Politicians Are Discovering They Can No Longer Ignore Charter School Outrages


In Wednesday’s Washington Post‘s Laura Meckler traces fading support for charter schools among Democrats who are running for President:

“Democrats have long backed charter schools as a politically safe way to give kids at low-performing schools more options… The presidential contest is proof that’s no longer the case. If the candidates say anything about charter schools, it’s negative… Instead, the Democratic candidates are pitching billions of dollars in new federal spending for schools and higher pay for teachers, with few of the strings attached that marked the Obama-era approach to education. It adds up to a sea change in Democratic thinking, back to a more traditional Democratic approach emphasizing funding for education and support for teachers and local schools.”

Except that major political change is excruciatingly slow and difficult.  And, in education, the policy that most directly affects schools happens in state legislatures, where the American Legislative Exchange Council…

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How To Profit From Your Nonprofit Charter School

THIS DAY IN HISTORY June 27, 1954: Elected Guatemalan Leader Overthrown in CIA-Backed Coup

Gloriosa Victoria

This painting by Diego Rivera, “Gloriosa Victoria,” tells the story of the 1954 overthrow of the democratically-elected Jacobo Arbenz government. Coup Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas greets secretary of state John Foster Dulles, who holds a bomb with the face of Eisenhower, surrounded by people who were murdered in the coup. To his left is U.S. ambassador John Peurifoy with military officers and CIA director Allen W. Dulles whispering in his brother’s ear. On the right, the archbishop of Guatemala, Mariano Rossell Arellano, blesses the act, while Guatemalans protest.

#tdih 1954 Democratically elected Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was deposed in a CIA-sponsored coup to protect United Fruit Company profits. What followed was decades of brutal U.S.-backed regimes who committed torture and genocide — with a direct connection to the desperate conditions that force people to flee today. Mural by Diego Rivera. Read more on link below

June 27, 1954: Elected Guatemalan Leader Overthrown in CIA-Backed Coup

After the Confession: How Will They Fix the Damage Done to Public Schools?

by Nancy Bailey

Nick Hanauer is described as “founder of the public-policy incubator Civic Ventures.” His piece in The Atlantic called “Better Public Schools Won’t Fix America,” is an admission that the corporate message we’ve heard for years that schools will fix the problems of the economy and society is false. Most of us knew this. Here is […]

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West Virginia Invests in Public Schools… But Will Now Add Charter Schools


Until this week, West Virginia was one of a handful of states which had never experimented with school privatization.  But on Monday night, the West Virginia Senate adopted an omnibus education bill passed a week ago by the West Virginia House of Delegates.  Governor Jim Justice has said he will sign the bill.  The bill includes a raise for teachers, but it also introduces privately operated charter schools into West Virginia for the first time.

Some History

The debate has been long and contentious.  It began in February of 2018, when school teachers across the entire state of West Virginia walked out over the conditions in their public schools and their low pay, which has been driving fine teachers out of the profession and away from the state. With that statewide strike, West Virginia’s public school teachers launched the #RedforEd movement that swept across Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Denver, Los Angeles…

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Beto O’Rourke Adds High-Ranking Obama ED Official to His Campaign Staff

Good grief.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Beto O’Rourke has beefed up his campaign staff with the addition of Carmel Martin, who was Assistant Secretary for Budget and Policy in the Department of Education during the Obama administration.

Martin is a supporter of high-stakes testing and charter schools.

When my book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, was published, she joined me on a panel at the Economic Policy Institute, where she defended Race to the Top.

It will be interesting to hear what Beto’s education policy is, if he moves above 5% in the polls.

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DeVos Hires Advocate for For-Profit Colleges to Oversee Higher Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

Add this item to the Department of Unbelievable.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has hired an advocate of for-profit colleges to oversee higher education for the federal government. DeVos, of course, is known to have invested in for-profit education.

Depending on whom you ask, Diane Auer Jones has returned to the Education Department with either a mission or a vengeance…

Now, as the chief architect of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s higher education agenda, Ms. Jones is leading the charge to overhaul the accreditation system, and, to critics, revive the fortunes of for-profit organizations that operate low-quality education programs that have a track record of shortchanging students and taxpayers.

Jones is in charge of writing new rules for accrediting agencies that oversee higher education.

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Mercedes Schneider: 49% of NOLA Charter “Graduates” Lacked Credits to Graduate

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider Reports the story of the New Orleans charter school that awarded diplomas to its seniors, but had to revoke 49% of them after a whistleblower pointed out that these students lacked the credits needed to graduate. 

She writes:

Just shy of half of the Class of 2019 at John F. Kennedy High School at Lake Area did not meet graduation requirements and are therefore not eligible to receive the diplomas that they may have expected to receive when they participated in a graduation ceremony on May 17, 2019. (I write “may have expected” because at the time of the ceremony, both students and the general public knew the school was under investigation for grade fixing.)

That’s 87 out of 177 graduates, or 49 percent (which, by the way, indicates a four-year graduation rate that is at best 51 percent.)

Scandals like this do not begin and end…

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Skepticism Grows About High-Stakes, Test Based School Accountability and Privatization


Nick Hanauer’s confession that neoliberal, “corporate accountability” school reform doesn’t work is not entirely surprising to me.  After all, No Child Left Behind was left behind several years ago.

And Daniel Koretz, the Harvard University expert on our 25 year experiment with high stakes, test-based accountability, says: “It’s no exaggeration to say that the costs of test-based accountability have been huge. Instruction has been corrupted on a broad scale. Large amounts of instructional time are now siphoned off into test-prep activities that at best waste time and at worst defraud students and their parents… The primary benefit we received in return for all of this was substantial gains in elementary school math that don’t persist until graduation.”(The Testing Charade, p 191)

Nick Hanauer is a smart venture capitalist who has been paying attention, so it isn’t so surprising he has noticed that we still have enormous gaps in…

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY June 23, 1968: The Poor People’s Campaign Ended

Ralph Abernathy, Mel Thom and others on the Ministers’ March. In the NMAAHC exhibit, © Laura Jones

On June 23, 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival convened at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. for a Rally to Fight Poverty Not the Poor, after 40 days of peaceful protests and actions.

For more information on the 2018 Rally and the Poor People’s Campaign.

For photos of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.