Eric Brandon: Robot Teachers for the Masses

Eric Brandon: Robot Teachers for the Masses

by dianeravitch

Reader Eric Brandon posted a comment about the Zuckerbergs’ funding of online education. As I have noted in many posts recently, the U.S. Department of Education and many vendors are promoting online education, online testing, and other ways to increase technology in the classroom.

He writes that reading on paper is better than reading online. This has been my own personal experience. I have long been an avid consumer of NAEP reports, for example. I used to study each page with care. Now that the NAEP reports are available only online, not on paper, I find it difficult to find information unless I know exactly what to ask for. I have also had trouble reading on e-machines. I sometimes flip 40-50 pages by mistake and have trouble returning to the page I wanted. But more important, there is something about the online experience of print that is not as satisfying as reading on paper. Maybe ten or twenty years from now, no one will read anything on paper and comments like mine will be lost and forgotten.

Brandon writes:

There is….strong evidence that reading on paper is better for students (and their eyes) than reading on screens. I find that I get a bit lost when reading a book on an e-reader when compared to a paper book. I can’t remember what I read and where to find it as well.

And a very exclusive Silicon Valley school does not allow computers in the classroom.

Machine learning and robot teachers for the masses; paper books and human teachers for the wealthy.

Source: Eric Brandon: Robot Teachers for the Masses

We Have A Choice: Get Rid Of Violence Or Get Rid Of Guns.

I want to follow up the blog I just posted with a comment about the nature of gun violence – what it is and what it isn’t.  And I want to write this as a response to another Big Lie promoted endlessly by Gun Nation, namely, the idea that guns don’t kill people, it’s people who kill people.  And the way that Gun Nation promotes and justifies this Big Lie is to just as endlessly promote the notion that just about everyone who gets killed with a gun is either shot by a maniac, a home-grown terrorist or the favorite shooter-personality of all, the ‘street thug.’

conference-program-pic              It’s the caricature of guns always being used by drug dealers and gang-bangers which shows up again and again in attempts by Gun Nation to spread the gospel of the ‘armed citizen’ as our first line of defense against crime. This started with…

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School Funding, Residual Budgeting, and Kansas


If you live in Ohio, and if you were paying attention during the 1990s, the decade of decisions and appeals of the DeRolph school funding case, you understand the concept of residual budgeting.  School funding in Ohio, the plaintiff’s attorneys explained again and again, is a mere budgetary residual. The legislators calculate the pot of tax money available this year; then they look at what they spent on education last year; then they divide available revenue  up across all the functions of government including education—usually making sure they don’t spend too much less on education than last year unless there is a budgetary emergency.  Any year’s state budget allocation doesn’t necessarily reflect what services are really needed, nor does it demonstrate an investigation of what different programs cost. In fact, because last year’s funding is usually the baseline, and because last year’s funding was likely way too low, the school…

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DFER loves Hillary, ’nuff said

Seattle Education

If, as an education advocate, you were on the fence as a Democrat on who to vote for during this Presidential primary, look no further.

By the way, DFER loved Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel as well as Hillary Clinton.

Vote with checkmark

From the Gadfly on the Wall Blog:

Charter School Champion Hates Bernie Sanders, Prefers Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders doesn’t like charter schools enough.

To me that’s an endorsement.

But to Shavar Jeffries, it’s a condemnation.

Jeffries took to the pages of the New York Daily News to decry Sanders position and champion Hillary Clinton’s.

Jeffries is the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), a hedge fund front promoting the privatization of public education.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t represent the views of most Democrats. It represents the neoliberal branch of the party that has heavily influenced the education policy of Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, Cory Booker…

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Weekend Edition – 3 Steps to Your Perfect Writing Life

Live to Write - Write to Live

Image from Image from

Do you remember the first time you wrote? I don’t mean the first time you formed the letters of the alphabet or wrote your name. I mean the first time you sat down alone and wrote something all your own. Do you remember what  you wrote, why you wrote it, or what it felt like to put words – your words – down on the page? Did you have any idea then that you would keep writing – day after day, year after year?

Today marks thirty-nine years, one month, and thirteen days since I wrote my first journal entry. I was seven years-old at the time, and the words I chose for the first page of my first notebook were not my own. They were Shakespeare’s. I copied his poem Fairy’s Song from my Read Me a Poem children’s anthology. (Even then I was a stickler…

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CTU. Send lawyers, money. No guns.

Fred Klonsky

In the shitty excuse for investigative journalism, yesterday’s alleged expose of CTU money, The Chicago Sun-Times focused on union money spent on the union’s law firm.

Since Lewis and her team took over the union’s leadership in June 2010, Robin Potter & Associates has been paid more than $1 million to handle discrimination cases and other matters involving teachers.

In 2013-14, the union paid more than $1.2 million to Robin Potter and two other law firms: $361,159 to Robin Potter; $500,201 to Dowd, Bloch & Bennett, for bargaining issues; and 361,958 to Poltrock & Poltrock, for employment law issues, the records show. It spent another $241,536 on in-house lawyers.

“What does the union need lawyers for?” asked a reader.

I could give you a list a mile long.

For example.

Years ago our little Park Ridge union local wanted to publish a newsletter that featured examples of the great teaching…

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