Comments: Jan. 17th-Feb. 22, 2019

Curriculum, Instruction, and “Build and Support” measures

Report shows positive effects of a continuous improvement strategy in California. The first section of the report briefly explains the policy context in California and the history of the CORE districts’ collaboration. The second part of the report details four major lessons learned from the CIC this year:

1.  The simultaneous goals of improving math achievement while building capacity for continuous improvement offer both benefits and challenges for the CORE Districts.

2.  Districts have a pivotal role to play in supporting and sustaining continuous improvement efforts focused on classroom instruction.

3.  Context matters. Preexisting structures and processes, time for educator collaboration, and supportive leadership all influence continuous improvement efforts.

4.  District and school leaders are excited about the potential of continuous improvement to spur deep and lasting improvement.

A great resource guide for continuous improvement. Look at the resource guide folder.  

Learning Policy Institute’s positive report on the benefits of pre-school education.  

An important 19 minutes discussion with Dylan Wiliam author of Creating the Schools Our Children Need

Paying teachers what they’re worth.

The importance of treating teachers with respect.

Teachers respond to Don Trump Jr.’s “teachers are losers” comment.

Marc Tucker writes about high performing schools systems.

NCEE: How to recruit the best teachers.

Curriculum matters.

Michael Petrilli writes about the availability of high quality instructional materials.  

Three ways to improve teaching about slavery.

Most Texans like their public schools and want to spend more on them.

College prep rates are up in California.

Curmudgucation: classroom practice ideas for reformers.

Jan Resseger: We’ll Have to Reduce Test-and-Punish. Talking about Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough

Charters, Vouchers, and Privatization

The dangers to democracy of the privatization movement.

Jeff Bryant: Los Angeles teachers see charter school expansion as an existential threat to public education and  

Jan Resseger: By Striking, Teachers Are Demonstrating Society’s Failure to Value our Children and Their Schools. and Striking Teachers are Changing the Narrative about Education. and Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom  and

The true story of the Denver teacher’s strike.

ALEC and corporate reformers are trying to negate the positive results of recent teacher strikes.

State school board association president Linda Lyon: Privatization push in Arizona creates a teacher shortage crisis.

As a result of the DeVos charter and voucher privatization plan, Michigan schools have declined in funding more than any other state in the last 25 years and performance plummeted.

Despite failures of charter schools in Michigan, DeVos awards the state $47 million for charter expansion.

Three states travails in trying to close failing for-profit on-line charter schools.

Not enough NC students want vouchers.

The failure of market reforms in Sweden.

Bill Phillis: Stop wasting money on charter schools and fund real public schools.

District warns that charter school funding could bankrupt the district.

Koch brothers plan to disrupt public education in five states. and

Dallas chamber of commerce disrupts public schools in the city.

Sham charter reform in Arizona exempts major charter chains.

Major charter problems in Camden, New Jersey by Jersey Jazzman.

North Carolina teacher finds that the rapid charter expansion in the state is harming public education.

Charters in Washington state made no difference in performance.

Ann Cronin: Time to get rid of charter schools in Connecticut.

Steven Singer: 10 out of 15 online charters are operating without a charter in Pennsylvania and must be closed.

Texas vouchers are dead.

Jan Resseger: In lease agreements charter management organizations rip off their students and the public.

Diane Ravitch reports on the over-saturation of the charter school market.

More embezzlements by charter executives. and  

Another charter schools closure.

What does it take to support charter schools?

This closure is more abrupt.

New charter schools in Texas get more funding than public schools.

There’s a backlash against charter schools. What’s happening and why.

Jan Resseger: Are Charter Schools Losing their Cachet? Is the Narrative Shifting?

Will Los Angeles School District close down failing charter schools?

Technology and Personalized Learning

Giving every student a computer instead of time with a teacher is a misguided policy.


Jan Resseger: Chalkbeat Disputes Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative’s Claim that Summit–“Personalized”–Learning is Research-Based

Students walk out in Kansas to protest tech based Summit learning program.

Forbes: Can tech oriented AltSchool save itself from failure?;

Literature review of tech effects in math.  

Has edtech investment worked?

The pros and cons of classroom robots.

A report urges caution on AI in the classroom.

Reform foibles

Problems with NY’s teacher evaluation law.

Problems with the portfolio model.  

 Jan Resseger finds major problems with portfolio management ideas undertaken in many urban districts creating an unstable charter schools sector and too many unwarranted school closures.

Tom Ultican finds the portfolio model in Denver to be a failure.

The failure of state control in Camden by Jersey Jazzman.

The failure of the “reform package” in Newark.

Andrea Gabor: Why Bonuses and Merit Pay Fail. Also see  Dylan Wiliam author of Creating the Schools Our Children Need

Problems with test obsessed principals.

Problems with proficiency cut scores and a national high-stakes test-driven reform strategy.

How neglect caused an outstanding schools to become a failing school in 12 years.

Nathan Robinson: Race to the Top was a disaster and should never be repeated.

