Insights from Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: While Americans Sleep, Our Corporate Overlords Make Progress Impossible

Posted on  by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

By Ralph Nader, a consumer advocate and the author of “The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future” (2012). His new book is, “Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All” (2020, co-authored with Mark Green).Originally published at Common Dreams

“Polarization” is the word most associated with the positions of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The mass media and the commentators never tire of this focus, in part because such clashes create the flashes conducive to daily coverage.

Politicians from both parties exploit voters who don’t do their homework on voting records and let the lawmakers use the people’s sovereign power (remember the Constitution’s “We the People”) against them on behalf of the big corporate bosses.

The quiet harmony between the two parties created by the omnipresent power of Big Business and other powerful single-issue lobbyists is often the status quo. That’s why there are so few changes in this country’s politics.

In many cases, the similarities of both major parties are tied to the fundamental concentration of power by the few over the many. In short, the two parties regularly agree on anti-democratic abuses of power. Granted, there are always a few exceptions among the rank & file. Here are some areas of Republican and Democrat concurrence:

1. The Duopoly shares the same stage on a militaristic, imperial foreign policy and massive unaudited military budgets. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Pentagon budget was voted out of a House committee by the Democrats and the GOP with $24 billion MORE than what President Biden asked for from Congress. Neither party does much of anything to curtail the huge waste, fraud, and abuse of corporate military contractors, or the Pentagon’s violation of federal law since 1992 requiring annual auditable data on DOD spending be provided to Congress, the president, and the public.

2. Both Parties allow unconstitutional wars violating federal laws and international treaties that we signed onto long ago, including restrictions on the use of force under the United Nations Charter.

3. Both Parties ignore the burgeoning corporate welfare subsidies, handouts, giveaways, and bailouts turning oceans of inefficient, mismanaged, and coddled profit-glutted companies into tenured corporate welfare Kings.

4. Both Parties decline to crack down on the nationwide corporate crime spree. They don’t even like to use the phrase “corporate crime” or “corporate crime wave.” They prefer to delicately allude to “white-collar crime.”

Trillions of dollars are at stake every year, yet neither party holds corporate crime hearings nor proposes an update of the obsolete, weak federal corporate criminal laws.

In some instances, there is no criminal penalty at all for willful and knowing violations of safety regulatory laws (e.g., the auto safety and aviation safety laws). Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is trying to find just one Republican Senator to co-sponsor the “Hide No Harm Act” that would make it a crime for a corporate officer to knowingly conceal information about a corporate action or product that poses the danger of death or serious physical injury to consumers or workers.

5. Both Parties allow Wall Street’s inexhaustibly greedy CEOs to prey on innocents, including small investors. They also do nothing to curb hundreds of billions of dollars in computerized billing fraud, especially in the health care industry. (See, License to Steal by Malcolm K. Sparrow and a GAO Report about thirty years ago).

6. The third leading cause of death in the U.S. is fatalities from preventable problems in hospitals and clinics. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study in 2015, a conservative estimate is that 250,000 people yearly are dying from preventable conditions. Neither Congress nor the Executive Branch has an effort remotely up to the scale required to reduce this staggering level of mortality and morbidity. Nor is the American Medical Association (AMA) engaging with this avoidable epidemic.

7. Both Parties sped bailout of over $50 billion to the airline industry during Covid-19, after the companies had spent about $45 billion on unproductive stock buybacks over the last few years to raise the metrics used to boost executive pay.

8. Both Parties starve corporate law enforcement budgets in the Justice Department, the regulatory agencies, and such departments as Labor, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Health and Human Services. The Duopoly’s view is that there be no additional federal cops on the corporate crime beat.

9. Both Parties prostrate themselves before the bank-funded Federal Reserve. There are no congressional audits, no congressional oversight of the Fed’s secret, murky operations, and massive printing of money to juice up Wall Street, while keeping interest rates near zero for trillions of dollars held by over one hundred million small to midsize savers in America.

10. Both Parties are wedded to constant and huge bailouts of the risky declining, uncompetitive (with solar and wind energy) nuclear power industry. This is corporate socialism at its worst. Without your taxpayer and ratepayer dollars, nuclear plants would be closing down faster than is now the case. Bipartisan proposals for more nukes come with large subsidies and guarantees by Uncle Sam.

11. Both Parties hate Third Parties and engage in the political bigotry of obstructing their ballot access (See: Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News), with hurdles, harassing lawsuits, and exclusions from public debates. The goal of both parties is to stop a competitive democracy.

12. Both Parties overwhelmingly rubber-stamp whatever the Israeli government wants in the latest U.S. military weaponry, the suppression of Palestinians and illegal occupation of the remaining Palestinian lands, and the periodic slaughter of Gazans with U.S. weapons. The Duopoly also supports the use of the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council to insulate Israel from UN sanctions.

