A Day in the Life of the American Education Saga

Below is a series of tweets which were collected over a single day in December 2011. These show the depth of anger among American teachers and their international colleagues over what is happening with the ‘corporatisation’ of US education, with some containing hyperlinks to terrific articles. Some information has necessarily been omitted simply to ensure the size of the entry was not exceeded.

NYC plans to close more schools, including part of PS 161 (original “No excuses” school): http://gothamschools.org/2011/12/08/city-announces-plans-to-close-or-shrink-15-struggling-schools/

School trustees ask government to consider parents’ wishes about charter schools. wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=40970 Wellington/Wairarapa STA.


NYC scores on NAEP mostly flat: nytimes.com/2011/12/08/edu…


confirmed: CT suddenly has $100M surplus after raising taxes on the rich this yr. (and no millionaire exodus!!); bit.ly/uWEtt3


How did DC do on NAEP? gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/sum…


Please read their petition and sign if you agree. They have principals from many states: newyorkprincipals.org


Shocking waste of $1 billion in Florida for vouchers for students with disabilities: bit.ly/vysq3k


McKay Scholarship expose prompts reform of a billion-dollar educational catastrophe  bit.ly/vysq3k


Sign the NY principals’ petition against this absurd evaluation approach: newyorkprincipals.org


Netflix loses 2/3 of value, but we trust this guy to tell Obama how to run our public schools? – mashable.com/2011/12/07/net…


Are half of NY teachers ineffective? washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-s…


18% of Chicago “turnarounds” are high-performing. Sounds like CREDO 2009: catalyst-chicago.org/news/2011/12/0…


100 neighborhood Chicago Public Schools closed in 10 years – goo.gl/oYoO8


This’ll cause a stir: “Postsecondary Education: Student Outcomes Vary at For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Public Schools”: gao.gov/products/GAO-1…


@jboyded @shankerblog Lee Fang in The Nation wrote an article called “How Online Companies Bought US Education”


Guess who just came out of the #ALEC closet? dailykos.com/story/2011/12/… #Gates


3 of 3 “Innovators” in econ dearth, now salivating at public trough.#ALEC #edreform #Gates #showmethemoney MT @SOSMarch dailykos.com/story/2011/12/…


“a quiet but astonishing national transformation”–how our schools have cleverly been sold out: theinvestigativefund.org/investigations…


Schools Matter: The Most Dangerous Aging Geek in America schoolsmatter.info/2011/12/most-d…


RT: $$$ and advocacy for privatizationand teacher evaluation: shankerblog.org/?p=4422


Interesting Hess/Darling-Hammond column. Title 1 is a grant program—so, what should the conditions of aid be? nyti.ms/s1aUA2


#Charterschool movement win? Largest single-year growth — 200k new kids — this yr. Enrollment greater than 2 million.


Read @pasi_sahlberg “Finnish Lessons”; free your mind


#Michigan‘s Assault on #publiceducation m.motherjones.com/politics/2011/…


Standardized tests prepare kids to answer questions that have already been answered. The arts prepare kids to invent questions


I think all state & fed legislators should take the tests, too! from @jim663: Ummm, Like, 6 times a year?


Japanese youths in highly competitive “examination hell.” many observers connect this to suicide.


Finland admis only 10% of applicants to teacher education. Freedom to teach, no standardized tests.


I liked this article: huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/…


Watch for the new NCLB: where they starve the community colleges then claim they need changing, regulation, closing.


Plan: Frame NLCB as the saving grace for poor kids & opponents as WANTING to leave kids behind; say only supporters want change & progress


WHO, links 2 high-stakes testing earn Japan 1 highest rates of teen suicide N developed WORLD 35.2% web4health.info/en/answers/bip…


Plan: regulate public schools, cut their budgets, harass teachers, so parents demand deregulated charters.


Students are drowning in debt, with no end in sight. I don’t hear any pols calling for free higher education.


Japan worried about I’ll effects of “testing hell” and discouragement of creativity.


Brookings study of choice showed no relation between choice and quality education. & NYC parents bewildered by choices.


If higher education was a basic right–as it should be–it would be tuition-free, as in Finland. That’s why K-12 is free.


