Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

All politics is local

Today I  met with my New York State Senator , Jack Martins to discuss education and the reform agenda that is destroying public education.  I have been a vocal critic of Senator Martins over the last several years, so I do have to give him credit for agreeing to meet with me today. We spent over an hour discussing, APPR, high stakes testing, the tax cap, state funding, and the Common Core Standards.  I discovered that there was much agreement between the two of us, however I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words.

I opened the discussion by presenting him with  brand new copy of Diane Ravitch’s new book, Reign of Error, I explained to him that when the state cuts funding for youth services and other programs that children in need depend on, it effects their performance in school. We discussed how socio-economic factors, that are beyond a classroom teacher’s control, affects their students.

I showed him my district’s testing schedule, and how my students will be losing over 53 learning periods this year. I explained that my 10 year old students will have to sit for 540 minutes this Spring to take these exams in order to rate me. I explained how that I viewed it as a form of child abuse.

We discussed many issues and I was happy to learn that there was common ground that we both could stand on.  Throughout our meeting I urged the Senator to read Diane’s book, and I explained how Diane addressed every topic we discussed today.

He asked what I thought he should do.  I told him to introduce legislation to get rid of the Tax Cap, abandon  APPR, and end high stakes testing. I implored him to demand to see research that supports Common Core and to work towards the removal of John King as Commissioner of Education as well as  Tisch from the Board of Regents.  The good news is that he seemed to agree with just about everything I said. But as a true politician he also used the caveat that some changes may not be achievable.

He informed me that the Senate will be having a hearing on education in the near future.  I told him that I thought that was good, however in order for me to believe that he was serious about changing the tide..he needed to have Diane Ravitch testify at his hearing. I explained to him that having Diane testify would be a good first step and it would send a message that he really wanted to know the real facts about graduation rates, international tests, VAM, and other reform issues.

He made no promises.. but time will tell. We’ll see if he wants to have a real hearing, or whether it  will be just another charade from Albany. You see, all politics is local, the last thing a politician wants is, his constituents to believe he is faking it. I don’t think Sen. Martin is… I hope isn’t.  I guess we’ll see.


Reposting of Diane Ravitch’s mysteriously disappearing post

New post on Diane Ravitch’s blog

I Will Not Be Part of Education Nation
by dianerav
Yesterday I received an invitation to sit in the audience at NBC’s Education Nation.

I regret to say that I will decline, as I am very busy these days.

In case you want to know who will be speaking, here is the lineup (http://www.cvent.com/events/2013-nbc-news-education-nation-summit/event-summary-b8182761914b46f69bbb049effaa997b.aspx?i=c201d015-c428-4eae-a71b-b9db619fb3c5).

You will see some familiar names, like Secretary Arne Duncan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ex-Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Bobby Jindal, Dr. John Deasey, Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs), David Coleman (architect of the Common Core standards), Governor Mike Pence of Indiana (but not Glenda Ritz, who defeated Tony Bennett), Mitch Daniels (the ex-governor of Indiana, Tony Bennett (the singer, not the defeated state superintendent). Quite a number of people known for supporting privatization of public education and high-stakes testing.

But, other than Randi Weingarten and David Kirp, you won’t find any of the prominent figures who oppose the corporate model of measure-punish-close schools-fire teachers-TFA, etc. No Linda Darling-Hammond, no Deborah Meier, no Richard Rothstein, no John Kuhn, no Nancy Carlsson-Paige, no Carol Burris, no Leonie Haimson, none of the wonderful brave teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents who have bravely fought a failing set of federal and state policies.

No innovative thinking here, just the Voices of the Status Quo.

Here is the invitation:
We look forward to seeing you in New York City for the
2013 NBC News Education Nation Summit

Monday, October 7 and Tuesday, October 8

This year, the Summit will focus on “What It Takes” to get a student through our public school system ready to succeed in college, career and beyond. Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

• It takes a great start
• It takes engaged parents
• It takes well-trained teachers
• It takes a safe and secure environment
• It takes high standards
• It takes empowered students
• It takes a degree or credential beyond high school

We will profile a variety of students from across the country whose stories provide a collective snapshot of where we, as a country, stand in terms providing “What It Takes” for success.

As in years past, we will welcome some of the biggest names from politics, education, business and entertainment to join the conversation through newsmaker interviews, panel discussions and compelling individual presentations. In addition, this year’s Summit will feature new opportunities for networking and exchanging ideas among attendees and speakers.

Outside the walls of the Education Nation Summit, we will engage the public in this important conversation by utilizing the strength of top NBC News journalists and the reach of all NBC News platforms – from TODAY, Nightly News and Meet the Press, to msnbc, CNBC and Telemundo, to our digital platforms and social media, local affiliates and owned stations.

Space is limited, so please RSVP by Monday, September 23rd to attend the 2013 NBC News Education Nation Summit at The New York Public Library. This year’s Summit will conclude in the late afternoon on Tuesday, October 8th. The agenda and event details will be added to the registration site on an ongoing basis. If you have any questions, please contact Isaac Norbe at 646-745-1563 or EducationNationRSVP@nbcuni.com. We hope to see you at the Summit.

2013 Education Nation Summit Preview from NBC News on Vimeo.

2013 Summit Panelists
We will post more details on the panelists for the Summit to this page on an ongoing basis, so keep checking back.