13. Continuing Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich’s debilitating internal deforms of congressional infrastructures, the Democrats have gone along with the GOP’s shrinking of committee and staff budgets, abolition of the crucial Office of Technology Assessment’s (OTA) budget, and concentration of excessive power in the hands of the Speaker and Senate leader. This little noticed immolation reduces further the legislature’s ability to oversee the huge sprawling Executive Branch. The erosion of congressional power is furthered by the three-day work week Congress has reserved for itself.

14. Even on what might seem to be healthy partisan differences, the Democrats and the GOP agree not to replace or ease out Trump’s Director of the Internal Revenue Service, a former corporate loophole tax lawyer, or the head of the U.S. Postal Service, a former profiteer off the Post Office who will shortly curtail service even more than he did in 2020 (See: First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, by Christopher W Shaw).

Right now, both Parties are readying to give over $50 billion of your tax money to the very profitable under-taxed computer chip industry companies like Intel and Nvidia, so they can make more profit-building plants in the U.S. These companies are loaded with cash. They should invest their own money and stop the stock buyback craze. Isn’t that what capitalism is all about?

Both Parties vote as if the American middle-class taxpayer is a sleeping sucker. Politicians from both parties exploit voters who don’t do their homework on voting records and let the lawmakers use the people’s sovereign power (remember the Constitution’s “We the People”) against them on behalf of the big corporate bosses.

Sleep on America, you have nothing to lose but your dreams.

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This entry was posted in Banana republicGuest PostIncome disparityLegalPoliticsRegulations and regulatorsRidiculously obvious scamsThe destruction of the middle class on  by Jerri-Lynn Scofield.

Vaccines Save Lives. (Duh.)

This graph from today’s NYT shows why.

Why Teaching is, in fact, the worst job out there

Teacher and blgger Jessica Wildfire explains in detail why teaching is the worst job in the world today. It has gotten much, much worse since I retired about 12 years ago.

Here is the link:

and here is a selection:

=================================

Nobody wants to be a teacher, but everyone thinks they could.

The job sounds easy.

It looks even easier in photos.

That’s because the job ads are lying. They talk about nurturing young minds and inspiring creativity. They make it sound like you’ll be trusted with sharing knowledge and promoting democracy.

Here’s what they don’t tell you:

You‘re sort of in charge of a lot of people.

You’ll supervise up to a hundred people whose brains are still developing. They’re sort of your employees, but they’re also sort of your customers. They’re also sort of your bosses. When that gets confusing, just remember one thing. When they don’t want to listen to you, they’re your boss and they pay your salary. You can’t really make them do anything.

Just do your best to persuade them.

You’ll be in charge of training them for a whole bunch of different jobs, and also how to be a decent human being. A decent human being is whatever your boss and/or their parents decide.

If they don’t turn out how we want…

It’s your fault.

Was the COVID risk overblown?

I have seen people claim that COVID wasn’t any worse than the flu, and that the toll from the disease was smaller than the number of people killed in traffic accidents each year.

Is that correct? Sources of data on deaths from all kinds of causes are easy to find. I will limit myself to the US.

Let’s see:

Today’s WorldOMeter says the US has had 666,627 deaths since the start of this pandemic, starting almost exactly 18 months ago (mid-March of 2020 to 9/7/2021).

That number of deaths, divided by 18 months, works out to a monthly death toll from COVID of about 37,000 per month.

Flu, however, takes roughly a full year to kill that many.

If we multiply the 37 thousand by 12 months, you get 444,000 killed by COVID in a year.

Flu’s Toll over the Past Decade

The CDC says that up to but not including the pandemic, influenza has inflicted, per year:

between 9 million and 45 million illnesses

between 140,000 and 810,000 hospitalizations

between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths (so by WorldOMeter’s numbers, COVID has been between 6 and 37 times more deadly)

Traffic deaths

For automobiles, the annual death rate had been about 36,000 people killed per year (up until 2019, and not including any pandemic months)

So COVID is more deadly than traffic accidents of all sorts by a factor of about 12 to one if we use WorldOMeter’s data.

Covid’s Toll

Now let’s compare those figures with the ones from COVID. I think you will see that COVID has been in fact much more dangerous.

Over the past 18 months, the CDC (as opposed to WorldOMeter) says we have had:

120.2 Million Estimated Total Infections (this includes both those who did NOT have any symptoms, as well as those who DID; this can’t really be compared to the figures for the flu)

101.8 Million Estimated Symptomatic Illnesses (since this is more than a year, to be fair, we should adjust by a factor equal to the ratio of 12 months to 18 months, or 2/3. Doing so, I get about 67 million symptomatic COVID infections per year, which is between 2 to 6 times larger than for the flu!)

6.2 Million Estimated Hospitalizations (adjusting as before, this is like 4 million hospitalizations per year, which is between 5 and 29 times worse than the flu)

767,000 Estimated Total Deaths (this is like 511,000 deaths per year – between 8 and 43 times worse than the flu!)

So, those arguments are full of nonsense, to put it politely.

The risk was NOT overblown.

I wish everybody in the US and abroad was permitted to take the vaccine, and did so!

