Anthony Cody: Why Do “Reformers” Hate Democracy?

Reformers love indoctrination. They would love our children to be robots so they can have power. If they control what is taught in schools they control the future.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody wonders why corporate education reformers hate democracy. They love mayoral control, but only if the mayor agrees with their privatization agenda. They hate local school boards, because they are elected and can be removed.

They love private corporate control. They work to enact ALEC’s goal of removing local control from communities.

Democracy is too messy. The reformers know how to buy mayors and legislatures. Campaign contributions do the job. But the problem with democracy is that voters are unpredictable. The “reformers” can’t buy them, although the reformers can spend millions to flood the airwaves with attack ads, and they own most of the mainstream media. Think Murdoch. Think Education Nation.

Think Reed Hastings, the billionaire who owns Netflix. He let the cat out of the bag in a recent speech, which Cody quotes and links to.

Cody asks:

“Reed Hastings was right about one thing. If you go…

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A Hero Superintendent in Massachusetts Speaks Out Against the Madness

We need more superintendents to do this around the country. Unfortunately, most of them are part of the problem. Many school board are bought and paid for as well.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Todd Gazda, superintendent of schools in Ludlow, Massachusetts, posted a blog that expresses the outrage that so many educators feel today as a result of federal and state meddling in the work best left to educators.

Gazda writes: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

For his courage and wisdom, I am naming him to the honor roll as a champion of public education. If there were hundreds more Todd Gazda, no thousands more, we could reclaim this nation from the ignorant policymakers who seem determined to test children until they cry and to cripple public schools by overburdening them with mandates and demands while cutting their budgets. If our public schools manage to escape this era of austerity and chaos, it will be due to the leadership of educators like Todd Gazda.

Here is what he wrote:

We are at a pivotal juncture in this country with respect to education. Over the past…

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Reader: Why Is the Democratic Party Alienating Its Base?

This goes to show you we can’t trust any political party today. Both parties are bought and paid for. I’m voting for Bernie Sanders for president in 2016.

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader responds to Jeff Bryant’s
article by
wondering why so many Democrats in office are
ignoring their base by aligning themselves with the free-market GOP
ideology:

“Yes, yes, yes. Lately Democratic operatives have been
moaning and groaning about lack of excitement among their voters.
Supposedly this is a law of nature. Democrats just don’t get
excited about midterms. Yet, “school reform” is demobilizing
important elements of that base vote. This is one of the most
vibrant web sites around these days, and unfortunately, we have to
fight not only the GOP but also our “own” party – from President
Obama to Arne Duncan to Rahm Emanuel to Pat Quinn (who couldn’t
wait to make Paul Vallas his Lt. Gov. Running mate, within days of
Vallas being run out of Bridgeport, CT on a rail). “Stop doing
things to harm your base voters. What a concept! Maybe then we’d
vote…

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What These American Educators Learned in Finland

What we do in the USA in the polar opposite of what happens in Finland. Then again, the Fins aren’t trying to profit off the backs of their children.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Dr. Hunter O’Hara and Dr. Merrie Tinkersley visited Finland, and this is what they learned:

“American Educators Find Surprises in Helsinki and at Home in the United States”

On the basis of Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores, Finnish public schools have ranked at the top, or very near the top in the world in the areas of mathematics, reading and science. Seven teacher education seniors and three teacher education faculty at The University of Tampa traveled to Finland to determine the nature of Finnish success with public education. We visited three public schools; 1) grades K-8, 2) grades 1-6, and 3) grades 9-12. We also visited Metropolia University and the University of Helsinki. At U.H. we had an extended conversation with a teacher education professor.

Prior to our visit, we understood that Finland prides itself for creating school equality across the nation. During our visit, we felt we…

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US DOE Struggles to Prove That VAM Works, But It Doesn’t

It has always been a flawed formula!

Diane Ravitch's blog

As is well known, the U. S. Department of Education zealously believes–like Michelle Rhee–that low test scores are caused by “bad” teachers. The way to find these ineffective teachers, the theory goes, is to see whose students get higher scores and whose don’t. That’s known as value-added measurement (VAM), and the DOE used Race to the Top to persuade or bribe most states to use it to discover who should be terminated.

As we also know, things have not worked out too well, as some Teachers of the Year were fired; some got a bonus one year, then got fired the next year. In many states, teachers are rated by the scores of students they never taught. The overall effect of VAM has been demoralization, even among those with high scores because they know the ratings are arbitrary.

For some reason, teachers don’t like to “win ” at the expense…

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