Corruption in Indiana over public education.

Will Pinkston: Race to the Top turned into a war against public schools in Tennessee

The Difficulty of Cleaning Arne Duncan’s Awful Policies Out of the Laws of 50 States

New York calls a very successful school “a failure” and parents strenuously object.

Closing schools doesn’t always work.

Are the Texas test scores rigged against students? m

Comments Dec. 18th, 2018-Jan. 16th, 2019

COMMENTS Dec. 19th, 2018 to Jan. 16th, 2019

Build and Support Efforts

Here is a summary of two years of weekly presentations on a variety of key educational improvement topics by some of the top researchers and practitioners in the nation with links and slides.  

Tom Ultican favorably reviews Andrea Gabor’s terrific new book After the Education Wars. I’ve read the book. It is a must read and I especially like Gobor’s stressing of positive build and support principles such as engagement and the use of public school examples of where build and support has worked. Another favorable review by Peter Greene Deming yes. Taylorism, no.

Forbes article on the importance of history and civics.  

Jal Mehta on leadership for deeper learning.

The Lawsuit That Could Change the Face of Civics Education.  

How one district tackled its low reading performance.

 Fortune: America is Losing Teachers at an Alarming Rate

Jan Resseger: Decades of research support community schools in New York City. and David Kirp’s article in the NYTimes

Charter, Voucher, Corporate Reform, and Privatization Issues

Carol Burris: Can charters be reformed? She lists five major problems with the charter school industry.

Peter Greene: LA teacher’s strike is different—the union is bargaining for public school survival and quality. Similarly, a thoughtful article by Jan Resseger on the meaning of the LA strike, Steven Singer: LA teacher strike is about excessive charter expansion and high-stakes testing. and Miriam Pawel writing in the New York Times finds aggressive charter expansion in LA is a root cause of the teacher’s strike. She writes: Can California provide sufficient resources to support an effective public education system? Or will charter schools cripple it?”

Jeff Bryant: Choice Has Become an Excuse for Charter and Voucher Schools to Discriminate

Nancy Bailey: Arne Duncan continues to push dangerous corporate school reforms.

A batch of Diane Ravitch postings: The problems of skimming. What the teacher strike was all about.

This Indiana on-line school graduated just 2% of its students in 2018.

Common Cause, Connecticut against moneyed interests pushing charters.

Thomas Ultican: Anti-public school forces retooling for 2019.

Peter Greene: How charters damage public schools in PA.


Backlash against personalized learning. Report offers seven proposals for corrective action.

Peter Greene: 8 reasons not to love personalized learning.

Peter Greene: Why teachers don’t use the software their districts paid for.

Technology Review: The biggest tech failures of 2018.

Comments Nov. 18th-Dec.18th


Build and Support Items

Preparation for capable citizenship should be a primary goal of public education.

Civic Education: Our Democratic Responsibility

Ed Source: Public education must promote participation in democratic process

A US News and World Report on civic education in the US: Uniformed and Unengaged

CRPE: Rethinking traditional high-school college/career continuum. Alternative rigorous pathways for the non-4yr college bound.

Is college just for job preparation or for something broader? The Wisconsin debacle. Eliminating history as a major.

Jan Resseger reviews Bruce Baker’s book  on the importance of adequate funding for schools. Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America’s Students

New report shows economic development incentive tax breaks to entice corporations cost schools nearly $2 billion last year.

Learning Policy Institute report: Want to increase high school graduation rates? Count diplomas earned in the 5th year and beyond and avoid districts forgetting about students who fail to graduate on time.

Learning Policy Institute: What Detroit and Chicago can teach us about student growth and school rating systems.

Michael Hynes and William Doyle, What we can learn from Finland—a 12 step program.

Is “Proficient” the right measure of student success?

Commentary: Why Doesn’t Every Teacher Know the Research on Reading Instruction?

National Education Policy Center: Conversation about the Reading Wars, Sparked by a New Documentary about Literacy Instruction: Q&A with Elizabeth Moje, Dean of the University of Michigan School of Education

What California can learn from other states about universal pre-school.


Charter and Privatization Issues

Diane Ravitch: Beware—privatization vandals target 7 cities for destruction and takeover of public education.

Choice? Parents fight DC bureaucracy for a school in their neighborhood.

Resseger: Why School Choice Ends Up Creating Injustice and Inequality and a report by Mead and Eckes:  How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination

Jeff Bryant: Why urban communities of color are increasingly rejecting charter schools. mail_subject=why-urban-communities-of-color-are-increasingly-rejecting-charter-schools

Carol Burris: Five reasons why charter schools can’t be reformed.

Nancy Bailey “Stop the For-Profit Charter Scam in Nevada”

Mercedes Schneider: New York Times Exposes Louisiana School’s 100-Percent-College-Acceptance Lie, and More and

How can a school with 100 graduation rate be rated as a failing school?

