Common Core, per Cumudgucation

Peter Green nails it once again:

Most states that “replaced” Common Core did it through the highly technical Lipstick on a Pig technique of changing the name and a few words here and there.

On the other hand, Common Core is dead, and public education is fighting a long clean-up battle against the shambling zombies that still grunt its name.

The portions of Common Core that are not on the Big Standardized Test are dead and gone, gone, gone. When was the last time you heard about a school sinking big bucks into the Common Core speaking and listening program? How many teachers are under intense pressure to implement instruction that meets those standards? Speaking and listening standards are absolutely part of the Core, but they’re not on anybody’s BS Test, so nobody cares. For all intents and purposes they don’t exist.

What about schools and teachers who claim they are being led by the Common Core to new heights of educational awesomeness? I have read dozens of essays by these folks, and they all have one thing in common– they are full of baloney. Here is the process followed by every single one of these schools and teachers:

1) Do whatever your professional judgment tells you is best for your students.

2) Credit it to the Common Core standards.

At this point, “Common Core” has about as much clear and specific meaning as “stuff.” It means something completely different to every person that uses it, encounters it, or interprets it, and its decay into empty nothingness is accelerated by the lack of any sort of anchor– there’s no person, no group, no “authority” in place to say, “No, this is what it really means.”

Published in: on January 30, 2016 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do you believe in Superman or democracy?

Peter Greene of Curmudgucatiin as usual hits the nail on the head. Please read:

Published in: on January 26, 2016 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Billionaires on the Move

From Schools Matter :

‘Reacting to the news from Oxfam that the richest 62 billionaires are worth as much as half the world’s population, a coalition of the top five billionaires announced today that they were pleased with their progress in cornering so much wealth but “much more needs to be done.” 
‘Noting that as recently as 2010, it took 388 billionaires to match the worth of half the world’s population, a coalition proclaimed that its goal now was to reduce this number from the current 62 to five: “We will renew our efforts to build our fortunes, ” a coalition spokesperson explained. “Our experts are constantly searching for new tax havens, and we will continue our efforts to keep wages down and eliminate costly benefits for workers.”…’

(Read the article for the rest)

Published in: on January 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Mr Fitz, Data, Assessment, and Inspiration

mr fitz


Published in: on January 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Frank McCourt and Education Today

Reading Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”, “‘Tis”) makes you realize how schools today are mostly hundreds of times better than they were back in the 1930s and 1940s in the old Irish traditional schooling system some people think we should revert to.
If you haven’t read those books, please do so. The absolutely horrible, mindless, sadistic, soul-destroying practices that were considered to be education back in Ireland, during those days, as described by McCourt, are horrifying. The contrast with schooling today couldn’t be starker.


Published in: on January 16, 2016 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Fixes for public education?

A comment on FB:









Bernard Downing also commented on Julian Vasquez Heilig’s photo.


Bernard Downing

January 16 at 9:36am


Modern “fixes” for public schools: Common Core, more and more testing, merit pay, teacher evaluation based mainly on testing that was never designed for such uses, statewide school grading systems, the Big Data everywhere in school from P-12, TFA and alt-cert– you know, if all that is such a great idea, why aren’t the private schools clamoring for it? In fact, I will tell you the precise moment when I will re-consider my view of all this testing. data. more testing, misuse of testing results, “value-added” nonsense, TFA et al etc etc– as anything other than a troubling and pernicious development in the mis-education of our nation’s public school children: when Lakeside Prep in Seattle, Heschel School in NYC, Sidwell Friends in DC and other august and prestigious private academies decide they want their students to be signed up for this racket.









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Published in: on January 16, 2016 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Study shows incredible gains from having ethnic studies

An average 21% decline in absenteeism is huge. An average rise of 1.4 points on the 4- point scale is amazing.

These are results from implementing an illegal Ethic Studies course in California, according to this study.

Which sort of makes sense: kids who are turned off by school don’t think it has anything to do with them. Ethnic studies could make the difference.

Published in: on January 16, 2016 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Students in Louisiana’s School Voucher Program Do Much WORSE Than Those Who Stay in the Public Schools

This is staggering: students who attend private Louisiana schools on vouchers, selected by lottery, do MUCH worse than those who “lost” the lottery and remained in their supposedly “failing” public schools: 40% of a standard deviation worse, which is huge.

