All posts by rockhound2

I am a 13 year earth science teacher in a suburban school district in upstate NY. I spent 20 years working as a professional geologist before becoming a teacher.

Rand Study: Gates Foundation Wasted $575 Million on Teacher Evaluation Initiative

Gate’s initiative turned out as good as his Windows Me(h).

Diane Ravitch's blog

Remember the excitement about using test scores to measure teacher effectiveness? Remember Raj Chetty, who expected to win a Nobel Prize for his research on teacher effectiveness tied to test scores? Remember the heated debate about whether a single teacher could produce huge lifetime gains in earnings? Remember when reformers confidently asserted that they knew how to identify the best and worst teachers (by the rise or fall of student scores)? Remember the starry-eyed predictions that schools would get rid of all the “bad” teachers and would soon have only “great” teachers. The architects of Obama’s Race to the Top were so impressed by these claims that they required states to change their laws to require this method of evaluating teachers. Most such laws are still in force.

A new study by the Rand Institute finds that this initiative failed. The Gates Foundation spent $575 million to implement this policy…

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NPE and Schott Foundation Release Report Card for the States on Privatization of Public School Funds

Diane Ravitch's blog

Today, the Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation for Public Education released the first ever state-by-state report card on privatization of public funds intended for public schools.

It is titled: “Grading the States: A Report Card on Our Nation’s Commitment to Public Schools.”

Where does your state rank?

Is your state diverting public funds for privately managed charter schools?

Does your state offer vouchers for unregulated, unaccountable religious and private schools?

Does your state have neovoucher schools that encourage corporations and wealthy individuals to underwrite the cost of religious and private education instead of paying taxes to support public schools?

Billions of dollars are being diverted from public schools to pay for tuition in nonpublic schools, some of which hire uncertified teachers and some of which enroll students who were previously enrolled in private schools.

The big takeaway from this report is that every dollar that goes…

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North Carolina: Legislator Proposes Law to Require Teachers to Report Movies Shown in Class

It shouldn’t stop there either. We should probably have the legislature vet our lessons, OK our worksheets, and maybe even approve what words are allowable to be spoken in class.

These cretins need to be voted out of office so grownups can serve instead.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The General Assembly in North Carolina has members with nothing to do except harass teachers and attack public schools. The Republicans who control the legislature should be a national laughing stock. This is the same legislature that rushed through the state budget without allowing time for debate or discussion.

In the latest idiotic move, Rep. Justin Burr proposed legislation that would require teachers to compile careful records about which movies they show in class and report to the Legislature.

“House Bill 1079 would require all North Carolina school districts and charter schools to report to the state which movies were shown during instructional time this school year from November through January and from April through June. Schools would also be required to say when the movies were shown, the amount of time they were shown and the instructional purpose for viewing them.

“Monthly totals would also be required on the…

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Peter Greene: Progressives Do Not Endorse Privatization of Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

As a rule, if a progressive shares any part of Betsy DeVos’s agenda, chances are he or she is not a progressive. Progressives usually support public schools governed by a democratic entity; progressives believe that teachers should have the right to bargain collectively and to seek better funding and better working conditions for the students and staff; progressives think that all teachers should be well educated and certified; progressives believe that educators, students, and families should be treated with respect; progressives believe that civil rights law should be enforced; progressives work towards a society that is fair and just to all its citizens. Progressives do not defend racial segregation.

That’s my peroration.

Now comes Peter Greene’s response to Conor Williams’s loopy claim that progressives should defend charter schools even though they are segregated and non-union. Peter notes that Conor’s teaching experience was limited to a couple of years at the…

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New York: Parents Demand Complete Repeal of State Teacher Evaluation Law

Diane Ravitch's blog

Just posted:

More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190;
Jeanette Deutermann (516) 902-9228;
NY State Allies for Public Education – NYSAPE

Link to Press Release

Parents Demand the NY Legislature Repeal the Education Transformation Act & APPR; Stop Playing Political Games with Our Children’s Education

NY State Allies for Public Education, a coalition of over 50 parent and educator groups active across the state, vehemently opposes the new teacher evaluation bill, passed by the NYS Assembly and now being considered by the NY Senate as S08301. This bill would change the teacher evaluation system in the state for the fourth time since 2010. This bill, like the current evaluation system, fails the most important measure, it does absolutely nothing to alleviate the impact a test-and-punish system has had on our children.

Contrary to the claims of some of its supporters, a careful…

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What’s Wrong with Charter Schools? A Short Explanation for the Uninitiated

Diane Ravitch's blog

Every so often, a friend who is not deep into education issues asks for a short explanation of why I oppose charter schools. Didn’t Obama and Duncan support them? But now Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers support them? I keep meaning to write a brief summary but have not had time.

Recently a friend in California wrote an explanation that might serve the purpose.

What’s wrong with charter schools? The picture in California*

Charter schools take resources away from the public schools, harming public schools and their students. All charter schools do this – whether they’re opportunistic and for-profit or presenting themselves as public, progressive and enlightened.

Charter schools are free to pick and choose and exclude or kick out any student they want. They’re not supposed to, but in real life there’s no enforcement. Many impose demanding application processes, or use mandatory “intake counseling,” or require work hours…

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Jake Jacobs: Test-Based Teacher Evaluation is Absurd

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jake Jacobs, an art teacher in New York, commends Cynthia Nixon for calling for the repeal of New York State’s teacher evaluation law, which was imposed to comply with Race to the Top. After Nixon spoke out, the State Assembly cobbled together a pretend repeal of the law, which does not actually change anything since districts will still be required to use a test, but only a test approved by the state commissioner. Critics of the bill fear it will double the amount of testing by adding local tests to state tests.

At lest, Nixon had the courage to call for a flat out repeal of a useless and ineffective method of evaluating teachers.

Consider how Jake Jacobs is evaluated.

“Where I teach, we have two days of federally mandated math tests, two days of English Language Arts tests, and two days of Science tests for 8th graders. Then, because…

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