I want this to be over.

======================================================================

My sources were:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html regarding influenza

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/burden.html for COVID-19

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/yearly-snapshot for automobiles

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/#graph-deaths-daily for WorldOMeter’s estimates

What the hell…???

I am utterly confused.

Why on earth would DC’s Department of Transportation purposely leave streets alone that are in poor shape, on the one hand, while they mill and re-pave streets that don’t need it at all?

Is there actually a good explanation? Or even an evil explanation?

Take a look at two maps of my section of Northeast DC (Brookland).

Perhaps the answer is just that the two maps are both out of date and inaccurate?

But, the way it looks to me, then out of 38 blocks around me that are listed by DC-Dot as needing repaving, only ONE (count’em 1) is listed as about to be milled and repaved.

While 8 other blocks that are NOT in bad shape are going to be milled and re-paved without needing it.

What’s going on? Why?? WTF?

Who benefits from this? I don’t get it.

Look for yourself.

I agree – the ones marked as bad streets really are bad. And the others are really OK to good. But why does the second map indicate (in pink, sorry, not the clearest color, my poor choice) that many roads that are in FINE shape are about to get dug up, neglecting lots of blocks in poor shape?

Can anyone explain?

================

Edit: I’ve looked at parts of Anacostia and Wards 3 and 4. Once again, I see no correlation between the streets that DC’s DOT lists as needing to be fixed, and the streets that are on the schedule to get milled and paved. Look for yourself and see if you can explain.

Published in: on June 9, 2021 at 1:55 pm  Comments (1)  

DC OSSE Shenanigans deprive DC youngsters of an education

This is amazingly damning stuff from Valerie Jablow. For example the charts at the very end of this post shows that in DC’s >>charter<< schools, as a whole the attendance figures are mostly lies, and a huge number of charter students miss most of the school year but are marked present.


Bottom line: while the attendance and scholarship problems of DCPS have been widely publicized, the ones in the charter schools are not only worse but are actively hidden.

From: educationdc <comment-reply@wordpress.com>
Date: April 9, 2021 at 11:57:38 AM EDT
To:gfbrandenburg@gmail.com
Subject:[New post] The March 2021 Auditor’s Report: Or, How DC Fails To Provide All Students Their Educations
Reply-To: educationdc <comment+z_ioq3tk92pflg6rtzqshm0c@comment.wordpress.com>



post on educationdcThe March 2021 Auditor’s Report: Or, How DC Fails To Provide All Students Their Educationsby Valerie Jablow[Ed. Note: Over just a few years, DC’s auditor has produced many pages detailing shockingly poor practices in DC’s public schools, whether mis-use of at risk fundsinequitable modernizationshigh school admissions bias, and segregation and funding inequities arising from school choice.

The auditor’s latest report on DC’s publicly funded schools, released on March 10, takes it up a notch. Spelling out how our state superintendent of education (OSSE) spent tens of millions of dollars in both federal and DC taxpayer funds to create a database of educational data to better track student data, this latest report shows that database not only doesn’t exist as promised, but the failures of OSSE to collect actionable data, and to act on the data it already has, means DC students and their educations are literally being left behind.

On March 19, the DC Council held a hearing about this report. Reality itself seemed to be on trial, as government witnesses from various DC education agencies disputed the report’s findings. The council invited public testimony, albeit written. Below is my contribution to the DC Council. Though that window for testimony has passed, these issues are not going away. More to the point: Our children depend on ALL DC elected officials being held accountable for the educationally harmful events documented herein and in the report.

I am Valerie Jablow, a DCPS parent, and this is my testimony about the March 2021 DC auditor’s report on the work of our state education agency, OSSE.The auditor’s report is disturbing validation of years of testimony by DC education advocates, as well as of news reports, about the failure of DC to provide equitable education to all its children.

This report outlines how OSSE’s poor stewardship of DC public education data, and that data’s widespread lack of reliability and validity, results in what amounts to a denial of education.Take this figure from p. 35 of the report as an example:

Copyright DC Auditor 2021The

data points on the chart on the right not aligned with the diagonal line show DC students not consistently accounted for in a way that is actionable OR trackable by OSSE and most LEAs. Those students are thus highly likely to not be receiving the educations they are entitled to–with little hope of help, because there is no systematic and comprehensive tracking of them or their records across LEAs.

And the adults in charge of those LEAs and this data testified at the council hearing on March 19 that they were OK with this.

In fact, OSSE has spent millions in federal funds to perpetuate this lack of actionable data instead of using that money for its intended purpose—which includes ensuring that all attendance in DC’s publicly funded schools is tracked accurately and is actionable by every single LEA and education actor.And yet, as bad as that is, absolutely none of this is new!

That is: Education leaders in DC have longknown how DC education data lack reliability and validity, as the report outlines, and are abused regularly.

