School Choice

Charter Schools Will Always Waste Money Because They Duplicate Services – Education Article

 You can’t save money buying more of what you already have.   Constructing two fire departments serving the same community will never be as cheap as having one.   Empowering two police departments to patrol the same neighborhoods will never be as economical as one.   Building two roads parallel to each other that go to exactly the same places will never be as cost effective as one.   This isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, it’s an axiom of…

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Busing and School Segregation Used for Politics not Policy – Education Article

 If children of all races went to the same schools with each other, it would be harder to treat them unequally.   Moreover, it would be harder for them to grow up prejudiced because they would have learned what it’s like to have classmates who are different from them.   And though most people agree with these premises in principle, our laws still refuse to make them a reality in fact.   Perhaps that’s why it was so astounding when…

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Top 10 Reasons Bernie Sanders’ Education Policies Are Light Years Ahead of Everyone Else’s – Education Article

    For most of my life, the United States has been neglecting its public school children – especially the black and brown ones.   Since the mid 1970s, instead of integrating our schools, we’ve been slowly resegregating them on the basis of race and social class.   Since the 1980s, instead of measuring academic success by the satisfaction of an individuals curiosity and authentic learning, we’ve been slowly redefining it to mean nothing but achievement on standardized tests.  …

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Charter School Lobbyist Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally – Education Article

  The biggest news from Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Oakland, California, on Friday wasn’t what she said.  It was who introduced her and what that says about Warren and her 2020 Presidential campaign.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Warren was introduced by Sonya Mehta, a former Oakland schoolteacher.”  However, this characterization is inaccurate.  Mehta was not an authentic public school teacher. She taught in a non-union charter school called “Learning Without Limits.” She also was a policy fellow at…

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My New Book Was Just Announced! – Education Article

I am very excited! My new book was just announced! The title is: SLAYING GOLIATH: The Impassioned Fight to Defeat the Privatization Movement and to Save America’s Public Schools.  It will be published on January 14, 2020, by Knopf, the most prestigious publisher in America. The editor is the brilliant Victoria Wilson, who is also an author, having written the definitive biography of Barbara Stanwyck. In Slaying Goliath, you will read about the heroes of the Resistance, those who stood up to…

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Can NOLA’s return to a locally run district curb charter school corruption? – Education Article

Arise Academy in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward is part of the city’s diffuse network of nearly 80 charter schools. Photo: Cheryl Gerber for The Hechinger Report NEW ORLEANS — Frank Rabalais had big plans for the school just around the corner from his house in Gentilly Terrace, a leafy neighborhood that is one the most racially and socioeconomically diverse corners of the city. In 2016, Rabalais, a well-connected, self-described charter school proponent, had learned that the Gentilly Terrace Elementary School…

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Charter Schools Are Quietly Gobbling Up My Public School District
 – Education Article

  I work in a little suburban school district just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that is slowly being destroyed by privatization.   Steel Valley Schools have a proud history.   We’re located (in part) in Homestead – the home of the historic steel strike of 1892.   But today it isn’t private security agents and industrial business magnates against whom we’re struggling.   It’s charter schools, voucher schools and the pro-corporate policies that enable them to pocket tax dollars meant…

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Pittsburgh School Board Candidate Anna Batista Takes Big Money From Special Interests – Education Article

  Meanwhile, her opponent Pam Harbin, a public school watchdog, is supported almost exclusively by grassroots donations.     Both candidates are running for District 4, which serves parts of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Shadyside and North Oakland. Since they’ve cross filed and will appear on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots, the seat should be decided in the May 21 primary.   Batista and Harbin have raised similar amounts for their campaigns. Harbin has $33,412.95 while Batista has…

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Diane Ravitch’s New Book is a Fun and Breezy Romp Through the Maze of School Policy – Education Article

Imagine you could talk with Diane Ravitch for 10 to 15 minutes everyday.  That’s kind of what reading her new book, “The Wisdom and the Witt of Diane Ravitch”, is like.  You’ve probably heard of Ravitch before.   She’s the kindly grandmother you see on the news who used to think standardized tests and school privatization were the way to go but actually had the courage to pull an about face.   She’s that rare thing in public policy –…

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Schools That Hinder Opt Outs Are Participating in Their Own Demise – Education Article

You can’t be a public school and still ignore the will of the people.   That’s the problem at too many districts across the country where narrow-minded administrators are waging an all out war on parents opting their children out of standardized testing.   The federal government still requires all states to give high stakes tests to public school students in grades 3-8 and once in high school. So states require their districts to give the tests – despite increasing…

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The Forgotten Disaster of America’s First Standardized Test – Education Article

  The merry-go-round of history continues to spin because the riders forget they are free to get off at any time.   But we rarely do it. We keep to our seats and commit the same stupid mistakes over and over again.   Take high stakes standardized testing.   It was a disaster the very first time it was attempted in America – in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1845.   Yet we continue to prescribe the same error to students in…

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Classroom Teachers are the Real Scholastic Experts – Not Education Journalists – Education Article

  When you want an expert on health, you go to a doctor.   When you want an expert on law, you go to a lawyer.   So why is it that when the news media wants an expert on education they go to… themselves!?   That’s right. Education journalists are talking up a storm about schools and learning.   You’ll find them writing policy briefs, editorials and news articles. You’ll find them being interviewed about topics like class size,…

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The Best School Innovation Would Be More People – Education Article

  Public schools thrive on innovation.   In nearly every classroom around the country you’ll find teachers discovering new ways to reach students and foster skills, understanding and creativity.   But if you pan out to the macro level, the overwhelming majority of innovations aren’t organic. They’re imposed on us by bureaucrats and functionaries from outside the classroom:   Education Technologies.   School privatization.   Standardized tests and Common Core.   For the last two decades, these are the kinds…

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On Nobel Prizes That Do Not Yet Exist and Other Exciting Matters – Top Performers – Education Article

First, a shout-out to Hank Levin, who wrote me to point out that, in attributing a Nobel Prize in Economics to Nikolai Kondratieff in a recent blog, I awarded him a prize that did not yet exist when he died.  That was embarrassing.  I work hard to be accurate in these pages, but now a whopper like that gets through. Mike Petrilli picked up on my recent blog on system gateways and honesty in setting education goals in his most…

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As LA Teachers Strike Over Charter Schools, Democrat Cory Booker Speaks at Pro-Charter Rally – Education Article

  What a slap in the face!     In California, 30,000 Los Angeles teachers are on strike because charter schools are gobbling up their funding without providing the same level of quality services or accountability.     Meanwhile in New Orleans, Sen. Cory Booker is giving the keynote address at a charter school rally.     That wouldn’t be surprising if Booker was a Republican.     Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a big time champion of…

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Billionaire Heiress Lashes Out at Unions Because Her Fortune Didn’t Buy Election – Education Article

  Betsy DeVos is furious!   She and her family spent boatloads of money this election cycle and few of their candidates won.   Instead, lawmakers were largely selected by these things called… ew… voters.   She was so enraged that she used her platform as Secretary of Education – another prudent purchase by her family – to lash out at teachers unions for – get this – having too much influence!!!!!   She told Fox Business Network:   “The…

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