Diane Ravitch: The Resistance pushes back against corporate reformers in Indianapolis

Ravitch: Lame duck tea party legislature delivers gut punch to public schools.

Why the secrecy surrounding this lucrative charter chain in Utah?

How to talk to your family about privatization by Jeremey Mohler.

The disastrous effects of privatization in Chile. and Sweden and why did Sweden adopt a radical choice plan by Sam Abrams?

Sleazy on-line charter school operator in Arizona pays himself another $1.3 million. and

On-line charter school in New Mexico is paid $6 million for students who have already left.

Chalkbeat: “Indiana’s War On Teachers Is Winning”

Massachusetts is forcing New Bedford to pay $25 million to expand a second-rate charter school. Why?

Tultican: How a San Diego charter school chain, Thrive, is lucrative for its operators but not for its students.

In Philadelphia, no accountability for failing charter schools.

Peter Greene: New Florida governor designates team to crush public education consisting of religious zealots and profiteers.

Indiana’s scandalous voucher program which was substantially expanded by Mike Pence.

Montana Supreme Court finds tuition tax credits (vouchers) unconstitutional.

Mercedes Schneider: New Orleans superintendent is having to emergency revoke a large number of charters.

Oklahoma Republican County Chairman advocates the state stop paying for public schools. (I thought public school supporters won that battle in the 19th century.)

“Reform” failures

Jan Resseger: Faith in High Stakes Testing Fades, Even Among the Corporate School Reformers

A Hechinger report: Federal innovation program gets minimal results.

How much should test scores matter?

Betsy DeVos decimated Michigan’s public schools by Tom Ultican

Jan Resseger: DeVos Again Protects For-Profit Colleges and Federal Loan Servicing Contractor at Expense of Vulnerable Students

Diane Ravitch reviews Eve Ewing’s award winning Ghosts in the Schoolyard

Mike Klonsky reviews Rham’s questionable assertions about his educational accomplishment.

An education law center calls for an end to state takeovers in New Jersey.

A teacher explains why so many young teachers are hostile to “reformers”.


Technology Dilemmas

Six questions we should be asking about “personalized learning”.

The Backlash Against Personalized Learning

Can technology be dangerous to child development?

Students walk out of an Idaho school and call the technology driven instruction a hoax.

Comments Oct. 17th, 2018-Nov. 17, 2018

“Build and Support” news

Stanford Professor David Labaree: Public schools for private gain: The declining American commitment to serving the public good.

USA Today followed 15 of America’s teachers on a day of frustrations, pressures and hard-earned victories

Where in the world are teachers most respected?

NCEE: Nine building blocks of successful school systems.

Why is Canada a superstar in education? Low inequality, high teacher pay, and selective entry into teaching.

WestEd report on implementation. Our chief takeaways from three years of research: Implementation isn’t simple or linear. Implementation is iterative, recursive, and never-ending.

The Learning Policy Institute produces a first-rate, balanced report on school choice. Toward A System of Schools Worth Choosing

California districts make collaboration a key component of teacher evaluation

Improving teaching conditions goes hand in hand with boosting student success.

How teachers designed a school centered on caring relationships.

Michelle Pearson, a Colorado teacher of the year, argues for schools to stop neglecting social studies and civics.

Another plea for revitalized civic engagement education.

What does improvement science look like in the classroom?

School Poverty Rates: How High Before They Harm Students?

Correlation of poverty, race, and college preparation in five charts.

A must read article about how one district made huge gains in teaching reading by avoiding “balanced literacy” guessing strategies and explicitly teaching phonics.

The importance of phonics in developing foundational reading skills.

Sue Pimentel on starting a national conversation on reading instruction.

What literacy skills do students actually need?

Pamela Burdman report from Just Equations, The Mathematics of Opportunity: Rethinking the Role of Math in Educational Equity

Marc Tucker argues for better preparation of non-four-year college students.

MDRC’s review of Career/Tech programs. Finds evidence of success but raises several areas to improve.

Mike Rose proves test scores don’t accurately measure student growth.

Jack Schneider proposes broader methods of measuring schools performance. Also see Larry Cuban’s review: and Washington Post opinion piece

Another alternative way of measuring schools from Massachusetts

Connecticut’s richest women stops funding charters and instead invests in public schools

Peter Greene bemoans society’s failure to invest in schools.

Jeff Bryant: Advocating for public school support helped Democrats tremendously in Nov. elections in the Midwest.

Jeff Bryant on what school funding advocates should learn from the midterm elections.

Marc Tucker warns of teacher colleges’ performance. and

Strict immigration enforcement harms children.


Tribulations of “Reform” and Privatization policies

Diane Ravitch on Forbes article: How American is Breaking Public Education; By Forgetting the Cardinal Rule of Success (Treat your employees as professionals)

John Morrow reviews the failure of “reform”.

John Thompson: The Negative Effects of Corporate Reform and Disinvestment in Education

What happens when government services are privatized? The cautionary tale of the National Weather Service.