Here are just a few examples that I (a parent without access to privileged information that every single DC education leader who testified about this auditor’s report can access) personally know about, all presented in the last few years via publicly available council testimony and reports (commissioned and/or journalism):–

OSSE has for years combined PARCC scores of math tests of different levels of difficulty, pretending that exercise is statistically meaningful;–

OSSE does not promulgate a common definition for attendance (see the auditor’s report and figure above), so attendance stats for DC charters are meaningless as a measure for >40,000 DC charter students as well as the schools they attend;–


OSSE doesn’t fulsomely track student mobility, even though students who are highly mobile experience huge academic issues and the schools that receive them mid-year (often DCPS schools with high percentages of at risk students) do not get any resources to help them;–

As the auditor’s report notes, OSSE doesn’t track courses, grades, or credit toward graduation requirements in charters, so students cannot be helped well if they change schools and are off track to graduate;–

OSSE was unconcerned with reports about a graduation scandal in two charter schools, when employees showed evidence of grade and attendance fixing;–

OSSE refused to have an independent investigation of charter school graduation data when the Ballou scandal came out, despite the auditor’s evidence that charter graduation data is problematic, as graduating classes may differ significantly from entering classes;–

OSSE has not removed the STAR rating from any school description—even though it is based on flawed attendance records (see pages 35ff and 79ff of the auditor’s report);–

OSSE was unaware that legally required science and social studies classes were not being provided at several DCPS middle schools;–

OSSE was not vetting interim education providers in charters, leaving students in terrible situations;–

OSSE has not been enforcing the Healthy Schools Act, while presenting the nonenforcement as success;–

OSSE not only falsely accused dozens, if not hundreds, of Ellington families of residency fraud, but an OSSE lawyer tried to slow-walk the investigation for political purposes;–

OSSE appeared unconcerned by nonreporting of suspension rates by charters and used data to obfuscate suspensions;–

OSSE has no guidance for LEAs regarding credit recovery;–

OSSE interfered with the process by which an independent research practice partnership would be created for DC education data;–

OSSE failed to appropriately track residency fraud for years.This is not to mention the auditor’s OTHER reports of DC education, including misuse of at risk funds and segregation arising from school choice, data for which appear to be actively ignored by DC education leaders despite OSSE being able to help.

For instance, OSSE could implement a finer assessment of who is at risk and a more granular understanding of demographics and achievement (per Robert White’s excellent question at the 3/19 hearing). And OSSE certainly could push for better use of at risk and other, targeted funds (along with tracking those funds) as well as supporting existing schools as much as the agency currently ensures greater mobility through promoting school ratings and the lottery even in the face of declining enrollments.

Yet after all these years—YEARS!–of reports, investigations, and testimony outlining continued dereliction of DC education data duty and its resulting harm to DC children, we have no substantive changes. No one at OSSE or the charter board has been fired over this as far as I know, and no one is promulgating rules to stop the democratically deviant data behaviors of these agencies or their leaders outlined in this current report.

Rather, we have expressions of shock and bewilderment, as if no one has ever heard any of this before! It’s the very definition of gaslighting: Millions of dollars spent annually on stuff that everyone in charge pretends never happened or, if it did, it was a long, long time ago in a place far, far away—hakuna matata!

But this is not a fairy tale or a movie plot. This is actually happening, right now, with our education data:–students not tracked, including some of the most vulnerable in the city, like the kids from Washington Met, more than 40 of whom NO ONE in DC has any idea where they went after the school’s closure nor how they are doing;–money not following students, including those kids kicked out of charters into DCPS schools with the highest percentages of students in poverty (which the charter board executive director noted during the 3/19 hearing she has no information about);–bankrupt school ratings based on invalid data and demographics of a cartoonishly simplistic variety that result in school closures, increasing student mobility and enriching charters that gain the buildings and “marketshare”; and–a state-level education agency governed by someone who also controls both school spending and decision making so that the data itself is inevitably politicized and abused.

As a DC taxpayer, I have to ask:Is there anything that will cause OSSE, the charter board, the mayor, and/or the DC Council to actually protect DC children from all of those things detailed above—to ensure that all student records and recordkeeping are accurate, consistent, and shared across agencies and LEAs fulsomely so KIDS are not lost; that our school ratings are not based on manipulated and incomplete data that prevent accurate assessments of student growth while pushing wrongful closures; that the education services our students are entitled to are provided at every turn; and that those services are legally adequate, safe, and equitable?

At the hearing, the auditor’s office made clear that we already have the tools to do all that–and more.But as far as I can see, it’s not happening with anyone at OSSE, the charter board, or the mayor! Instead, testimony at the hearing on this report on behalf of those agencies and the mayor was first and foremost about validating the status quo and the freedom, privacy, and security ofCharter schools and/orThe adults in charge of our schools and/orThe DC education leaders over all of them, up to and including the mayor

Bottom line: All these folks are OK with every single bad thing in the auditor’s report—and more.If that seems harsh, it’s not nearly as harsh as what the DC public lives with as a consequence. To wit:

How can DC ed leaders NOT know where all Wash Met students are?

How can DC ed leaders NOT know what courses all our students have taken?

