Koch Brothers Plan to Disrupt Public Education, the “Lowest Hanging Fruit”

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a shocking development: The infamous billionaire Koch brothers have a plan to disrupt American education, beginning with five states.

Their goal is to break up the public education system and enable public funding to flow to every kind of school, whether religious, private, homeschooling, for-profit, anything and everything. They call it “educational pluralism.” At the Koch Conference last year (700 people who paid $100,000 to attend), they declared that K-12 schooling was “the lowest hanging fruit,” and they planned to enter the field to disrupt public schools. Their ally Betsy DeVos paved the way.

The Koch brothers are living proof that this country needs a new tax structure to disrupt their billions, which they use to destroy whatever belongs to the public.

The Washington Post reports:

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The donor network led by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch will launch a new organization next month to focus…

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Challenging the myths about teachers

Happy to reblog this.
Well said!

Live Long and Prosper

It’s always dangerous to read comments on the internet. The anonymity afforded users makes it easy for them to rant, bitch, and promote myths and lies. The last week of 2018 was no different.

The Wall Street Journal posted the following article on Dec. 28th…

Teachers Quit Jobs at Highest Rate on Record by Michelle Hackman and Eric Morath. (Note: This article is behind a paywall. You can read a review of the article at The Hill, Teachers in America quitting jobs at record rate)

The authors discussed the teacher shortage, last year’s state-wide teacher strikes, and the lack of support that teachers get. You can read about all that on your own…today I’m going to focus on the comments the article generated.

Now, I know that the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is very conservative so it’s not surprising that many of the people who comment…

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Class Warfare, American Style–Part II–Privatize, Deregulate, Outsource & Offshore

Rcooley123's Blog

Privatizing, deregulating, outsourcing and offshoring of various functions have become major goals for conservative forces in America. They all serve to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a small percentage of the populace at the expense of the rest while claiming to increase efficiency, lower costs and grow the economy. They all neglect the purposes for which the activities were made public or regulated to begin with. They cost real people good paying jobs, endangering the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. Inequality in income and wealth is increasing as a result, along with a real drop in the opportunity for advancement by the vast majority of people in our society.

One area where privatization has seen a push in recent years is public education reform. Prisons have been another target for corporate takeover of government functions. Both provide major public services affecting society as a…

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Arthur Camins: Schools Must Teach the Duty to Vote, Which Matters More Than Test Scores

Amen brother!

Diane Ravitch's blog

In close elections, every vote counts. Young people fought to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, but the youngest voters have low voting rates.

Arthur Camins writes that schools must encourage a sense of civic responsility in their students, this, GE says, is more important than test scores. Perhaps we should judge schools by the voting rates of their graduates in the four years after they leave school, not their scores.

He begins:

Predictably, the releases of the recent ACT and SAT scores prompted the usual alarms and cautions. Maybe these results are cause for concern. However, something else about K-12 education is more alarming: Young people who graduate and do not vote.

At this time and in this moment, the most important outcome of PK-12 education is citizens who vote. We need an education system intentionally designed to engage students to understand their values, exercise sound…

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California: Tuck Refuses to Withdraw or Apologize for Vicious Campaign Ad Smearing Thurmond

Diane Ravitch's blog

Will big money buy the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California? Will false ads carry Marshall Tuck to victory?

The ACLU OF Northern California condemned the Marshall Tuck campaign for mailers falsely asserting that it had “sued Tony Thurmond.” It had not, and the ACLU demanded that the campaign withdraw the ad and offer an apology to Thurmond. Tuck refused.

Tuck is running a campaign based on lies. His character has been revealed. Will the public catch on in time to stop him? Or will the public believe Tuck’s scurrilous attack ads? It is possible. Tuck has an astonishing amount of money to spend. But should California’s schools be overseen by a person of such low ethics and character.

A thought for Marshall Tuck (written by sportswriter Grantland Rice):

“For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name,
He writes—not that you won or…

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Forbes: “How America Is Breaking Public Education”: By Forgetting the Cardinal Rule of Success

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ethan Siegel, a senior contributor to Forbes, understood what was happening to public education well before the wave of teacher strikes in the spring of 2018. America was literally destroying public education with ill-advised policies and was not reacting to the failure of these policies with common sense. (Please ignore the use of the word “industries” in his article, as he is addressing it to business people.)

The ultimate dream of public education is incredibly simple. Students, ideally, would go to a classroom, receive top-notch instruction from a passionate, well-informed teacher, would work hard in their class, and would come away with a new set of skills, talents, interests, and capabilities. Over the past few decades in the United States, a number of education reforms have been enacted, designed to measure and improve student learning outcomes, holding teachers accountable for their students’ performances. Despite these well-intentioned programs, including No Child…

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Education Week: Bias or Bad Reporting?

I call them moochers, thieves, and grifters.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Week posted an article by Madeline Will reporting that the National Education Association had lost 17,000 members since the Janus decision. The NEA has more than 3 million members. It had already reported that it immediately lost 88,000 members who were paying “agency fees,” paying dues reluctantly while collecting benefits negotiated by the union. The NEA has projected a possible loss of up to 300,000 members and planning to cut its budget.

Where does the report come from about the recent loss of 17,000 members? The 74, an anti-union, pro-privatization website funded by billionaires and founded by anti-union Campbell Brown. What was the source of The 74 report? Mike Antonucci, a writer who specializes in spying on unions and sending out any bad news he can find. Antonucci is probably the most virulently anti-union reporter in the nation. He calls his website the “education intelligence agency.” He won an…

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The Progressive: Will the “Save Our Schools” Movement Determine the Election Results?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ruth Conniff, editor of “The Progressive,” suggests that the Save Our Schools Movement could be the determining factor in the midterm elections.

She writes:

The “education spring” protests, in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, won increases in teacher pay and education budgets, launched hundreds of teachers into campaigns for political office, and showed massive support for public schools this year. In Wisconsin and other states, education is a key issue in the 2018 governor’s race. Public opinion has turned against budget cuts, school vouchers, and the whole “test and punish” regime.

“The corporate education reform movement is dying,” Diane Ravitch, the Network’s founder declared. “We are the resistance, and we are winning!”

As the Save Our Schools movement swept the nation this year, blaming “bad teachers” for struggling schools also appears to have gone out of style.

A Time Magazine cover story on teachers who are underpaid…

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What You Need to Know About FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Earlier today, I posted about FUD, but I didn’t link to the article I wrote in Huffington Post in 2014.

The article was called “Understanding the Propaganda Campaign Against Public Education.”

Here it is.

Here is the Wikipedia history of FUD.

If you understand the purposeful uses of FUD, you can see the propaganda techniques employed by “reformers” to undermine public education.

The FUD campaign says “our public schools are failing,” “our public schools are obsolete,” “our public schools haven’t changed in a century,” but it is all disinformation.

It is FUD.

Our public schools are NOT failing. Our public schools are NOT obsolete. Our public schools have changed in many ways in the past century

The FUD purveyors will not tell you that charter schools do not get better test scores than public schools and usually get worse scores. They won’t tell you that more than 90% of charter…

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