Higher education and K-12 are different in basic ways. K-12 is an essential public service, like fire dept. a basic right.


I agree, but many countries are copying NCLB, test-based accountability, market reforms, following. Wish they wouldn’t.


No one outside of DC thinks NCLB is working.


impossible to see difference between right wing, center and liberal think tanks in DC, except EPI. All funded by Gates.


Wonderful article by John Thompson: huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/…


I’ve skyped with Aus teachers, invited to both NZ and Aus to help resist bad US ideas. They’re coming via Murdoch.


My views are grounded in evidence, experience and 40 years of study.


Privatizers have promoted decline as state of mind. Sets up Shock Doctrine, assault on public sector


Greatest narrowing of racial gap occurred in 70s, 80s, then stopped. Why? Title I, desegregation, jobs, civil rights.


Start with top officials in US Dept of Ed. They should take the tests and show their grades,


I think all state and fed legislators should take the tests, too!


no, both NZ and Aus copying our bad corporate school reform ideas. Their educators very upset.


huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/… Excellent read.


What if all school board members took standardized tests? wapo.st/tDfmyH” // what a great article…


Finland copied US: Dewey, child-centered classes, cooperative learning, teacher professionalism.


First they ruin public schools, then they open door to privatization.


AZ schools have clssses with 40+ students. Awful schools, RWGop push is for private, charter schools


SUNY will let Eva Markowitz open charter in overcrowded, affluent Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Leaving poor minority kids for greener pastures.


DianeRavitch Diane Ravitch


@mspathas I am not moving to a 3rd world country, are you? I love living in Brooklyn and visiting everywhere.


Wonderful article by John Thompson: huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/…


Rest of the world wants to be like USA, and we keep wondering whom to copy. Bizarre.


The only ability test results reflect is the ability to take tests: tinyurl.com/7m87hvk #edchat


#takethetest invitations being tweeted to governors asking them to take their high-stakes tests and publicize their scores


coopmike48 Coopmike48

UN Envoy Sharply Criticizes US Local Governments for Repressive Actions Against #OWS Protesters | FDL News Desk – goo.gl/6Vm0a



Teaneck school officials move to block virtual charter: “Somebody had to stand up and say this has to stop,” said… fb.me/19WQY7Pxo


NYC Public School Parents: Leonie Haimson on CNN this morning bit.ly/tKl1uq #Edu


NYC had some classes even larger than 100 in early 19th century and most dropped out by 8th grade. All rote.


Why have teachers at all? Just put students in front of computers and have monitors in distant climes, or robot monitors.


Why stop at doubling class size? Octuple them! Pack ’em into empty movie theaters & set ’em in front of magician-teachers. Charge admission!


This is Broad-funded group of economists who paid kids to get higher scores. Narrow lens.


There’s a paper showing that SAT scores do not predict ability to teach well, they predict ability to pass tests


I would not want to be taught science or history by someone who lacked knowledge of them.


I rather have a smaller class with less pay. I am able to make a bigger impact by reaching all my students.


Bloomberg wants to double class size: nytimes.com/2011/12/06/nyr… >>This proves Bloomberg cares nothing for students & education.


Teacher evaluation done right. Stan Karp, Rethinking Schools blog wp.me/p1M2Ov-4Q


Cornel West supports school that may be closed to make room for Eva Moskowitz Success Academy charter school. gothamschools.org/2011/12/05/cor…


Priv school teacher make 10% less than Pub Teachers in TN and TN teachers are hitting food stamps hard,


as former private school teacher and current public teacher, teacher quality MUCH better in public school.


I offer Bloomberg a teaching spot for a week in the Jersey City Public Schools. I’ll arrange. Let’s see what he says THEN.


shar.es/oyLKi experts say Chinese students unable to think critically & work independently


But could the teacher manage with 48 in kindergarten, 70 in high school, including kids with behavior issues?


Most priv. school teachers are paid LESS than pub. school peers yet class sizes are usually <20.


After you put your children in schools with 48-60 in a class, let me know how it works for you.


It’s not wealth that pisses off the 99 %. It’s how fully wealth has fused with political power. #politics bit.ly/rwCbBt


we cannot change education reform without reducing undue emphasis on testing and punishment.


