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.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY June 23, 1988: James Hansen Testified to Congress about Climate Change

Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet. …the dirtiest trick that governments play on their citizens is that they are working for ‘clean coal.’ …The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. — James Hansen

On June 23, 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified to Congress stating the greenhouse effect had been detected, indicating that the climate was in fact changing.

Hansen was also arrested on this day in 2009 during a protest against mountaintop removal mining at Massey Energy Company.

Here are resources for teaching about coal and climate justice.



THIS MONTH IN HISTORYJune 2010: Haitian Farmers Burn “Gift” of Monsanto Seeds

#ThisMonthinHistory June, 2010: Not long after the devastating 2010 earthquake, farmers in Haiti burned 400 tons of Monsanto “gift” seeds in a protest led by groups affiliated with La Via Campesina. Why? Read ⬇️ and find a free classroom lesson on La Via Campesina.

Opinion by Thomas C. Pedroni: Whitmer misguided in Benton Harbor crisis

Benton Harbor High School students gather in front of the high school in Benton Harbor, Mich., Tuesday, June 11, 2019, during an annual Peace Walk held at the end of the school year.  A southwestern Michigan school board has released a plan aimed at keeping the district's high school open and avoiding a state-threatened shutdown of the struggling district.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in over her head in Benton Harbor Area Schools. Suddenly, though, our fledgling governor is waking up to the reality that she is alienating the very demographic — black and progressive voters — who just seven months ago propelled her to the state’s highest office.

Earlier this month community educational advocates from predominately black districts across the state gathered in Benton Harbor to express support for the district’s families, encouraging the BHAS elected board to remain steadfast in its refusal to endorse the governor’s “proposal.” They highlighted the harm inflicted by previous state strong-arming in Inkster, Buena Vista, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Saginaw, Detroit and Albion. Many reserved special animus for a governor who had campaigned on a promise to buoy education and protect local communities from the type of state meddling engaged in by her gubernatorial predecessors.


Why is Common Core’s Phonics Missing in Reading and Dyslexia Discussions?

by Nancy Bailey

Those who claim teachers and their education schools have focused on the wrong way to teach reading never mention Common Core State Standards. But, since 2010, Common Core has figured prominently in the reading curriculum teachers have been forced to teach. If students are showing increased reading problems, shouldn’t the English Language Arts standards be […]

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via Why is Common Core’s Phonics Missing in Reading and Dyslexia Discussions?

Backing Gov. Tony Evers’ Education Budget Priorities, Wisconsin Protesters Will Walk 60 Miles to Madison


Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens from all over Wisconsin will walk 60 miles to Madison beginning tomorrow. They’ll be demonstrating all weekend to protest the Republican-dominated Wisconsin Legislature’s state education budget and to support Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ effort to overcome years of Scott Walker’s budget cuts to the state’s public schools.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Annysa Johnson reports: “Public school advocates from across the state will embark on a 60-mile march to Madison… hoping to persuade Republican lawmakers to boost funding for K-12 education…. The goal, organizers say, is for the lawmakers to reinstate key components of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ education budget, particularly his nearly $600 million boost to cover special education costs, $58 million more for mental health services, and $40 million more for bilingual-bicultural programs.”

Gov. Evers, formerly Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, knows about the needs of public schools.  After the Legislature—still dominated…

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