Monthly Archives: February 2016

Steven Singer on Day 2 of the United Opt Out Convention

Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer asks: “How radical must we be to get the schools our children need and deserve?”

Steve describes two days of meeting with fellow activists in Philadelphia, where they discussed the road ahead.

He writes:

“All weekend at the United Opt Out Conference we’ve been talking about rebellion and revolution. There’s no weak tea here in the City of Brotherly Love. No half measures. We’ve been discussing tearing the system down piece-by-piece.
“A timid voice speaks up in the back of mind, “Do we really need to do all that? Do we really need revolution just to keep our public schools and make them into something worthy of our children?”

“I think I’ve been trying to answer that question for a while now. Maybe a lot of us have.

“In a rational country, our demands wouldn’t be so radical.
“We want public schools centered on the good of all…

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John Thompson: Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon: Privatization

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Thompson is a historian and teacher in Oklahoma.

He writes:

“Something’s happening here; What it is ain’t exactly clear …”
But, what is it?
A secret plan was presented to the Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education to turn neighborhood schools in the gentrifying areas around the downtown into charters. Given the prominent role of two presenters, principals of “No Excuses” charters, it seems likely that their pedagogy would be mandated for many of the poorest children of color who remain in the upscaling area. Word of the plan leaked out and, as the Daily Oklahoman reported, “tempers flared … and a standing room-only crowd cheered and jeered.”
Singing from the standard corporate reform hymnal, several charter advocates challenged the integrity of the plan’s opponents and the teachers union. The most poignant testimony, however, came from an African-American elementary student, dressed in a smart suit and tie…

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G20 and the mainstream solutions to a global slowdown

Michael Roberts Blog

The weekend meeting of the finance ministers of the top 20 economies in the world in Shanghai, China was a dismal affair.  Before the meeting, the IMF painted a grim picture of the state of the global economy.  In its, Global Prospects and Policy Challenges, the IMF economists warned that it would be reducing its forecasts for global economic growth in 2016, yet again.

And as the G20 summit met, figures came in for world trade in 2015.  It has recorded its biggest reversal since the Great Recession of 2008-9.  The value of goods that crossed international borders last year fell 13.8 per cent in dollar terms — the first contraction since 2009 — according to the Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis’s World Trade Monitor.

world trade

The Baltic Dry index, a measure of global trade in bulk commodities, has been touching historic lows.  China, which in 2014…

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The Langlois Bridge at Arles — Vincent van Gogh

Who is DeRay McKesson and Why Does He Want to be Mayor of Baltimore?

Diane Ravitch's blog

DeRay McKesson has the distinction of being a candidate for mayor of Baltimore and an alumnus of Teach for America. He has gained considerable celebrity for his role in Black Lives Matter and protests in Baltimore and Ferguson.
The media has fastened on him, and the TFA PR machine has amplified his role.

“But for all the attention he’s received in the last year-and-a-half, Mckesson’s ties to Teach For America (TFA) have largely escaped scrutiny. Mckesson is an alumnus of the 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by Wendy Kopp in 1990, which education policy experts today regard as the vanguard of the school privatization movement. It is also a media juggernaut in its own right, known for deploying a remarkably sophisticated public relations arsenal to advance an agenda focused on crushing teachers’ unions and privatizing public school systems.

“TFA’s funders—including the Waltons, Bill and Melinda Gates, and top Fortune 500 corporations—all…

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DON’T Watch This Video! Secrets of Charter Success

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a hilarious explanation of how charter schools succeed. If you might be offended, don’t watch.

If you want to see a hotly debated issue presented in graphic form, then take a peek. Only 2 minutes.

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Flowers with a Garland of Fruit and Flowers — Juan de Espinosa

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