How can DC ed leaders NOT know that some schools are not providing legally required courses?

How can DC ed leaders NOT know what interim education providers are doing?

How can DC ed leaders NOT know what students have attended school–and when and why?

How can DC ed leaders NOT know where students are and account for it accurately and reliably everywhere?

Do not think for a minute that this auditor’s report is simply about data, a database, a data “journey,” or whatever quaintly beneficent term was floated during that hearing by the agencies defending the status quo.This report is a clear outline of how DC is FAILING to provide all its children their educations.So: What are YOU going to do about it?

Valerie Jablow | April 9, 2021 at 11:56 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: https://wp.me/p6Dj0P-3WjComment   See all comments   

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Published in: on April 9, 2021 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Road Not Taken

A few quotes from Lerone Bennett’s article in Ebony 50 years ago. It opened my eyes.

The race problem in America was a deliberate invention of men who systematically separated blacks and whites in order to make money. This was, as Kenneth Stampp so cogently observed, a deliberate choice among several alternatives. Slavery, he said,

“cannot be attributed to some deadly atmospheric miasma or some irresistible force in the South’s economic evolution. The use of slaves in southern agriculture was a deliberate choice (among several alternatives) made by men who sought greater returns than they could obtain from their own labor alone, and who found other types of labor more expensive…”

It didn’t have to happen that way. Back there, before Jim Crow, before the invention of the Negro or the white man or the words and concepts to describe them, the Colonial population consisted largely of a great mass of white and black bondsmen, who occupied roughly the same economic category and were treated with equal contempt by the lords of the plantations and legislatures. Curiously unconcerned about their color, these people worked together and relaxed together. They had essentially the same interests, the same aspirations, arid the same grievances. They conspired together and waged a common struggle against their common enemy — the big planter apparatus and a social system that legalized terror against black and white bondsmen. No one says and no one believes that there was a Garden of Eden in Colonial America. But the available evidence, slight though it is, suggests that there were widening bonds of solidarity between the first generation of blacks and whites. And the same evidence indicates that it proved very difficult indeed to teach white people to worship their skin.”

(From Lerone Bennett, The Shaping of Black America. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1975, pp. 61-82. Originally published in Ebony, vol. 25 (August, 1970), pp. 71- 77). Copied and pasted from https://multiracialunity.org/2016/05/22/the-road-not-taken-by-lerone-bennett/

Published in: on February 1, 2021 at 10:38 pm  Comments (2)  

List of Blogs!

From Curmudgucation (Retired English teacher Peter Greene in PA):

(GFB wrote none of this)
The Curmudgureading List
Posted: 27 Jan 2021 11:50 AM PST

I was recently reminded that it has been a while since I’ve done one of these. The edublogging universe has, I think, shrunk a bit in the last year or two, which is not to say that there aren’t still hundreds out there. But lots of folks come and go, and I drop blogs from the list on the side when they’ve gone dormant for more than a few months. There has also been a shift to newsletters and substacks and podcasting, as well as, I think, a loss of more conservative voices in support of public ed.  I’m going to stick to good old fashioned web-based education policy text here, mostly, with blogs, magazine style sites, and a few key organizations. A web presence is not an easy thing to maintain, but here’s what’s out there right now that’s worth reading–or at least, that I know about. 
Recommendations always gratefully accepted.
Let me know what I missed.

Accountabaloney
Florida-centric blog is one of the best-looking blogs around. This duo stays on top of Florida’s education shenanigans, which is no small feat.

Affective Living
Chase Mielke writes this blog that focuses on teacher burnout. Practical and frequently helpful.

Alfie Kohn
Infrequent blogger, but always interesting with plenty of resources, particularly if you’re interested in getting away from grading and testing.

Bellowings
Akil Bello is a testing expert and a good follow on Twitter. While he blogs infrequently, it’s always worthwhile, and this is one of those blogs that’s worth a stroll through the archives, particularly if you’re reading up on big standardized tests.

Big Education Ape
After all these years, still king of the edu-blog aggregators. He’ll give you a taste and a link  and do not discount the value of the art that he adds. 

Bust-ED Pencils 
 One of the few (okay, two podcasts on the list. Passionate and progressive, hosted by Dr. Timothy Slekar. All of the big guns have stopped by at one time or another.

Blue Cereal Education  
Formerly based in OK, he’s now hunkered down in Indiana. Lots of issues covered, but he’s also working his way through Supreme Court cases dealing with church and state separation.

Bright Lights, Small City
Sarah Lahm keeps an eye on Minneapolis schools, policy and politics. It’s yet another regional stage where reformster ideas go for their out of town trial runs.

Caffeinated Rage
North Carolina is the home base for this prolific look at education policy, politics, and public education.

Citizen Teacher
Lisa Eddy taught ELA for 25 years, collected a variety of awards, and just generally worked her buns off. Now she cranks out frequent posts focusing on education and politics

Class Size Matters 
A site devoted to exactly that issue. Loads of good materials here to support the obvious.

Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo
One of the few remaining blogs at Education Week, Ferlazzo talks about pedagogical practicalities and also policy and politics and ethics in the classroom

Cloaking Inequity
The blog of Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig. Lots of smart, researched info, much of it organized by topic.

 Dad Gone Wild
TC Weber covers Tennessee thoroughly and with sharp wit and pithy quotes. “Nobody reads it. Everybody quotes it.”

DCulberhouse
“Engaging in conversations around education and leadership,” and sometimes getting into some heavy but interesting stuff about systems and complexity. 

Defending the Early Years
Research and advocacy for the littles. I’m a big fan of this organization.

Deutsch29
I call her the indispensable Mercedes Schneider. A research monster and prolific writer, even as she does the classroom work. When you’re looking for facts and the background connections, all roads lead here.

Diane Ravitch
If you read me, you probably read Ravitch, whose blog is like the town square for all the advocates for public education. The sheer volume of posts can be daunting, but because she is so very generous with her platform and audience, there is no better place to “meet” all the people writing about public education .

Eclectablog
The source for Michigan news from a progressive perspective. That includes education in the DeVos stomping grounds. Mitchell Robinson writes for these folks.

Ed in the Apple
All about the intersection of education and politics in New York.

Ed Politics
A web magazine covering te political angles. Good place to find Jeff Bryant, a major independent pro-public ed journalist.

Educolor
“EduColor has been at the forefront of anti-racist, culturally competent, justice-centered conversations since its inception in 2014.” 

Fairtest
The organization advocating to keep testing fair and open and, well, less. 

Finding Common Ground
Another EdWeek blog, this by Peter DeWitt, who takes a tempered and thoughtful approach to the issues of the day.

Fourth Generation Teacher
I don’t go back to this blog often enough, but when I do, I always find thoughtful, insightful pieces about the teaching life.

Fred Klonsky
Politics, unions, and education with a Chicago flavor.

Gadfly on the Wall
Nobody gets more fired up than my fellow Pennsylvanian Steven Singer. Unabashedly progressive, pro-union, pro-teacher and pretty fiery about all of it. 

Gary Rubinstein’s Blog Rubinstein is a math teacher, proof that sometimes Teach for America products grow up to be real teachers. He’s been at the blogging work for a long time. He writes about the craft and occasionally digs into the data to debunk popular reformster ideas.

G F Brandenburg’s Blog
A retired math teacher who collects plenty of good reads from around the web along with his own excellent insights. Another blogger who’s been at this for a while.


Grumpy Old Teache
National education perspectives with the kind of attitude you know I appreciate.

Hack Education
If you have even a passing interest in education technology, Audrey Watters is required reading. Nobody is more knowledgable, more insightful, more adept at connecting the dots, or more willing to call bullshit. Required reading.

Have You Heard
The other podcast on the list (though they always post a transcript as well for us reader types). Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire are great interviewers, and this podcast brings some great people to the mic, along with some excellent insights from the hosts.

In the Public Interes
A site and organization with a wide-ranging public interest, and that includes keeping an eye on the privatization of public education.

Jan RessegerThoughtful, insightful, and always well-sourced look at education policy in the US.

Jersey Jazzman  
Nobody does a better job rendering data (especially financial stuff) in ways that make sense to ordinary mortals.

Just Visiting
Inside Higher Education hosts a variety of bloggers, but John Warner is my only regular read. Warner is particular sharp on the topic of writing.

eystone State Education Coalition
Excellent and thorough roundup of ed policy issues and articles in Pennsylvania.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
Well, blog titles don’t come any more accurately descriptive than that.

Larry Lee on Education
Lee is based in Alabama, a state that provides ample opportunity to consider problems in education policy.

Living Dialogue
Anthony Cody’s site has evolved into a far-ranging education magazine covering a wide variety of topics and writers.

Momma Bears
One of the many parent blogs that maintains feisty, skeptical eyes on corporate education reform.

Mr. Fitz
There ought to be more education reality centered comic strips, but at least we have Mr. Fitz

Nancy Bailey’s Education Website
Activist and pro-public school, looking at topics on the national scale. I never miss a post.

National Education Policy Center
Scholarly responses to reformy articles and “papers” and a blog-post-of-the-day. NEPC is just the place to look for solid responses to what you know is wrong.

Network for Public Education
NPE has established itself as a strong advocacy and research group in support of public education. Check out the research papers, or look at the page #AnotherDayAnotherCharterScandal for a catalogue of charter misbehavior.

Notes from the Chalkboard
Justin Parmenter is based in North Carolina, where he periodically ruffles feathers and raises some dust. 

Notes from the Educational Trenches  
“I feel like I’m living in the old fable, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.'” Perspective from a classroom teacher.

NYC Educator
He’s been at it a really long time. Sly, snarky and well-versed in the nuts and bolts of education in the city that doesn’t sleep often or well.

Othmar’s Trombone
I couldn’t resist the name. Based in the UK, just so you know some of these issues transcend borders.

