John Tanner: Why Do Politicians Cling to Failed Education Policies?

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Tanner is a blogger in San Antonio. In this post, he asks a question that I have asked myself many times: Why do ”reformers” and politicians keep funding failure? Why do they demand more charters and vouchers when neither has matched their claims, neither has closed achievement gaps or dramatically higher scores (except when they cherrypick their students)?

Tanner asks the question about test-based accountability, which Texas has embraced for decades.

He begins:

It is inexplicable to me how the failed policies of test-based accountability continue to be championed as if they have worked in the past and will continue to work into the future. The position of those espousing the effectiveness of test-based accountability can only be valid if at some point in the past all schools were essentially equal, and then good or bad educators created the disparities between what are now labeled “good” and “bad” schools…

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Peter Greene: In Case You Missed Michelle Rhee…You Can Join the Zoom

Diane Ravitch's blog

Peter Greene wonders if you have missed Michelle Rhee, once the Wonder Woman of the edreform biz, but recently absent from the national scene. After her meteoric rise to national prominence, when she was selected to be chancellor of the District of Columbia public schools after two years of TFA teaching, she was a colossus: on the cover of TIME as a miracle worker, featured in the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” frequently interviewed on national TV. Her tenure in D.C. was controversial and stormy: she fired teachers and principals and made bold claims about test scores. When Adrian Fenty, the mayor who appointed her, was defeated, she left and started an organization called StudentsFirst, which she said would raise $1 billion and recruit one million members. she never reached either goal, but she traveled the country advocating for charters and vouchers and against teachers’ unions. She allied with Jeb…

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Lack of Trusted Authority is Why Covid-19 is Kicking Our Butts

gadflyonthewallblog

We have faced tough times before.

World wars, famines, pandemics, economic ruin.

But in each of these disasters, the majority of people thought they had somewhere to turn for knowledge and advice.

We had trusted authorities to tell us what to do, to counsel us how to handle these seemingly insurmountable disasters.

Today many of us face the Covid-19 pandemic feeling there are few sources to believe in – and that more than anything else – is why we are having such a difficult time coming together to overcome this crisis.

The media, government, science, religion – none hold a central place of confidence in most people’s lives. So when tough decisions about health and safety come into play, many of us aren’t sure what to do.

This wasn’t always the case.

Look back to World War II.

Not only did we defeat fascism but new vaccines put a wallop…

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California: Culver City School District is First in State to Require All Eligible Students to Be Vaccinated

Diane Ravitch's blog

A sign of sanity, common sense, and responsibility: Culver City schools require all eligible students to be vaccinated. Superintendent estimates that about 1 in 20 parents object. Why should their objection override the public health of all students?

The Culver City Unified School District has issued a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all eligible students — believed to be the first such requirement in California — a move the district superintendent said has the overwhelming support of parents, teachers and staff.
Currently, children 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, which remains under emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration. The Culver City requirement has a Nov. 19 deadline, and district officials hope the vaccine will have received full FDA approval by then.


California has ordered all K-12 school employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing — and a growing number of school districts, including…

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Oklahoma City Defies State Ban on Masks

It is good to see some districts with backbone!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The state leaders of Oklahoma banned any mask mandates by school districts, showing their contempt for local control. But Oklahoma City, the state’s largest district, declared that it would defy the state and require all students and staff to wear masks. The district cares more about students than the Governor and Legislature.

Other districts in the state are following Oklahoma City’s lead.

The Tulsa school board is planning to sue the state to invalidate the masking ban.

It’s wonderful to see school districts fighting an irrational ban that endangers the lives of students and staff!

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Randi Weingarten Supports Mandatory Vaccinations for Teachers

Her announcement would have had more impact had she said this in the first place.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Randi Weingarten appeared on “Meet the Press” and endorsed mandatory vaccinations for teachers.

She said on Sunday that she wants the union to support mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for teachers. Currently, the AFT (and the NEA) favor vaccination being a voluntary choice.

Randi said:

“Since 1850 we’ve dealt with vaccines in schools, it’s not a new thing to have vaccines in schools. And I think that, on a personal matter, as a matter of personal conscience, I think that we need to be working with our employers – not opposing them – on vaccine mandates.”NBC’s Meet the Press

This should not even be a story. Of course, teachers, hospital workers, and all essential personnel should be vaccinated. The virus will not be conquered until almost everyone is vaccinated against it.

How can parents send their children to school without the secure knowledge that the child’s teacher is vaccinated.

Mandatory…

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Why Disciplined Messaging on Public School Policy Is So Important

Truer words…

janresseger

In some states, the new school year has already begun, the COVID Delta Variant is surging, and already everybody is worrying, and legitimately so, about whether and how public schools will reopen. But that is not really the deepest concern for many of us who care about the future of public schools.

Certainly far-right ideologues investing millions of dollars to push corporate school reform and promote school privatization are messaging their own agenda instead of focusing on whether or not schools reopen in person or whether students and/or teachers are required to vaccinate or wear masks. Newspapers, many of which are losing their education reporters to collapsing advertising budgets, have pretty much opted for the obvious topic—school reopening and masking requirements.  You can be sure, however, that ALEC is instead doggedly promoting the expansion of vouchers as its members lobby inside state legislatures, and Nina Rees, who leads the National…

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Florida: Governor Threatens to Cut Funding from Districts that Require Face Masks

Only in America are adults punished for trying to keep children healthy.

Diane Ravitch's blog

NPR reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is prepared to act against school districts that require their students to wear race masks, despite the fact that the coronavirus is surging in almost every county in the state.

A battle is brewing in Florida over whether students will have to wear masks when they return to the classroom this fall.

Several Florida school districts are keeping their mask mandates in place for the upcoming school year, despite an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that leaves it up to parents to decide whether their children wear face coverings in school. School boards that don’t eliminate mask mandates could face the loss of state funding.

South Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, the second-largest district in Florida, cited safety as its top priority announcing the decision to maintain its mask requirement pending further guidance from the state as coronavirus cases surge in…

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