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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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Why did Reid fold on filibuster reform?

Frankly, I suspected the jig was up when I saw the story that he was consulting with Mitch McConnell.

After Republicans in the Senate's performance under Obama, it should be clear to the most casual observer that their word is worth less than nothing.

My question is why he folded this time. Did he make the best of a weak hand or was it just a token effort and Senate Dems are glad to have the GOP to play bad cop to give them an excuse not to do what Democratic voters expect and deserve?

PIC: Obama's brother in law--isn't this a new sitcom?

RAVITCH: If teachers can divest from guns why not corporations killing public schools?

I'm the reader who sent the email she quotes.

I don't currently have the connections or time to make this happen, but I'm going to try.

Time to Divest?
by Diane Ravitch

A reader sent along a story that the California teachers' pension fund, the second largest in the nation, has decided to divest from corporations that manufactures weapons.

That's a good start. Now how about divesting in Walmart, which is the biggest retail outlet for assault weapons like the one used in the Newtown massacre? Another reason to divest in Walmart is that the Walton family is one of the biggest sponsors of vouchers and charters--all non-union--of course. Why should teachers invest in corporations that want to cut their pay, eliminate their job security, tie their profession to unreliable test scores, and break their union (if they have one)?

Teachers often act powerless but in fact their pension funds wield a lot of power in the marketplace. Others use their economic power to attack public education. Why shouldn't teachers and administrators use their economic power to defend this citadel of democracy?

The reader asked the following question:

Why can't we ask our retirement funds to divest from at least those companies that directly profit from the corporate education reform movement, like testing companies, education management companies, and the for profit charter companies?

Another way to get at the same effect is to move districts and states toward open source textbooks and testing, that are developed by educators collaborating and offered to schools at minimal cost. The state of California passed a law setting up a project to do this at the college level for the most commonly used course textbooks. I can't imagine collaboratively developed tests would be as expensive as the corporate ones, and politicians would have a hard time arguing against the cost savings as well.

We need to stop giving money to companies that are slowly strangling our public schools.

dianerav | January 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Categories: Education Reform |


RAVITCH: Michelle Rhee doesn't want the kind of school she's selling for her own kid

Unfortunately, the same can be said of most of the politicians and billionaire self-appointed education "experts" who are killing our public schools with repetitive standardized testing, to make way for privatized, for-profit charter schools and education management companies.

My wife is a special ed teacher, and I asked her how often they have to give the standardized tests, and she said it amounted to once every two months. I can't imagine any decent prep school doing anything of the sort.

Michelle Rhee’s School Choice in Nashville
by dianerav
Michelle Rhee was interviewed by "The City Paper" in Nashville.

The story describes her thus: "A Tennessee transplant, she is turning her attention to schools in her new state." It also refers to the "roots" she is "setting" in Nashville. Apparently, she never told the reporter that she lives in Sacramento, not Nashville. She describes herself as a "public school parent" because one of her daughters attends public school in Nashville. But she did not acknowledge that her older daughter goes to an excellent private school, Harpeth Hall School ("Nashville, TN's only independent, college-preparatory school for girls, grades 5-12”).

One can hardly blame her for choosing Harpeth Hall. It has an 8:1 student/teacher ratio, with a median class size of 13. Class sizes in public schools in Nashville and other cities are much, much larger.

I bet that Harpeth Hall does not give standardized tests and does not evaluate teachers based on their students' test scores.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Michelle Rhee became an advocate for small class size, and for the same goals and purposes for all children that she wants for her own child?

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