Here is a link to Diane Ravitch’s blog on this:

First-Year Evaluation of Louisiana Voucher Program: Student Achievement Declines

Published in: on January 12, 2016 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Need to resist the 1/100 of 1%

From Diane Ravitch:

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New post on Diane Ravitch’s blog

John Thompson on Education and the Media

by dianeravitch

John Thompson, historian and teacher in Oklahoma, writes here about a growing awareness in the mainstream media of the infusion of Big Money into education. The New York Review of Books is a major influence among highly educated people and has a reach far beyond professional educators.
The New York Review of Book’s Michael Massing, in “Reimagining Journalism: The Story of the One Percent,” proposes a new journalism to document and explain the effects of secretive corporate elites on our diverse social institutions. He basically calls for a very well-funded version of the Diane Ravitch blog.

O.K., it’s more complicated than that. Massing notes that “Education is but one area of American life that is being transformed by Big Money.” He wants a website that is staffed by top investigative journalists, and experts in the fields that are being taken over by “billionaires [who] are shaping policy, influencing opinion, promoting favorite causes, polishing their images—and carefully shielding themselves from scrutiny.”

Massing proposes a site, complete with reporters, editors, and “digital whizzes,” who “could burrow deep into the world of the one percent and document the remarkable impact they are having on so many areas of American life.” Similar to Ravitch’s blog, its purpose would be “tracking the major participants, showing the links between them, assessing their influence and impact, and analyzing the evidence on the performance of both public and charter schools.”

Moreover, Massing wants a site that:

Could also serve as a sounding board for people in the field, encouraging principals, teachers, parents, and grantees to send in comments about their dealings with these institutions. The most thoughtful could be edited and posted on the site, providing a bottom-up perspective that rarely gets aired.

Massing explains that “even amid the outpouring of coverage of rising income inequality … the richest Americans have remained largely hidden from view.” And, “journalists have largely let them get away with it.” We need sites that will cover more than education, but Massing, who has been influenced by the work of Mohammad Khan, Zephyr Teachout, and Ravitch, uses their work as a model for the 21st century journalism we need.
His website would:

Produce an ongoing record of the activities of the foundations and private donors trying to affect education policy. The political and lobbying efforts of the teachers’ unions and their allies would be included as well, showing how much money and influence they are able to mobilize in elections and for what candidates.
In the first of two articles, Massing describes Paul Singer, the CEO of the hedge fund Elliott Management as an example of “the ability of today’s ultrarich to amass tremendous power while remaining out of the limelight.” Singer is not merely a key funder of the blood-in-the-eye, anti-union StudentsFirst NY, but also the test, sort, reward and punish policies pushed by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and other corporate school reformers. The billionaire is the single largest donor to the Republican Party; a backer of Marco Rubio and many Tea Party candidates; a funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which attacked John Kerry’s war record; a donor to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the anti-tax group, Club for Growth; and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “which has worked tirelessly to isolate and sanction Iran.”

To illustrate the secretive and far-reaching influence of the One Percent, Massing draws upon the Washington Park Project, and Kahn’s and Teachout’s “Corruption in Education: Hedge Funds and the Takeover of New York’s Schools.” 
They offered:

An eye-opening look at the large sums being spent by what it called “a tiny group of powerful hedge fund executives” seeking to “take over education policy” in the state. This “lightning war on public education,” they wrote, was “hasty and secretive” and “driven by unaccountable private individuals. It represents a new form of political power, and therefore requires a new kind of political oversight.”

Massing then praises the online Hechinger Report and Diane Ravitch who have sharply analyzed the record of the Billionaires Boy’s Club and education reform movement. He explains the need to further document the activities of the Gates, Broad, and Walton foundations, as well as analyze their real world effects on schools.

Yes, America needs websites for examining the structure of money and influence on all of our institutions. Ravitch and her contributors, commenters, and readers should all feel proud of our bottom-up efforts. Massing is correct; our nation needs to produce Diane Ravitchs to lead similar grassroots efforts in health, finance, economics, and politics. I bet it will happen.
dianeravitch | January 11, 2016 at 10:00 am | Categories: Billionaires, Corporate Reformers, Education Industry, Media | URL:

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Published in: on January 11, 2016 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

The USA is not the only country where people believe weird, un-scientific things

Apparently India now has something of an epidemic of religious fundamentalists who believe odd things. A conference of Hindu pseudo-scientists apparently saw presenters making outlandish claims about traditional Hindu gods, ancient jet transportation, and more.

Published in: on January 11, 2016 at 8:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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