Embracing Public Schools as the Very Definition of the Common Good


The 2019-2020 school year is now underway, and in an ironic twist, in a business journal, the academic dean of the college of education at the for-profit University of Phoenix has penned a beautiful reflection on the meaning of public education. Dean Pam Roggeman understands the meaning for families and for communities of their public schools.

Roggeman writes: “This early fall, I’d like to honor the millions of parents who…  send their kids to school for the first time. Critics, possibly a bit removed from their neighborhood public schools, at times try to paint public education as a nameless, faceless bureaucratic institution that is riddled with faults. And like many other institutions, our public schools do have flaws. However, those of us rooted in our communities, with or without school-age kids, do not see our schools as faceless institutions. Rather, we associate our schools with our child’s talented teacher, or…

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Jersey Jazzman: The Death of the Merit Pay Fairy in Newark

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jersey Jazzman has posted an obituary for the Merit Pay Fairy. He says it died in Newark, when teachers negotiated a new contract, deep-sixing a Merit Payplan that they endorsed in 2012.

JJ demonstrates with facts and evidence that merit pay failed.

He begins:

The Merit Pay Fairy lives in the dreams of right-wing think tanks and labor economists, who are absolutely convinced that our current teacher pay system — based on seniority and educational attainment — is keeping teachers from achieving their fullest potential. It matters little that even the most generous readings of the research find practically small effects* of switching to pay-for-performance systems, or that merit pay in other professions is quite rare (especially when it is based on the performance of others; teacher merit pay is, in many contexts, based on student, and not teacher, performance).

Merit pay advocates also rarely acknowledge that adult developmental theory…

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Gov. Wolf Tries to Stop Charter Schools Gorging on Public School Funding


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Sooey! Here Pig Pig Pig!

No one minds that healthy call at the hog farm when it’s time to feed the sows.

But taxpayers do take issue with it when it’s the call of the state legislature gathering a different kind of swine around public tax dollars.

Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools gobbled up $1.8 billion last year from the Commonwealth’s public schools.

And Gov. Tom Wolf is refusing to let them continue to gorge on public funding meant to nourish everyone.

Last week, he took executive action to hold these schools accountable and force them to be more transparent – even if the legislature won’t.

Charter schools are publicly financed but privately run. Unlike authentic public schools, charters are often administered by appointed boards. They don’t have to provide the same level of services for children, don’t have to accept all students, can make a…

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Why is union membership bleeding where the Red State Teacher Revolts took place?

Fred Klonsky


Michael Antonucci is no friend of teacher unions.

He’s a libertarian who has covered the teacher union beat for years. He has his own blog and pens theUnion Report for The 74.

When I was a regular delegate to the NEA Representative Assemblies, I would sometimes drop by the reporter coral (they weren’t allowed on the convention floor) and exchange views.

We differed on politics but his facts were dead on. Even a high-level NEA staffer confided in me that they often turned to Antonucci’s reports to find out what was really going on inside the NEA.

His latest data shows that in blue states Janus has had very little impact on union membership.

In red right-to-work states, membership is bleeding.

The biggest losers were Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Each was a right-to-work state…

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Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset

Diane Ravitch's blog

What do you call a political figure who opposes protecting our elections from foreign interference?

Read what Dana Milbank of the Washington Post said. 

Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.

This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves.

Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.

Robert Mueller sat before Congress this week warning that the Russia threat “deserves the attention of every American.” He said “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious” challenges to American democracy he has ever seen…

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