Tag Archives: news

Department of Education Will Continue to Spend More Than $1 Million Per Month to Protect DeVos

(Other than to wonder why a Secretary of Education needs this level of protection, there’s really nothing to add to this post from Diane Ravitch’s Blog)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico reports that the Department of Education will renew the agreement with the U.S. Marshalls Service to protect Secretary Betsy DeVos, which cost nearly $8 million for six months. This occurs at a time when DeVos has enthusiastically endorsed budget cuts of billions to the Department’s programs. One program that she agreed to cut is a $10 million subsidy to the Special Olympics. Should the Dartment pay for her security detail or for opportunities for students with disabilities to demonstrate their athletic accomplishments? She is a billionaire. Why doesn’t she pay for her own security or ask her brother Erik Prince to send over a detail of his mercenaries?

“DEVOS, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE TO RENEW SECURITY AGREEMENT: The U.S. Marshals Service and the Education Department plan to renew an agreement to continue providing protective services for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a spokesman for the Marshals Service tells Pro Education’s Caitlin…

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The Education Bloggers Network

Mark’s Text Terminal is now part of  The Education Bloggers Network, about which I am particularly excited. What is the Education Bloggers Network? The Network was founded by Jonathan Pelto, who sent me this conspectus of its mission:

The Education Bloggers Network:

The Education Bloggers Network is an informal confederation of more than 230 bloggers who are dedicated to supporting public education, pushing back the corporate education reform industry and their agenda, while ensuring that the voices of parents, teachers and other educators are part of the national, state and local debate about education policy.

While many members of the Network have their own blogs sites, some write commentary pieces for national, regional and local newspapers while others use their Facebook or other social media platforms to write about education issues.

Like the Committees of Correspondence leading up to America’s War for Independence, education bloggers work alone, in groups and as a collective to educate, persuade and mobilize parents, teachers, education advocates and citizens to stand up and speak out against those who seek to undermine public education, privatize public schools and turn classrooms into little more than Common Core testing factories.

The Education Bloggers Network was developed in conjunction with the publication and roll-out of Diane Ravitch’s best-selling book, “Reign of Error.”    It was founded and is managed by Jonathan Pelto, an education advocate, former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, communications strategist and education blogger. 

The Education Bloggers Network has become a vibrant community of advocacy journalists, investigative bloggers and public education activists working to make sure that citizens have accurate and timely information about public education issues at the local, state and federal level.

I thank Jonathan Pelto for extending an invitation to join this distinguished group of scholars, educators, journalists, writers and activists.

Lubienskis: Why is Betsy DeVos Pushing Vouchers When Research Shows They Don’t Work?

(Betsy DeVos is an ideologue whose views on education are seriously at odds with reality. Here’s another excellent post from Diane Ravitch’s Blog exposing Secretary DeVos’s penchant for pursuing failed policies.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Lubienski are among the nation’s leading researchers on the subject of school choice. Their book, “The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools” is must reading. Christopher Lubienski is professor of education policy at Indiana University. Sarah Theule Lubienski is a professor of mathematics education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

They can’t understand why Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration are pushing vouchers when evidence shows that they actually harm children.

This article appears in Education Week.

“For years, voucher advocates have pointed to a series of more than a dozen reports—usually funded or conducted by voucher proponents—that used randomized approaches, similar to those used in medical research, to isolate the effects of vouchers on treatment groups in citywide programs.

“While other researchers have questioned those reports over the last decade and a half, voucher advocates have claimed that these “

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DeVos Invites Anti-LGBT Groups to Join Father’s Day Event in D.C.

(I’m not sure what more I could do to make this grim news grimmer; Betsy DeVos is a right-wing zealot who understands very little about education, and even less about diversity and strength.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

The DeVos family foundations have long supported (even helped to found) anti-gay groups. Betsy DeVos’s mother was one of the major contributors to Prop 8 in California, which declared gay marriage illegal. Her family members are on the boards of Focus on the Family and Family Research Council. At her confirmation hearings, DeVos was asked about her connections to these anti-LGBT organizations, and of course she feigned innocence. When asked about her being listed as a member of the board of her mother’s foundation, which is rabidly anti-gay, she claimed she was not on the board. When asked why her name was listed as an officer of that board, she said it was a clerical error. The same clerical error occurred over fourteen years, even though the IRS returns were audited.

The National Parent Teacher Association withdrew from the conference.

A personal note: my younger son is gay. He and…

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DeVos Shows What Vouchers are About

(If you really want to understand Betsy DeVos and her priorities, I don’t think you need look much further than this post from Diane Ravitch’s Blog)

Diane Ravitch's blog

When she was questioned by Congress, Betsy DeVos let the cat out of the bag about vouchers.

The U.S. Department of Education will hand out money for vouchers and will not enforce civil rights laws.

“She lifted the curtain on school vouchers and made clear exactly what this system of using taxpayer funds to pay for private and religious schools is.

“It’s a way for some parents, particularly bigots, to get taxpayers to subsidize their attempts to evade or break the law.

“The revelation came during DeVos’s testimony before Congress about President Donald Trump’s proposed new federal budget and that budget’s effect on education.

“DeVos found herself questioned by U.S. Rep. Katharine Clark, D-Massachusetts. Clark inquired about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a voucher school here in Indiana — Bloomington, in fact — that boasts that it will deny admission to students who might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The school…

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Sequencing DNA in High School Science Classes

Back in the early 1980s, while living in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, I fell in with a group doctoral candidates in the genetics department of the University. I was and remain no genius when it comes to science At that time, the lab in which these scholars worked, under the direction of a man named Fred Blattner, was on the cutting edge of genetic research. So perhaps only initiates into that world really understood what was going on in the Blattner Lab, as it was known.

The old friend who introduced me to this circle, Tim Durfee, remains a close friend of mine. So I was delighted this week when he sent me a PDF from the Genome Web on a new technology, developed at Columbia University, to bring what was once the arcane science of DNA sequencing into middle school and high school classrooms. Tim will develop the analytical software for this endeavor, and he is clearly excited about it.

For this is, in fact, exciting: bringing real-world scientific inquiry into the high school classroom can only be a good thing. If this interests you, you may want to have a look at this PDF: PlayDNA Works on Bringing DNA Sequencing, Big Data Analysis to Secondary Schools.

A Writer Checks Out Betsy DeVos’ Quack Brain Training Center

(Here’s more essential reporting from Diane Ravitch’s Blog on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. You know, as a fan of cheap comedy, I loved the Dumb and Dumber movies; that doesn’t mean, however, that I think they should inform federal education policy.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

When Betsy DeVos became Secretary, she left the board of Neurocore but did not give up her multimillion dollar financial investment. Ulrich Boseris, a journalist, signed up for Neurocore services in Palm Beach, Florida.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/26/betsy-devos-neurocore/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

He describes what happened to him, then concludes:

SO WHAT DOES IT SAY that our education secretary is backing Neurocore?

For one, it seems that feeble science doesn’t bother DeVos. The budget document released by her department on Tuesday emphasizes that education decisions should be informed by “reliable data, strong research, and rigorous evaluations.” But like her boss, President Trump, DeVos apparently isn’t one to let evidence get in the way of what she wants to do. A recent study of school vouchers by DeVos’s agency showed that one program dragged down math scores by as much as seven points. Still, DeVos champions voucher programs, dismissing her opponents this past week as “flat-earthers.”

We don’t…

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