John Thompson: Is the Corporate Reform Goliath Truly Dead? Part One.

Report by C. Kirabo Jackson in the conservative Education Next finds that measures primarily emphasizing test scores and neglecting non-cognitive skills penalize the most effective teachers and schools. I find that, while teachers have notable effects on both test scores and non-cognitive skills, their impact on non-cognitive skills is 10 times more predictive of students’ longer-term success in high school than their impact on test scores. We cannot identify the teachers who matter most by using test-score impacts alone, because many teachers who raise test scores do not improve non-cognitive skills, and vice versa.

Review of a new book demonstrating the disastrous effects of closing 50 schools in Chicago in 2013. Eve Ewing’s new book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, explores the blindness, deafness, and heartlessness of technocratic, “portfolio school reform”* as it played out in 50 school closings in Chicago at the end of the school year in 2013.

Another report on the detrimental effect of privatization in Chicago.

Examining the myth of accountability, high-stakes testing and the achievement gap

by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig

Laura Chapman’s take on Ohio’s destructive use of report cards.

Take heart, NC teachers. You are more than you EVASS score.

Diane Ravitch reviews a report by William Gumbert on what taxpayers should know about privatization in Texas by Bill Gumbert and asks: This is an important collection of data about the funding of public schools and charter schools in Texas. Do you think that taxpayers know that they are funding two separate school systems, one governed by elected, accountable school boards and the other governed by private, self-selected, unaccountable school boards? Do you think that the public knows that district public schools outperform charter schools?

Peter Greene in Forbes magazine tells the sad story of how privatization and neglect destroyed education in Kansas City. and Tom Ultican finds a similar result.

Connecticut school district tried and rejected Summit Learning Program which focused on computer driven instruction.; New York students walkout to protest Summit Learning Program; an explanation of the walkout; and a letter to Zuckerberg by students explaining why the program wasn’t working.

Here two critiques of personalized learning, the first by a top teacher in AltSchools. and another by NPR

A three part series by Nellie Bowles in the NY Times article on how the rich are avoiding digital screens for their children while it is being foisted on poor children. Silicon Valley: “The Devil Lives in Our Phones.” Why Tech Experts Limit Access to Technology for Their Own Children.; In America’s Schools, the Rich Get Teachers, the Poor Get Computers; Why Silicon Valley Nannies Are Paid to Keep Children Away from Screens.

Michael Petrilli argues that sub-group differences may be overblown

Diane Ravitch reports on dangerous privatization efforts in San Antonio

Bruce Baker finds fault with New Orleans market reforms.

District letter grades mostly grade poverty levels.

Sweetheart deal or pure incompetence. Kansas will pay $270,000 to Teach for America for three teachers.


Charter School and Voucher Issues

The story of a successful community based charter school.

Jan Resseger: Bruce Baker’s New Book on School Finance Develops a Scathing Critique of Charter School Expansion

Sue Legg chronicles the detrimental history of school choice in Florida.;;;

NYTimes finds charter schools face backlash from a new wave of Democrats in NY and other states.

District encounters difficulties in closing a low performing charter school

Edd Doerr on the long history of voter rejection of vouchers.

Diane Ravitch warning to Arizona: Vouchers Do Not “Save  Poor Kids from Failing Schools”

Tennessee columnist rips arguments for vouchers.

Peter Greene asks “Is school choice at odds with community?

New Bedford opposes charter school expansion.

Charter founder in New Mexico goes to prison for embezzling millions

Charter operator in Florida receives 20 yr sentence for fraud and $5mil fine.

The promises charter schools don’t make.

The fraud in charter claims of 100% college acceptance rates.

Diane Ravitch: No Charter Waiting Lists! Charters Hire Firm to Market Their Brands NY city DOE busted for providing information on public school kids to outfits pitching charters..

Diane Ravitch: Stephen Dyer: The ECOT Scandal Was Even Worse Than We Knew

Another Ravitch article. Parents in Arizona use voucher money for personal not educational expenditures.

Comments 9/12/18-10/17/18


Build and Support Best Practices

Students, please take a humanities course. We will all benefit.

A massive set of research papers on what California education is doing right and where it needs to improve. Fodder for educational wonks.

A paper claiming that California’s Local Control Initiative was a success and that increased funding produced results.

The case for spending 32% more on California schools.

Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom’s cradle to career education plan for California.

New study finds that all growth of new non-BA good jobs has been in middle-skills jobs requiring community college/tech prep type education.

Marc Tucker: Trust is essential to improving school performance.

Want to improve schools? Look to teacher leaders.

How to transform a struggling school. Hint: It’s not the “reform” agenda.

The important role of principals’ supervisors.

Mike Smith on why it’s wrong to write off the Federal SIG program.

Steve Singer: the six biggest problems with data-driven instruction.

Why pre-school should not be like Amazon.


Reform Foibles

New report confirms that test scores almost perfectly mirror socio-economic status of students.

Closing 50+ Chicago schools in low-income areas was a disaster.

