Tag Archives: news

Bob Shepherd at Praxis

As I have repeated ad nauseam in these pages, Mark’s Text Terminal is not a political or educational policy blog. Any number of reasons suffice to explain this, but I always return to the most salient of them: there are quite a few smart and well-informed people, many of whose websites can be found in the right margin of this site under the heading Blogs Followed at Mark’s Text Terminal, covering those topics. That said, I intend in the coming months to highlight several of these blogs.

The assault on public education has now reached a stage where I can no long remain completely silent. Fortunately, as I say, there are plenty of people speaking and perceptively, and buttressing their arguments with evidence, something that happens less and less in public discourse, about educational policy.

Starting out, I want to highlight the work of Bob Shepherd, who blogs under the heading Praxis. Bob is, as Diane Ravitch noted recently, a polymath. I originally made his acquaintance in the comments forum of Dr. Ravitch’s blog, where I occasionally presume to comment on topics of the day. Bob is an acutely perspicacious and wide-ranging commentator on educational policy, particularly where privatization of public schools and the scandals that often ensue are concerned.

That said, Bob covers a lot of other ground in Praxis. He recently posted a lengthy discourse on the physical and philosophical nature of time, a topic I find abstruse (I dropped Lester Mazor’s “Perspectives on Time” seminar at Hampshire College in the fall of 1994 because I didn’t have the intellectual stamina to keep up with it and plan my honors thesis) and fascinating at the same time. I guess I like to imagine that in another life, Bob and I would be an Intellectual History department of two at some small, lively, and innovative liberal arts college.

If you’re at all interested in issues and problems in educational policy—or to quote briefly from his “About” page, “curriculum design…,linguistics…, hermeneutics…, philosophy…, classical and jazz guitar…, history of ideas…, heuristics for innovation,” (and I’ve enumerated only about one-quarter of this list), then you should by all means point your browser at Praxis.

Please Consider Signing This…

It is time for Betsy DeVos to go. Please consider signing this petition from the Network for Public Education.

DeVos Wants to Defund Special Olympics, Boost Funding for School Choice

[This is disgraceful. I don’t believe this smug, pampered heiress has a decent bone in her body.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos was grilled yesterday in Congressional hearings about her budget proposals. She was repeatedly questioned about her desire to increase charter school funding from $440 million to $500 million a year. The Network for Public Education report on the waste, fraud, and abuse in this program was cited.

While increasing the charter budget, DeVos wants to cut $18 million from the Special Olympics, which benefits 272,000 children with disabilities. 

To put it mildly, her priorities are wacky. She wants to cut the budget of a successful and valuable program while heaping money on charters that are likely to never open or quickly close.

DeVos said the philanthropic community already funds the Special Olympics. The same is true of charters. Billionaires and Wall Street heap hundreds of millions on charters. The Waltons alone have spent more than a billion on charters. Why does the Federal government add hundreds of millions more?

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Public Schools Week Starts Today! Support Our Public Schools!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Public Schools Week is March 25-29.

Download the toolkit of the Network for Public Education and do your part to support public schools! 

The forces of privatization are rising up, making promises and failing to keep any of those promises.

Public schools are the bedrock of democracy, doors open to all. Certified teachers in every classroom. Public schools strive for equality of educational opportunity, not privilege for the few.

Get involved. Do yourpart as a citizen.

Whose schools? Our schools!

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The New Yorker Defends AOC

[Here’s something from Diane Ravitch’s Blog that seems perfect for a repost during Women’s History Month 2019.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a great article by New Yorker editor David Remnick about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is almost funny how she has rattled the GOP. They hate, hate, hate her. Is it her youth, her idealism, her beauty, her brains? Is it because she has a heart and they don’t? Is it because she has a soul and they don’t? She frightens them. I worry for her safety.

David Remnick writes:

Sebastian Gorka, late of the Trump Administration, stood before the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference last week and made plain the inner frenzy of a party that must place…

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Black History Month 2019: Coda

Earlier this week, NBC News ran this surprisingly frank and cogent piece on Black History Month. Under any circumstances, and particularly those in which I’ve spent the past 16 years working, I’ve never found satisfying the idea of a single month for Black History; as this feature rightly observes, in the not particularly humble opinion of Mark’s Text Terminal, Black History is United States History.

Shameful, If the Adults Involved Were Actually Capable of Experiencing Shame

Working in a school where things like this happen doesn’t exactly cause my heart to swell with pride. Casual brutality is part of the culture of this school: teachers know it, students know it, and parents know it. The administration of the school is apparently ignorant of it.

Needless to say, I am already planning my departure.