of infection to plateau and then drop off. Medical experts tell us this is the only way to ensure…

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Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 General Election – Education Article

 With Bernie Sanders dropping out of the 2020 Democratic Primary, I can think of only these 10 reasons to vote for Joe Biden in the November general election:   10) He’s not Donald Trump. 9) He’s not Donald Trump. 8) He’s not Donald Trump. 7) He’s not Donald Trump. 6) He’s not Donald Trump. 5) He’s not Donald Trump. 4) He’s not Donald Trump. 3) He’s not Donald Trump. 2) He’s not Donald Trump. 1) He’s not Donald Trump.  …

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The First Taste is Free: Ed Tech Follows Drug Dealer Sales Techniques with Schools During Coronavirus Crisis – Education Article

  “Pst! Hey, Kid! Come here!”   Educational technologies are a multi-billion dollar industry.   “Who? Me?”   The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools across the globe, and districts have tried to solve this problem by putting their classes online.   “Yeah, you. I’ve got some… candy I want to give you.”   Nearly every ed tech company has offered help with this processes.  “Oh boy! I sure love candy… Wait a minute! How much does it cost?”   Teachers,…

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How Did America’s Schools Cope with Spanish Flu vs. Coronavirus? – Education Article

  They say history repeats itself.   And if you’ve read any accounts of the bygone days of yesteryear, the current crisis certainly appears like a rerun.   Look at all the closed businesses, frightened people venturing out wearing face masks or self quarantined in their homes. It sure looks a lot like 1918.   The Spanish Flu epidemic that swept the nation a little more than a century ago bares more than a passing resemblance to COVID-19, the coronavirus.…

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Virtual Learning Through Quarantine Will Leave Poor and Disabled Students Behind – Education Article

    In the wake of the coronavirus crisis with most people self quarantined at home, schools across the country are shut down.   Some offer (or are considering offering) distance learning over the Internet.   However, this poses problems.   Not all student services can be provided via computer.   And not all students even have a computer, online compatible device or Internet access.   Should our nation’s public schools soldier on anyway and provide some kind of learning…

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Public Schools Can Recover from the COVID-19 Quarantine by Skipping High Stakes Tests – Education Article

 There is one plus from being sick during a global pandemic.   You get perspective.   While all the schools in Pennsylvania are closed for at least the next two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (colloquially known as the Coronavirus), I self-quarantined a day early.   No, I don’t think I have the virus, but I’m not taking any chances.   Still, sitting here at my laptop with a steaming mug of tea, I’m filled with optimism.…

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Fred Klonsky: Erik Prince’s Long History Spying on Americans – Education Article

Fred Klonsky, retired teacher in Illinois, recounts Erik Prince’s long history of engaging in espionage against his fellow citizens. Erik Prince recruits CIA and British spies to spy on us for Donald Trump. He writes: The story in the Times details how Prince recruited ex-U.S. and British spies to infiltrate organizations including, but not even closely limited to, teacher unions. Erik Prince is Betsy DeVos’ brother. DeVos is Trump’s Secretary of Education. Devos also has close ties to many Michigan-based right-wing,…

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The Coronavirus Could Be A Big Moneymaker for EdTech Companies – Education Article

 There is a special place in Hell for people who cash in on tragedy.   But that place is reserved for the super rich – and that’s all that matters in Donald Trump’s America.   Federal officials are urging schools to prepare for possible disruptions due to the coronavirus – a disease that originated in China last month and has affected more than 77,000 people worldwide (of which more than 2,600 have died).   Only 14 people have been infected…

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Did Rosa Parks Really Support Charter Schools? – Education Article

  They say history is written by the victors.   But fortunes change, and sometimes you can even reclaim a figure from the past who the last round of winners had cast in an unlikely role.   Take Rosa Parks.   She is universally hailed as a hero of the civil rights movement because of her part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.   Everyone knows the story. Parks, a black seamstress in Alabama, refused to give up her seat to…

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Who Will Protect My Right NOT to Pay for Your Child’s Religious Education? – Education Article

    When I was a kid back in middle school, I had a crush on this girl, let’s call her Patty.     She wasn’t the most popular or beautiful girl in class, but I kinda’ liked her.       Of course, she had no idea I was alive.     Or so I thought, until one day she walked straight up to my desk and started rubbing my hair.     I was shocked at first, but…

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