After seven years the failure of the state Tennessee Achievement District which took over local schools is official.

Jersey Jazzman defends NJ reducing test scores for evaluating teachers to 5%.

Larry Cuban on “personalized learning”—the difference between a policy and a strategy. and Also see Curmudgucation’s critique of personalized learning programs.

Learning from what doesn’t work in teacher evaluation—a review by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Diane Ravitch reviews professor Jim Miller’s article on the failure of corporate based “reform” and the power of a “build and support” approach.

Hey, Texas: Don’t Delete Helen Keller from the Curriculum: She Inspires Everyone!

The problems with college remediation policies.


Privatization and Defunding of Public Schools

I work three jobs and donate blood plasma to make ends meet. This is what it’s like to be a teacher in America.

Similarly, the NYTimes on what teachers are doing to make ends meet.

Jeff Bryant asks, “What happens when communities lose their public schools for good?  Michigan may soon find out.”

Report from the Network for Public Education: How the super-rich buy elections to undermine public schools.  Another review of the report by Curmudgucation;

Jeff Bryant on how wealthy people are destroying public education one donation at a time.

Diane Ravitch: The Guardian Reports on the Showdown Between the Koch Brothers and the Parents/Teachers of Arizona

Diane Ravitch posted: Arizona is hurtling back a century or more. The state superintendent of education has invited an anti-evolutionist to review the state science standards. The writer for the Arizona Republic, Laurie Roberts, is quick to spot frauds and quacks in the Ed world.

US shortchanged public schools by hundreds of billions of dollars.


Charter and Voucher issues

Jeff Bryant–Charter School Corruption is Changing Education Policies and Practices

Andrea Gabor—when school choice means no choice.

How charter school operators enrich themselves.

Ravitch: Hedge fund manager says that investing in charter schools is the easiest money he ever made.

Report on the malign effects of charter schools in Florida with suggestions for improvement.

Unbelievable. Diane Ravitch: Florida voucher fraud stiffs teachers and taxpayers and no one cares.

Diane Ravitch: If you want to understand where the big bucks are in the charter industry, look at the real estate deals. and Diane Ravitch blows the whistle on lucrative real estate deals by some charter schools.

What Should We Really Learn From New Orleans After the Storm? A Q&A With NEPC Fellow Bruce Baker

Disgraceful charter self-dealing in Arizona—a state with some of the most porous charter school laws in the country.

Diane Ravitch the bizarre story of a charter founder who went to prison for tax fraud with charter school funds still collects rent from the charter school.

Diane Ravitch: Texas: IDEA Charter Chain Plans to Saturate El Paso Region with 20 New Unneeded Charters

California’s new prohibition against for-profit charters plugs many loopholes but still more needs to be done.

The profiteering behind the effort to expand charter schools in Kentucky by Jeff Bryant.

Nevada Republicans promise to create more vouchers and charter schools if they win state races.

An investigation into Florida’s voucher schools finds alarming results.

Gary Rubenstein pens a rebuke to large donors to NY City’s Success Academy.

DeVos gives Delaware $10.4 million to expand charter schools despite lack of demand.

Two senators call for an investigation into online charter schools.

Charter school praised by the NYTimes is in academic distress.

Diane Ravitch on an article by Mitchell Robinson contending that Michigan charter schools have done more harm than good.

Virtual schools continue to grow in Michigan despite high failure rate.

The federal inspector general condemns DOE for lax supervision of charter dollars—again!

August/September Comments 8/12/18-9/11/18

Build and Support Discussion

Schools have a nobler purpose than just career prep.

The value of play in promoting democratic ideals.

Little known BARR program raises performance for 9th graders across the board.

Report on the advantage of early education and care around the world.

NY Times magazine report on how teachers improve student performance in Atlanta.

What does science say about sex-ed?

Teacher pay gap widening in the US.

American Progress report on the use of quality instructional materials.

Amazing results from an after-school program.

Aligned math curriculum successful.

Increased spending raises math performance.

Building a solid foundation to support quality teaching.

The state of Common Core reading in five charts.

Critique of STEM education neglecting the humanities.

Almost final version of fraction progressions by Bill McCallum

How teachers should use decodable texts in developing foundational reading skills.

Personalized learning’s weakest link.’s%20Weakest%20Link%3F&utm_campaign=August%202018%20CRPE%20newsletter

Is the decline in the humanities overstated?

Huge word gap based on socio-economics may not exist after all.


Reform Foibles

Report in Teachers College Record on Oklahoma A-F school rating system finds it is useless but invidious to schools.

Grading schools tends to reflect socio-economics not performance and some excellent schools receive low grades

Jan Resseger reviews Daniel Koretz’s The Testing Charade on how high stakes testing is ruining public education.

Andy Hargreaves: It’s time to scrap mandatory testing.

Everything important can’t be measured.

Pressuring schools to raise test scores has diminishing returns (and causes considerable collateral damage)

The racism behind state takeovers.

New Jersey trashes VAM.