Anant Agarwal
President, edX

Timothy M. Armstrong
CEO and Chairman, AOL Inc.

Melody Barnes
Chair, Forum for Community Solutions & CEO, Melody Barnes Solutions, LLC

Susan Benedetto
Co-Founder and Board President, Exploring the Arts

Tony Bennett
Singer and Co-Founder and Board Member, Exploring the Arts

Steve Beshear
Governor, Kentucky

Lloyd Blankfein
CEO and Chairman, Goldman Sachs

Michael Bloomberg
Mayor, New York City

Michele Brooks
Assistant Superintendent, Family and Student Engagement, Boston Public Schools

Sean P. “Jack” Buckley
Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics

Governor Jeb Bush
Former Governor of Florida

Dr. Pamela Cantor
Founder, President and CEO, Turnaround for Children, Inc.

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen
Superintendent, Austin Independent School District

David Coleman
President and Chief Executive Officer, The College Board

Ron Conway
Angel Investor

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
President, Purdue University

Dr. John E. Deasy
Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education

Jonah Edelman
Co-Founder and CEO, Stand for Children

Marian Wright Edelman
Founder and President, The Children’s Defense Fund

Debra Eschmeyer
Co-Founder and VP of External Affairs, FoodCorps

Allyson Felix
Olympic Gold Medalist

Dr. Phil Fisher
Psychologist and Professor, University of Oregon

Goldie Hawn
Actress and Founder and Board Chair, The Hawn Foundation

Anne T. Henderson
Author, Beyond the Bake Sale and Senior Consultant, Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Caroline Hoxby
Scott and Donya Bommer Professor in Economics, Stanford University

Jay Jefferson
Parent, Coral Gables, FL

Bobby Jindal
Governor, Louisiana

Ben Kaufman
Founder and CEO, Quirky

David Kirp
Author, Improbable Scholars and Professor of Public Policy, UC-Berkeley

Joel Klein
CEO, Amplify

Paul J. LeBlanc
President, Southern New Hampshire University

Jack Markell
Governor, Delaware

Sara Martinez Tucker
CEO, National Math + Science Initiative

Dr. Anthony Marx
President and CEO, The New York Public Library

Svante Myrick
Mayor, Ithaca

Paul Pastorek
Former Louisiana State Superintendent of Education and Member Emeritus, Chiefs for Change

Mike Pence
Governor, Indiana

Dr. Andre Perry
Founding Dean of Urban Education at Davenport University

Daniel R. Porterfield
President, Franklin & Marshall College

Deborah Quazzo
Founder and Managing Partner, GSV Advisors

Dr. Irwin Redlener
President and Co-Founder, Children’s Health Fund

Amanda Ripley
Author, The Smartest Kids in the World and TIME Investigative Journalist

Joel Rose
Co-Founder and CEO, New Classrooms Innovation Partners

Evelyne Santiago
City Year Corps Member

Dr. William Schmidt
University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

Jon Schnur
Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, America Achieves

David Shapiro
President and CEO, National Mentoring Partnership

M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter, Director, Producer and Founder of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation

Dr. Dana L. Suskind
Director, Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program and Professor, Surgery and Pediatrics, University of Chicago

Brenda Van Gorder
Director of Preschool Services, Granite School District

Dennis Walcott
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

Robert Wrubel
Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President, Apollo Group

dianerav | September 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Categories: Education Reform | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-5Vl
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Reign of Error -A must read

It was a foreshadowing event in 2011 when Diane Ravitch received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Moynihan believed that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Diane Ravitch expounds on that philosophy in her new book, Reign of Error.  Within the first few pages of her book, Ravitch artfully unmasks the agenda of the ‘education reformers’. She states,

Recognizing that most Americans have a strong attachment to their community schools, the corporate reformers have taken care to describe their aims in psuedo-populist terms. While trying to scare us with warnings of dire peril, they mask their agenda with rhetoric that is soothing and deceptive.  


In Reign of Error, Ravitch provides proof, back by solid research, that the corporate reformers have presented  their opinions as facts. She addresses every single claim these corporate reforms use as a pretext to attack our nation’s public school structure, our nation’s teachers, and our nation’s unions.  She includes the research, charts, tables, and empirical studies that form the strong foundation of her work.

Ravitch provides the proof, that our schools are not failing, the achievement gap is closing, we are not falling behind other nations, high school and graduation rates are at all time highs, poverty is being ignored, test scores are not the way to evaluate teachers, merit pay is a failure, and the importance of tenure. Ravitch exposes the audacity of Michelle Rhee, charter schools, parent trigger and virtual schools. Ravitch also lays out a clear concise  course of action towards the essentials of a good education. Challenging our nation to reverse the reformists aims towards destruction.

The reformers are already attacking Ravitch’s masterpiece with rhetoric fueled by ad hominem attacks. That’s the first clue, Ravitch has it right. Opinion does not stand up to facts.

The thousand of educators that follow Ravitch’s blog, will realize that Ravitch has only fed us a daily appetizer with her multiple postings. Reign of Error is the much anticipated main course, served up on a silver platter with all the trimmings.

This is a must read for all those who value our nation’s most valuable assets, our children and their public schools. Arm yourself with the facts..  Moynihan was right.

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