Michigan: A Textbook Example of How NOT to Reform Schools

Classrooms as petri dishes…ugh.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Martin Levine, writing in the Nonprofit Quarterly, explains that the example of Michigan is strong evidence that Betsy DeVos’ plans to impose choice will harm education.

Before launching a huge new initiative, it is important to have trials and see how things work out. That is why the Common Core failed. Its advocates were so eager to shove it into every state that they couldn’t take the time to see how it worked in reality, in real classrooms with real teachers and real students. They didn’t have time for feedback from practitioners. They had no idea how it would work out. And it blew up in their faces.

Martin Levine says look at Michigan if you want to know how school choice and characterizing works.

Michigan has allowed market forces to replace the planning and oversight roles for which government was traditionally responsible. Control of public education was moved from…

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The MAP Test Just Took a Creepy Turn

Seattle Education

Original Title: And You Thought Standardized Tests Were Bad. Reposted with permission from Save Maine Schools – Helping You Navigate Next-Gen Ed Reform.

Another Brick in the Wall

NWEA recently received an award from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning for this feature, which not only claims to know who is disengaged based on how quickly they are clicking through the test, but all sorts of other things about the child’s psyche.

Yesterday afternoon, in eighty degree heat, my fourth graders took the first of the six “NWEA MAP” assessments that they will sit for this year.

The MAP test (which stands for “Measure of Academic Progress”) is often considered to be the lesser of evils when it comes to standardized testing: scores show up immediately after a student finishes testing, and it purports to measure “growth” rather than how a child stacks up against grade-level standards.

Results often make zero sense (how…

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Writing when everything is in upheaval

Live to Write - Write to Live

I’m a happy sort of writer. I write about parenting, puppies, chickens, family and the life lessons I learn.  For the most part I’m an optimist, I have always believed in the goodness of the world.

But these days it’s difficult to write happy when I’m so angry and discouraged.

Never have I felt so unsettled in my life. Never have I used some words with the frequency that I have in the past few months.  (Let’s just say that the Swear Jar my kids made as a joke right after the election is seeing a lot of action.)

This is not an anti-Trump rant (although I blame him for much of it) it’s an anti-world rant. The entire world is in upheaval. Governments are being taken over, attacks are being carried out, and people are dying because they are protesting. Heck, these days athletes are being called sons of…

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Do Guns Win Elections? Not So Far This Year.

Earlier this year a special election to fill the Montana House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke created something of a dilemma for gun violence prevention (GVP) advocates because the Democratic candidate, Rob Quist, ran a series of television ads using a rifle to destroy a likeness of his Republican opponent, Greg Gianforte, who was running ads stating that Quist was ‘soft’ on gun ‘rights.’ No surprise, the NRA endorsed Gianforte for the seat which he comfortably won, and the fact that Quist had earlier made a foolish remark about backing a ‘national’ gun registry (actually he didn’t know what he was talking about) may have contributed a bit to the margin of Gianforte’s win.

strange2             Until the gun issue reared its ugly head, liberals both within and without Montana had no trouble supporting Quist.  He was in favor of universal health care and expanding social security, both of…

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John Dewey, Paul Wellstone… and Betsy DeVos?


Betsy DeVos has weakened, through rule changes, protection for the victims of campus sexual assault, reduced protections for transgender youths, shortened and made more superficial the investigations of civil rights complaints, and reduced some of Obama’s sanctions against for-profit colleges. There also seem to be changes coming in the administration of student loans. But as far as the operation and funding of K-12 public schools, she hasn’t been able to move major changes through Congress.

I would argue, however, that the most serious damage she is inflicting is her use of her power as Secretary of Education to undermine the philosophy of education most of us have merely assumed was true, because it has always been the explanation we’ve heard as the reason for public schools. Most of us can’t articulate that philosophy because we’ve merely taken it for granted.

Here are two simple statement, by experts, of what most…

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Trump Administration Hires Israeli Military Contractors to Build U.S.-Mexico Border Wall: One of those Israeli companies has ties to West Michigan

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would award millions of dollars in contracts to fulfill President Donald Trump’s ominous promise to expand the wall at the Mexico/U.S. border. These contracts are going to Israeli companies, as was reported by the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign

The BDS campaign reported:

Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary, Elta North America, has been awarded a contract worth up to $500,000 to build prototypes for the wall on the Mexico/U.S. border, while the U.S. subsidiary of the Israeli security and surveillance company Elbit Systems has received its third contract to build the U.S. border wall and to militarize the border area.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded Elbit Systems a $145 million contract to erect and maintain surveillance towers along the Arizona/Sonora (Mexico) border. Already in 2006, Elbit had been subcontracted by Boeing to provide…

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