Plunderbund
Covering the politics of Ohio, including their crazy-pants ed scene, magazine style.

Politics K-12
EdWeek’s tag team of current ed policy news and the politics attached to it. Always on top of the breaking news.

Public School Shakedown at The Progressive
Remember when every magazine and news organization had an education tab? The Progressive still keeps a stable of quality (education writers (and me)  on tap to write about education.

Radical eyes for equity
Paul Thomas always makes me feel smarter for reading him, but he also knows whart’s what when it comes to comics. 

Rick Hess Straight Up
Another Ed Week blog, this by the education guy from the American Enterprise Institute, so free market ed reform guy, but generally an intellectually honest one. 

School Finance 101
The ins and outs of school finance, with Bruce Baker cutting through the noise. This is where I first learned about how charterization can involve the taxpayers buying the same building multiple times.

School Matters
Longtime observer of the public education scene in Indiana, another hotbed of reformster shenanigans.

Schools Matter
The team of writers here take no prisoners, ever, but they’ve been at this for a while and they do their digging. No sympathy for corporate interests here.

Teacher in a Strange Land
Retired music teacher Nancy Flanagan blogged for years at EdWeek, but a while back decided to strike out on her own so she could write with more freedom. Often personal, always insightful.

Teacher Tom
A pre-school teacher in Seattle offers meditations on education, children, and life. Great look at connections between learning and life’s important lessons.

Tennessee Education Report
Andy Spears knows what’s going on in Tennessee, which is one of the states where ed reformy ideas are road tested. Solid reporting.

The 21st Century Principal
John Robinson has done it all, starting with years as an ELA teacher, so his blog brings together edu-threads from literature to politics to the philosophical underpinnings of the work.

The Answer Sheet
Valerie Strauss’s column at the Washington Post is always on point, and features plenty of good guest stars (Carol Burris often appears). And people answer her emails and phone calls, which means she gets the stuff that most lowly bloggers do not. Plus she’s a pleasantly pro-public school voice at a newspaper that’s not always helpful.

The Jose Vilson
Former NYC math teacher, now grad student, and a heck of a writer. Founding leader of Educolor. What a voice.

The Merrow Report
John Merrow was a leading national education reporter for decades. He’s retired now, but clearly there’s still an itch there.

The Tempered Radical
Bill Ferriter is a teacher and a top-notch PD guy, too. Collaborative teams are his thing, but sometims he just has to speak up about policy and politics.

Tultican
Thomas Ultican sits down and digs deep. In his blog you find many definitive takes that gather everything out there about a particular reformster shenanigans.

When Schools Reopen
This panel of writers is focused on the big issue of the day. When the buildings finally reoppen for good and for real, what could be better?

Wrench in the Gears
Not everybody’s cup of tea, this blog travels way down the global digital data plot, but the research is solid and she often pulls out info you won’t find anywhere else.

VAMboozled
Audrey Amrein-Beardsley is a leading researcher and scholar in the bananas field of VAM. Another blog that rewards deep reading inm the archives.
Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Republican Congressman Who isn’t a Wacko!

Who is he?

A few hints: He voted to accept the results of the 2020 vote, AND to impeach Trump.

He also represents the same district that Justin Amash and Gerald Ford used to.

He also is being attacked by the Trumpisters and is resigned to the fact that he may be a one-term Congressman.

He had a long interview at The View. I found reading the transcript somewhat hopeful — perhaps more Republicans will snap out of their craziness. I am cutting and pasting some of the most trenchant paragraphs.

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Peter Meijer (the Congressman): … the rhetoric and the narrative in the public was wildly out of step with what more serious minds were discussing in the halls of Congress. A lot of my colleagues who were planning to object to the Electoral College certification, most of those objections hinged upon an interpretation of Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution, around the time, place and manner of elections, and how state legislatures had primacy in determining electoral processes. Now, it was an argument being made selectively against six states that the president had lost, and not being made in a dozen plus states that he had won. So I had issues on the consistency.

But a lot of the folks who were arguing to not certify the Electoral College results — and specifically, Arizona and Pennsylvania ended up being challenged with a Senator joining, so they were brought to the floor. It wasn’t that this was a massively fraudulent stolen election. It was much more grounded arcane basis, but with the understanding that this is an attempt for us to talk more about the process. That was the feeling inside the chamber. Those were the conversations. And then contrast that with President Trump’s Twitter account, and you see how two worlds of thought emerged. The world that said, this was actually a landslide victory for Donald Trump, that it was all stolen away and changed, and votes were flipped in Dominion Voting Systems.

And then you just go into the fever swamp of conspiracy theories. That’s what a lot of the supporters of the president were told. And that’s where some could argue, oh, when we meant stop the steal, we just meant, again, we don’t like these electoral process modifications. But that’s not how it came across.

Michael Barbaro (interviewer): Well, congressman, you sound like you’re being quite sympathetic toward your Republican colleagues in the House who chose not to certify the results. Do you think that those arguments and sentiments were genuine on their part?