Charter/Voucher Issues

California bans for-profit charter schools.

Study finds no test score gains for charters in Texas and negative impact on earnings.

This abstract summarizes their findings: “We estimate the impact of charter schools on early-life labor market outcomes using administrative data from Texas. We find that, at the mean, charter schools have no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings. No Excuses charter schools increase test scores and four-year college enrollment, but have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings, while other types of charter schools decrease test scores, four-year college enrollment, and earnings. Moving to school-level estimates, we find that charter schools that decrease test scores
also tend to decrease earnings, while charter schools that increase test scores have no discernible impact on earnings. In contrast, high school graduation effects are predictive of earnings effects throughout the distribution of school quality. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of what might explain our set of facts.”

The mendacity at the heart of charter advocates touting charter “miracles”.

Charter school marketing guide shows how to hype charter schools.

How Chris Christie allowed charter entrepreneurs to rip off the state.

How an Arizona legislator/charter school operator sold his chain for millions or how to get very rich in the ed biz.

CEO of failing online charter school gets an $8.8 million dollar bonus.

Stephen Dyer: Ohio Charters Present a Picture of Incompetence, Ineffectiveness, and Malfeasance

Former educational official finds corruption in Ohio for-profit charter and on-line schools.

Charter scam in Ohio and Florida.

No accountability for failing charters in Nevada.

What are the real lessons of New Orleans after the storm? ;

Arizona pays 75% more for subsidizing private school students.

Oakland parent on how charters are harming traditional public schools.

NY Times opinion piece—Choice is the enemy of justice.

Democracy Prep closes its charter school in DC.

Chaotic first year at Success Academy high-school in NYC.

Zombie charter school in Philadelphia.


Privatization Efforts

Tom Ultican writes a guide on the movement to destroy public schools.

“Hijacked by Billionaires: How the Super Rich Buy Elections to Undermine Public Schools”

Jeff Bryant writes on the attempted take-over of Louisville’s public schools by dark money. and how Betsy DeVos is protecting sleazy for-profit colleges.

How Arizona is cannibalizing its public schools.

Little Rock: Please don’t steal our public schools and our democracy.

Specious arguments against the legitimacy of public schools.

Expose of the privatization movement.

Comments 7/28/18-8/11/18

Build and Support Best Practices

The crucial importance of high-quality curriculum and instructional materials in school improvement efforts.

Fordham Institute: Reading and Writing Instruction in America’s schools.

What makes a good school culture?

Five best practices of successful school-site professional development.

From the Learning Policy Institute Blog: Fifty Years of Pursuing the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity by Arthur Wise.

Seven major issues with existing personalized learning programs by Peter Greene and a review by Larry Cuban

Charters, Vouchers, and Privatization

National Education Policy Center: Virtual Charter Schools are a Sham and Waste Taxpayers’ Dollars

Jeff Bryant: If you are against privatizing social security you should be alarmed at this new scheme aimed at public schools.

Our schools should not be for sale.

New Group Created by Rightwing Foundations to Promote More Charters in Cities by Chalkbeat, NY. The group is raising $200 million to promote the failed “portfolio” model.

An honest look in the New Yorker at one New Orleans charter school’s dilemma in facing the realities of a market driven system by a board member of the school.

Mitchell Robinson: Charter schools have caused more harm than good in Michigan. Instead of opening more of them here’s what we should do.

Another in the growing number of studies showing student’s receiving vouchers actually lose ground.

Diane Ravitch reports on a new Ohio organization formed to support public schools and fight “privatization, theft, and greed.

Ohio Taxpayers Charged $7.7 Million to Renovate Charter-School Building Valued at $2.4 Million

Diane Ravitch post an article by teacher Angie Sullivan: Everybody Is Laughing at Nevada and Its Failing Charter Schools.

Diane Ravitch reports on the buying and selling of failed charter schools to other large charter organizations. and a proposed charter school in a small rural area would devastate the existing the existing public school. Negative impact should be part of the criteria for whether a charter school is approved.

“Reform” Foibles

Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider podcast: Fear-Based “Reform” Doesn’t Work

The top ten reasons why teacher evaluation by student test scores has failed.

Jan Resseger reviews the AFT report on a decade of neglect of public schools by many states.

Jan Resseger comments on a PBS report on the massive closing of Chicago public schools causing death and destruction of student’s lives. Without a neighborhood school many students fearful of traveling to other areas just didn’t attend school.

Tom Ultican has had it with right-wing screeds against teachers and their unions.

Peter Greene: The fall of a self-promoting “reformer”.

July Comments 7/16-7/28


Build and Support

What states are doing to beef up civics education and engagement.

Civics overhaul in Massachusetts nears completion.

Principals say they want coaching not compliance from the central office.

Learning Policy Institutes review of Bruce Baker’s research report on How Money Matters for public schools.

AFT chronicles a decade of massive underfunding of public schools.

Diane Ravitch on how a problem based curriculum increases performance more then test prep.