Ctr for American Progress pushes the Good, Bad & Ugly in Teacher Evals: bit.ly/sigSk1


No Silver Bullets, Pt Whatever: “Claims of overnight or 1-year transformations should be suspect on their face.” fb.me/1hY2nzdZn


Why would Duncan laud a school where 100% graduate but 0% are college ready? Why would Jeb Bush salute a low-scoring high school?


Privatize schools, abolish unions, reduce teacher standards? wearethepeoplemichigan.com/2011/11/28/mac…


I don’t agree with testing/accountability piece. Distorts education, creates false goals (100%?).


Deception of New Orleans Charter Model: Mike Deshotels on how high-scoring schools are marketed as norm bitly.com/rP4Kc9


Miracle schools no more: blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridgin…


Those high test scores came at a very high price. Saxon math is test prep math. Connected Math is real world math


Who writes state laws? #ALEC: businessweek.com/printer/magazi…

Who writes state laws? ALEC: businessweek.com/printer/magazi…


Key determinant of student success is student effort.

US charter school don’t produce better results that public schools interview on @NzMorningReport: goo.gl/auEnG


If you want a great school system go and visit Finland interview on @NzMorningReport: goo.gl/auEnG


Louisiana Supt. John White calls low performing schools “real estate”:pushes for charters in new markets bitly.com/rP4Kc9


jennymedina Jennifer Medina

Gov Jerry Brown says tax increase on wealthiest 2% and 1/2 cent sales tax will bring in $7 billion needed for education jerrybrown.org/sites/default/…


Texas cut education, nursing homes, & health care, but gave a tax break for the rich to buy yachts: bit.ly/jddE4W #OWS


Providence, RI, parents and civic leaders oppose charter school: http://www.we-thepeople_can.org/


Secrets of Finnish success: pasisahlberg.com/downloads/BCST…


It irks me so much when “reformers” insinuate that I’m unintelligent. I just don’t like to flaunt my grades.


Always more evidence that charters generally are no better than public schools. Almost always less accountability.


Education Week: Chicago’s Charter Schools Facing More Scrutiny edweek.org/ew/articles/20…


Devastating! Marion Brady: When an (ethical) adult took standardized tests forced on kids: wapo.st/vnjIIe


washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-s… Good for him, that took guts!


Ctr For American Progress Pushes the Good, Bad & Ugly in Teacher Evaluation: bit.ly/tFTExi


A must read!!! Why School Choice Fails: nyti.ms/vO0FWI


Stop insulting teachers: shankerblog.org/?p=4395 // I grad Cum Laude, top 10%, both times-Bachelor AND Masters degree.


Corrected tag: Education Optimists: Guest Post on Billionaire Education Policy by @Robin_Rogers


True reform movement is going 2 have 2 be from inside out. Teachers & admins. stopping the absurd erosion of their profession.


Tchrs & admins shld NOT be evaluated based on stdnt test scores. But the biggest losers in testing are the children


Natalie Hopkinson nails failure of school choice in DC in today’s NYTimes



Schools Matter: Bloomberg Wants to Double Teacher Salaries–By Doubling Class Size bit.ly/vuTauu RT


David Kolb: The end of public schools, a right-wing dream, may be in sight | MLive.com bit.ly/vSpdJY


Pasi Sahlberg online links on Finland education:article bitly.com/uw3yP8 & data charts bitly.com/rNVcQZ


Principal protest grows: nytimes.com/schoolbook/201…


Confirming What We Knew: Poor Students Really Do Get a Raw Deal on School Funding | @First_Focus awe.sm/5b0wC


Bill Gates, ALEC & the battle against public education. me.lt/3ADsT


There’s more than that that’s broken. Model treats kids like widgets and tchrs like factory wrkrs


The more unionized the state teacher force, the better the students perform.


Newt’s big idea is repeal child labor laws, turn students into janitors


I’ll listen to Newt’s ed “reform” ideas after he’s spent a day in a Detroit Public School classroom.


WY beat back: cameras in classroom, test scores as teacher evaluation, elimination of tenure. WY passed: class size K-4 @ 16.


Bad for students if their teachers are demoralized. Shame on so-called reformers.