Peter Meijer: I think, for some, absolutely. Again, I have disagreements. I do think some arrived at those conclusions in a genuine way. It’s —

Michael Barbaro: Because I think their support undeniably contributed, along with the president’s claims, to a pretty widespread consensus among Republicans that was baseless, right? That the election had been fraudulent. You really don’t think that they were operating primarily out of fear of their constituents and of the president in making these objections?

Peter Meijer: I’m not going to speak to what’s in their hearts. I know that I was watching the president’s speech on January 6. I was watching the speeches that came before it, the threats from members of the Trump family that if we didn’t object and try to change the results — there was a tremendous amount of political pressure. […]

Going into the Electoral College certification, I thought it would be one of the toughest votes of this term because of how many people were calling in and sharing, oftentimes easily disprovable, Facebook screenshots or sending a report. And I’d say, well, I’ve read this and I’ve looked into these citations, or I’ve actually called that clerk — and just how much got amplified. And it was a kind of a game of factual whack-a-mole. You would push back on one thing, such as, well, 60 of the 61 cases that the Trump campaign brought, they lost. And the one they won was very minor, and I think it was a temporary stay.

And then the pushback is, well, they were dismissed due to a lack of standing. OK, I mean, that’s a response, but that’s also not a good response. Well, here was all the widespread fraud? Well then, how come even the president’s lawyers were not arguing in court that there was fraud?

And you just find me a law enforcement body that has actually substantiated any of this, an investigative body, a court of law, anything that we can point to in a credible manner. But the point is, I mean, a lot of our constituents felt that this had been a stolen election because people they looked to and trusted told them that it was.

Michael Barbaro: Right, including congresspeople.

Peter Meijer: Including members of Congress.

Michael Barbaro: You seem to be nibbling around the edges of this, but I just want to state it really clearly. You saw a distinction in what your Republican colleagues in the House were up to. They were concerned about a process, frankly mail-in voting during a pandemic and whether it was done properly. But the way their concerns were being interpreted by their voters — and alongside the president’s public claims — was that a massive fraud had been perpetrated, Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent.

And I just have to say it feels to me that many of these colleagues of yours must have known that that would be the impact. You can’t really divorce what they’re doing from what the president is doing and say, oh, they had a higher minded approach to this.

Peter Meijer: There’s a reason why I voted to certify both. There’s a reason why I signed on to a surprisingly cross-ideological letter stating why we believe that the challenge process was unwise. I think the individual arguments — I understand how some could make it. It was when the collective argument became something completely different. The whole was a more dangerous version of the sum of its parts.Michael Barbaro

I’m sensing that very early on, you are already figuring out how to navigate your way in a Republican Party where you and your views are in the minority.Peter Meijer

There was immense pressure. And again, I don’t want this to come across that any one individual’s vote was influenced solely by one thing or the other. But I had colleagues who were resigned to the fact that they may get primaried because they wouldn’t vote to object to Electoral College certification in one state or another, that this would guarantee them they would fall on the wrong side of an out-of-office Donald Trump, who has hundreds of millions of dollars in the campaign account.

I had another colleague who expressed concern about that colleague’s family and their safety if he voted to — how he were to be interpreted if he voted to affirm a stolen election. So I think there was just a ton of pressure from a variety of angles. And myself, I had consigned myself that this would be probably a potentially fatal — I thought I could survive it — but a potentially fatal political vote.

[He describes at some length the horrors of being in the Capitol on January 6, then finding out the Capitol has been breached and then having to hide with the rest of the members of Congress for their very lives. Afterwards:]

Peter Meijer: I had hoped that folks would see, I mean, just the fire that was being played with. And then I think several senators did. I mean, many of the objections that had been raised were withdrawn.

Michael Barbaro: But not many House members.

Peter Meijer: There were a handful. And I get it. I mean, the names were signed. Right? The statements had been put out. They had been talking about it on social media. It wasn’t the easiest thing to undo. But let me put it this way. There were a number of folks who got up on the floor and gave the same speech that night, while there was a crime scene investigation and a dead woman’s blood drying a couple of feet outside the door, they were giving the same speech that evening they had written this morning. Maybe a throwaway line about condemning political violence.

But I mean, just the dissonance, it was staggering.

Michael Barbaro: Right. Let me ask you this. Were you disappointed by the number of House colleagues who, after what had just happened that day, after their own lives had been threatened, went on and voted to object to Biden’s win?

Peter Meijer: I think there was just a disbelief. I get the sense that sometimes, especially if you’re running in a district where winning the primary means you win the general, you get these feedback loops. And where —

Michael Barbaro: But you’re talking — you’re talking politics, and I get that. But I’m asking if you, in your heart of hearts, were disappointed.

Peter Meijer: Yes. Yes. Can I go back to politics?

www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/living-in-the-age-of-the-white-mob

Sadly, racist White mob violence has defined this country much more than progressive movements for most of US history.

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