Fragmented curriculum shortchanges students.

Fordham’s report on the state of reading and writing instruction in the US.

Seven things research does and does not reveal about AP courses.


Charter, Voucher, and Privatization Issues

Charter schools in Massachusetts temper “no excuses” approach.

Mercedes Schneider on the slowdown of growth of charter schools due to increased charter school closures.

Diane Ravitch on an insider’s view of the hoax of school choice in North Carolina.

Diane Ravitch on how the head of Ohio’s ECOT virtual charter chain embezzled millions, paid off legislators, and escaped the punishment due him.

NYC’s Success Academy’s  tribulations—huge salary for Moscowitz and 70% of its high-school teachers left this year.

Thomas Ultican on how charters and vouchers ruined public education in Milwaukee.

Deutsch29 argues that the almost all-charter school district in New Orleans is not a better way to run schools. and See also and

Jeff Bryant warns progressives about the renewed push for charter schools.

After adjusting for income private school students do no better than their traditional public school counterparts.  Private schools’ enrollment is more affluent.

Tom Ultican on how privatization is invading the San Juaquin Valley

Larry Cuban on how definitions of success have change over time.


Technology and Personalized Learning

Larry Cuban on the strengths and weaknesses of personalized learning.

Summit spreads its personalized learning curriculum.


Reform Foibles

Marc Tucker on the testing tragedy in the US. and how negative narratives not facts harm schools.

NAACP now opposes high-stakes testing.

The sad story of the failure of the Tennessee Achievement School District.

Carol Burris on the fiasco of the Gates teacher evaluation project.

Rick Hess slams Arne Duncan’s tribute to “reforms” as lessons not learned.

Comments 5/20-6/1/18 (June/July below)


Larry Cuban reports on the Democracy Prep charter chain which is emphasizing civic education.

Public School Support

Democrats unveil plan to support teachers.

Eunice Han finds that teacher unions result in higher teacher quality.

What it’s like to teach in an underfunded school.

Marc Tucker on comprehensive school improvement.


Perils of Reforms

Low or negative results for students of closed schools while large increases in community damage.

It’s time to revamp teacher evaluation.

The result of closing 50 schools in Chicago in one day: No measurable outcome improvements but widespread sorrow.

Larry Cuban on reforms and technology: skeptic or cynic.

Curriculum and Instruction

England finds organized phonics instruction to be crucial for disadvantaged children.

Charter and Voucher Problems

Peter Greene on the differences between charter schools and traditional pubic schools.

Jeff Bryant on why a proposed NC charter school plan should alarm the nation.

A new federal evaluation of the DC voucher program finds that students who used vouchers lost ground in math.

Marc Tucker finds no evidence that charter management organizations are a laboratory for more effective school systems.

Who is to blame for Ohio’s 1 billion dollar ECOT virtual school boondoggle?

A parent education advocate on what is wrong with charter schools.

June/July Comments 6/1/18-7/15/18

Public School Support

The Center for American Progress makes the case for increasing teacher’s salaries.

Low teacher salaries and how we got there.


Curriculum, Instruction, and School Organization

From me. If you get a chance, take a look at Paul Cobb and his co-authors’ book, Systems for Instructional Improvement. This book is a must read for what it actually takes to improve instruction at the school and district level and where things go wrong. Even though the context is middle grade math using a more constructivist math program, the lessons learned apply to any proposed strategy for improvement or use of materials. According to the Math in Common folks (a large, foundation funded math improvement effort in California) the  Cobb findings are consistent with what they have witnessed.

Here is a synopsis of the book:

This is the best, most sophisticated, and specific book I have seen on what it takes to build comprehensive and coherent instructional improvement which works at the school level. Their report is highly specific on issues of translating theory into practice. The project distills all we have been discussing on school implementation of instructional improvement, team building, equity, and continuous improvement. This book should be read by all  of us who are interested in implementation 2.0.

The setting is a four year effort (MIST) in four districts, with an additional four years in two of the districts, focused on middle grades math using Connected Math in three districts and as a supplement in the fourth. (The lessons learned should apply to other materials, other grades, and other subjects).They go into detail on building a coherent strategy of teaching improvement resting on (1) effective and ineffective pull-out professional development on deep math understanding and practice, pedagogical understanding and practice, and beliefs that all students can master and learn from posed problems and how to facilitate that; (2) effective and ineffective coaching; (3) effective and ineffective collaborative team building; and (4) teacher advice networks all reinforcing each other. They examine what worked, what didn’t and why, and what got in the way of improvement efforts. They also delve into the districts role in supporting these efforts especially resources, time, principal (and teacher leader) leadership, and line/staff/departments coordination..

The book is also full of the latest relevant research and where new research needs to occur. It is consistent with the findings of the Math in Common folks (a large California math improvement effort).