Please read and if you agree, sign on: newyorkprincipals.org


Biggest narrowing of achievement gap occurred in 1970s and 1980s


ALEC and Bill Gates, the Mask Comes Off wp.me/paLzK-1EH


Poverty matters and teachers can’t fight it alone RT blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding…



OMG: read the comments and weep: catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2011/…


Agree that AZ Leg is starving public schools despite 80% of AZ residents support funding


You are right. Many school choice advocates support tighter regs by states, Feds, more centralization, scripts. Go figure.


State legislatures starving, regulating public schools while opening charters free of same regulations.



Choking on the Common Core Standards


AZ charters are selective in who they accept+parents exhausted by outrageous demands of time/money4extras:a joke.


War on teachers is well planned and strategic. Read epilogue to my last book. No serendipity. Lots of $$$.


I was referring to NY Times this am, which said banks got $7.7 Trillion bailout, while millions lost their homes.


Whatever the purpose, it is absolutely the case that teacher autonomy in low-income schools is diminishing.


law says charter schools must take all: autistic, behavior problems, 9 yr olds who have NEVER been in school. Not happening.


So true, principals are first to be fired in hostile takeover. Experienced supers hate what’s going on.


Only for those with 7-10 years in the classroom. Non-educators are not qualified to be principals or superintendents.



Most effective way to #reform and transform education: invest in teachers and the ideas that they can bring to the ed reform table.


Gates supports some good ideas, some bad ideas. And some very bad ideas. Mixed bag.


Who will teach when all skilled, career teachers are fired or quit out of demoralization? Orleans opted for untrained temps



Secrets of bailout: nytimes.com/2011/12/04/bus… Banks got $7.7 trillion, little people=0


NYC administrators foresee evaluation nightmare: nytimes.com/schoolbook/201…


70% of Orleans students say teachers can’t manage classrooms: model professionalization? bitly.com/pX5xxf


Shock doctrine for public education? Closing schools, firing teachers. Who will teach in non-profession?


Here’s where we’re REALLY investing: Student data systems. edweek.org/ew/articles/20… What has that investment yielded?


When will Eli Broad realize he is wrecking public education with his billions?


Private funds sway public school reform bit.ly/sUnUU2


Orleans has 900 TFA recruits who taught 1st year w/o certification or ed degree & commit only 2 years. Professionalization?

5 Dec


Guess who’s giving grant money to ALEC? gatesfoundation.org/Grants-2011/Pa… Mr. “I’m only in it for the kids.” Billionaires controlling ed policy.


Larry Ferlazzo with a great review of 2011: huffingtonpost.com/larry-ferlazzo…



Teachers – Thank Goodness! tinyurl.com/czbkkp6 – I want you to go read a wonderful piece by 86 yr old man so I wrote about


In Shanghai, educators speak of how they help every school, every teacher improve, not about firing people, closing schools.


Gov Scott writes as if some natural disaster is responsible for Fl’s education $ shortfall- nonsense ow.ly/7NYNn


Achievement gap narrowed most in 70s and 80s before current accountability frenzy.


Research overwhelmingly discredits merit pay. Union busting will enable Right to cut budgets, fire at will.


We don’t have test scores for China, only for Shanghai and Hong Kong, which are atypical of nation.


what we are doing now with test-based accountability refutes science. Read @DanielPink “Drive”


No, you can’t measure the most important outcomes of education. Measure poverty, crime, jobs & hold leaders acctable.


I have not but I will. Have you googled Helen Ladd, “education and Poverty”? A must read. Brilliant economist.


We need to frame #poverty as foundational issue in #education.


. Poverty Matters blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding…


No unions, no tenure, test scores still low? How do reformers explain it?


Do you think we will get “great” teachers by continually abusing teachers?


Disinvestment use to create crisis then crisis used as excuse to bulldoze the poor & reap profits.


NYC creates failing schools by overloading with hardest to educate, then closing them and giving their building to charters


They even manipulate enrollment here in Chicago to make room for charters. It’s about realestate development, not the kids.


Those governors are not acting in isolation. There is a national movement and plenty of $$ behind it.


Everyone-including the public-must understand the stealth effort to privatize and de-professionalize.


Maybe by ‘turning around’ they mean firing everyone and starting all over. She worked w/Rhee. What an example. Lord help us.


