Good for Colbert, But Why Should Public Schools Rely on Charity?

Diane Ravitch's blog

As I reported earlier, Stephen Colbrrt generously funded the request of every teacher in South Carolina through an organization called Donors Choose.

That was indeed laudable.

But it is not so good when schools, teachers, and children must rely on the charity of rich patrons.

Public education is a public responsibilty. When states fail to fund their schools and send their teachers out to beg for help, the state deserves a badge of shame.

Shame on South Carolina.

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Our Blog Poet: The Walrus and the Carpenter, with Apologies to Lewis Carroll

Diane Ravitch's blog

Our blog poet:

“The Billionaire and the Reformer” (parody of The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll)

The pol was pining for a charter,
pining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The regulations sleight —
Which wasn’t hard, because the gov
Was charter acolyte

The public was pining sulkily,
Because they thought the pol
Had got no business to be there
After the charter stole —
“Incredible of him,” they said,
“To work for charter dole”

The money was tight as tight could be,
The coffers were bare as bare.
You could not see a dollar, cuz
No dollar was in there:
No Race was funding overhead —
There was no Race to fund.

The Billionaire and the Reformer
Were talking under bleachers;
They wept like anything to see
Such qualities of teachers:
If these were only cleared away,’
Our schools would be like…

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A Young Student Athlete’s Depression, Hidden on Social Media


The day after Madison jumped, Jim walked to the top of the parking garage. He read the phrase, She had wings on. He spoke with Madison’s friends. He compiled clues.

Then he stopped. He could spend his life trying, in vain, to make his child whole again, he thought. Or he could work to keep others from breaking apart.

The Hollerans are trying now to deliver a new message: It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to show people you’re not OK.

Kate Fagan, at ESPN, on Madison Holleran, a University of Pennsylvania student who committed suicide in 2014 at the age of 19.

Read the story

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Teacher: We Must Do What is Right No Matter What They Tell Us

Diane Ravitch's blog

A teacher left this comment on the blog:

G. K. Chesterton said, ““The Madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” Those that champion ed-reform are basically those that have lost everything but their reason, they reduce education, as they reduce most everything else, to what can be benchmarked and quantified, in a data driven environment everything is “rational” and “reasonable” but little else. There is no room for whimsy, there is no room for beauty, there is no room for sanity.

But as long as the classroom teacher is sane, does see the importance of whimsy, beauty, the individual and the discovery of the individual that lives beneath the surface of every student, real education will ultimately triumph. The real subversive work of the teacher is what happens in the classroom. That is why I…

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Reader Request Week 2015: Get Your Requests In!


Next week is just about the only week in the next couple of months where I am not traveling, or on a deadline — so that makes it a perfect time to do my annual Reader Request Week!

And just what is Reader Request Week? Why it is what it says: Once a year, I let you, the readers of Whatever, offer up the topics I will write about for an entire week. Always wanted me to answer a question? Frustrated that I never write about what you want me to write about? Wish I would write more about a specific topic you can never get enough of? Now’s your chance! Submit your request, I’ll go through and select topics, and I will start writing them up, beginning May 11.

And what topics should you request? Anything you want. Politics, sex, religion, cats, entertainment, favorite talcum powders, advice…

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Test Scorer: No High Scores Possible!

Diane Ravitch's blog

I have often written that the Pearson Common Core tests are written and scored to fail most students. Not only are the reading levels two grade levels above the students’ actual grade, but the cut score is set artificially high.

Here is confirmation from a teacher who graded essay answers:

“When teachers score state tests, they are given formal training before they score actual student tests. Teachers are trained using student anchor answers that are culled from random field tests. Each student answer is used as an example and compared to the rubric to show how to score accordingly. There is always an anchor answer for each rubric score, meaning an answer that demonstrates a 1, another serves as an example of a 2 and so on and so forth. Teachers must then take a quiz using more student samples in order to gauge their preparation level before they move…

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[Fiction] Fooled


Davis looked up from his crossword puzzle to the flickering security screen. One of the manufacturing droids on the assembly line had fallen to the floor again. The collapses had been happening with an increasing frequency that had become routine and unlike the first time, Davis didn’t feel the fluttering panic of the unknown but a dull irritation that it had cut into his lull time.

He pressed the comm for the Repair Department.

“Hey Jarold, we’ve got another one down.”

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