My only concern is how complex strategies need to be to produce results, how difficult it is to make these specific strategies effective, and how to develop the expertise and commitments to pull this off. This project, MIST, had top-level researchers and practitioners, a long time period, and continuity of district support and still a great many of the efforts were not that productive. Let’s get some of or group to read this before the presentation by the MIST people, and the set a time for more thorough discussion of how these ideas could be operationalized.


In the same vein an article arguing that investment in teacher professional development is the best way to improve math scores. and challenging myths about learning resulted in improved performance (as the Cobb book finds also).

Michael Petrilli argues for the importance of a strong curriculum and effective instructional materials as  key elements in improving schools.

State school chiefs advocate for a strong curriculum.

Morgan Polikoff agrees and argues for extensive use of quality instructional materials. The Challenges of Curriculum Materials as a Reform Lever.

States should collect more data on what curriculum districts and schools are using.

English learners excel after becoming proficient.

NPR: Let’s Stop Talking About the 30 Million Word Gap.

Pam Burdman’s new organization for effective alternative pathways for high/school mathematics.

Teach statistics not calculus.

How a school in Chicago boosted math scores by focusing early on math understanding and language.

Marc Tucker question’s the effectiveness of unrestricted school autonomy.

Marc Tucker reviews the new British Columbia curriculum and finds much to praise.

High-school grades are a better predictor of college performance than SAT or ACT scores.

Julian Heilig argues that community schools are a tried and true alternative to charter schools.

A great new site for free open education materials.   They are offering a very effective 6-8 math program from Illustrative Mathematics which was the highest rated math program ever reviewed by EdReports.



Democratic core values belong in schools.

A major report on civics in schools by the Brown Center.

The Democracy Project report: Overwhelming numbers of Americans believe that democracy is the best form of government but most believe it is getting weaker.

Parkland student’s activism traced to strong civics program.

MindShift on how social studies can help young kids make sense of the world.


Charters, Vouchers, Privatization and Defunding of Public Schools

A major new study published in Education Researcher finds that private school performance is no better than public school performance when adjusted for demographics.

Jeff Bryant reports on which states are abandoning public education.

Diane Ravitch’s op ed in the Washington Post on how charters are leading to an unhealthy divide in US education.

Jan Resseger reports on how charter schools deplete public school revenue in Ohio.

A similar article in the Washington Post on the decimation of public education in Indiana.

A similar report on how charters are eroding San Antonio’s public school system.

Jeremy Mohler: Charter Schools Are NOT Progressive, They Are a Way to Disinvest in Public Schools

Who is behind the movement to privatize our public schools?

Schneider on the myth of New Orleans educational renewal.

Anti-union forces are attempting to convince teachers to drop the union membership.

Lessons from the failure of vouchers in Chile.

Joanne Barken on death by a thousand cuts to public schools by the privatization movement.

The terrible effects of Mississippi’s failure to adequately fund its public schools.

Rob Levine argues that Minnesota charters are a costly failure after 25 years.

Jeff Brant warns of a disastrous charter plan in North Carolina.

Gary Rubenstein demolishes the NY city Kipp charter school’s claim of 96% graduation finding it to be more like 56% when you take into account attrition of students who were never replaced. He also finds that the highly touted Success Academy graduated only 16 students out of an original 73 students in 2006 (they don’t backfill) through attrition and being held back.

Also, Jeff Bryant comments on the unsuccessful massive financial support for Gavin Newsom’s opponent by wealthy charter supporters.

Diane Ravitch writes about how Michigan public schools were some of the best in the nation before the privatization and charter movement sunk them to the bottom.

An op ed supporting giving districts the right to refuse charters if they will cause substantial harm to the district.

The Hechinger Report finds that charter schools suffer from higher levels of segregation than nearby public schools.

Diane Ravitch reports on a the embezzlement by the headmaster of a  religious voucher school in North Carolina. She states: North Carolina gives out public money to private and religious schools with little or no oversight. Do not be surprised that some people take advantage of the open cash register and help themselves to taxpayers’ money that should have gone to public schools.


Failed reforms

States are moving away from flawed teacher evaluation systems.

Audrey-Amerein-Beardsley on why New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system based on test scores has been such a failure.

Chalkbeat reviews new Rand report that shows that the $575 million spent by the Gates foundation on teacher-evaluation was a bust. From the report Sites implemented new measures of teaching effectiveness and modified personnel policies accordingly but did not achieve their goals for students

Education Technology/Personalized Learning

Stephen Sawchuk argues that SF’s bold approach to detracking algebra shows promise.

Authors argue that we have an obligation to test educational technology before widespread adoption.

 Larry Cuban reviews a new School of the Future based on a technology first approach in Philadelphia which gradually shifted to using technology as a supplement to a regular academic program. At one point this school functioned very much through technology….Where our innovation is now is to get back to the fundamentals of what an educational academic program is supposed to be like, and how you get technology to mirror or augment that.

Dan Willingham’s critique of the bible of personalized learning “The End of Average”

Questions about the effectiveness of personalized learning in New Orleans.

Tom Ultican reviews the shabby story of IReady.






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