All schools then turned into Kaplan test prep centers and teachers become proctors while test companies increase profits.


replacing a balanced agenda of social reform with war on teachers is no accident, but well orchestrated campaign.


average teacher is better educated, more knowledgable than average legislator mandating prof evaluation


One Purpose of current reform movement is to remove teacher autonomy & professionalism and turn teachers into docile testing technicians.


Teachers working together on ALL kids is proven reform. It costs money to give collaboration time though.


This editorial in today’s Star-Ledger is anti-teacher fear-mongering of the worst kind: bit.ly/srewr8


in right-to-work states, we risk our already precarious jobs every time we challenge our admins.


No tenure in Texas? Why aren’t test scores sky high? That’s theory of “reformers.” banish tenure and voila! Great teachers.


Teachers are being “McDonaldized” Working toward trained monkeys. Very sad


War on teachers is unfortunately not limited to Republicans. Cheap to scapegoat teachers, do nothing about kids’ lives, poverty.


We were taught never to blame the whole class for a few misbehaviors & yet all teachers are blamed for the few bad apples.


Even tenured can’t protest by not teaching mandated curriculum, it’s insubordination you can be fired


What if we apply “tenure” to US government! They can get fired (lose election) and still get paid for the rest of their lives!


But due process rights (tenure) are being rolled back in state after state by Tea-party goes with help of Rhee


Peter Witt’s school in upstate NY had “a week without testing” and everyone was amazed to teach without obstacles


maybe teachers are at fault more than we admit, they could engage in a work action, not teach to the test and see what happens


Did Gov Scott listen to teachers? orlandosentinel.com/features/educa…


Teachers list frustrations in meeting with Rick Scott Tampa Bay Times ow.ly/1BrCQq


It upsets them when I defend teachers and explain that low test scores highly correlated with


@GatesFoundation provides $376K to #ALEC to support “efficient state budget approaches” bit.ly/uFqFQ7


War on teachers and frenzy over evaluation intended to blame teachers for ills of society, divert attention from growing poverty, inequality


Purpose of public Ed is to develop citizens who can think for themselves, prepared to sustain our democracy.


Review: The Death and Life of the Great American School System


Review: The Death and Life of the Great American School System

by Marvin King

Any serious student of K-12 education performance and reform efforts must read Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. Her basic premise is sound, and one that would definitely upset market-based reformers like Michelle Rhee, Eli Broad and Joel Klein.

Ravitch argues that the incessant push to judging school and teacher quality by how well their students perform on standardized tests is both misguided and dangerous.

It is misguided because standardized testing is the wrong metric. “Teaching to the test” is just that. The ability to recite and regurgitate material in a rote fashion is not synonymous with actual knowledge. It just means someone can memorize information. Furthermore, the push to measure teachers based on student scores means teachers minimize and deemphasize knowledge. America’s schools deemphasize intellectualism at the exact same time that America’s creative class is needed more than ever before to develop innovative ways to stay on top of an increasingly competitive global economy.

We are pushing our students in the wrong direction.

A laser-like focus on standardized tests is also dangerous because it has led to an unfortunate rise in the school choice movement. Economic principles, in theory, are correct when arguing that more competition leads to better quality. In theory. In reality, however, schools are not a market no matter what Eli Broad says. Even in the distressingly small number of examples where charter schools are found to produce a net positive impact on education, the real choice facing public schools is that they lose resources to pay for these experiments even though the data does not suggest investing in charter schools is actually a good investment.

Ravitch explores these and other issues in the school reform movement. What makes her most credible is not her views per se, it is how she came to them. Ravitch worked for a number of years with Republican and market-oriented school reform efforts. She wrote this book only after a career spent trying to make these reforms work and then realizing that these reform efforts, many of which were spurred on by No Child Left Behind, only leave public schools behind.

It is an honest and sobering examination of public schools. Any serious effort at improving America’s school systems needs to start with this text.

Marvin King received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Texas and is now an Associate Professor of Political Science with a joint appointment in the African American Studies Program at the University of Mississippi. He conducts research into how political institutions affect African American politics. Marvin is available for public speaking engagements and you can follow him on Twitter @kingpolitics