Tag Archives: news

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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DeVos Hires Top Official at For-Profit University to Help “Right-Size” Department of Education

(This post from Diane Ravitch’s Blog doesn’t require any elaboration, I guess.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jennifer Berkshire reports that Secretary Betsy DeVos has turned to a top official from the scandal-plagued for-profit higher education industry to “right-size” the Department of Education.

As the New York Times said when his appointment was announced:

“As chief compliance officer for a corporate owner of for-profit colleges, Robert S. Eitel spent the past 18 months as a top lawyer for a company facing multiple government investigations, including one that ended with a settlement of more than $30 million over deceptive student lending.”

Eitel worked for Bridgepoint Education Inc., which took over a small private college in 2005, called Ashford College. Bridgepoint turned it into a colossus of online higher education. In 2005, Ashford had 300 students. By 2010, it had more than 80,000.

Berkshire interviewed Christopher Crowley of Wayne State, who explained how the business leaders of the new enterprises turned a struggling small college into a profitable success:

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“Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats”

(Here’s something from Diane Ravitch that I think is well worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you’re concerned with the disastrous educational policies coming from the Department of Education under its current, grossly under-qualified secretary, Betsy DeVos.) 

Diane Ravitch's blog

I wrote this article for The New Republic.

https://newrepublic.com/article/142364/dont-like-betsy-devos-blame-democrats

It explains how Democrats set the stage for DeVos’ anything-goes approach to school choice by their advocacy of charter schools. Charters are the gateway to vouchers. We have seen many groups like Democrats for Education Reform try to draw a sharp distinction between charters and vouchers. It doesn’t work. Once you begin defaming public schools and demanding choice, you abandon the central argument for public schools: they belong to the public.

The political side to this issue is that the Democratic Party sold out a significant part of its base–teachers, teachers unions, and minorities–by joining the same side as ALEC, the Walton family, and rightwing conservatives who never approved of public schools.

Their pursuit of Wall Street money in exchange for supporting charters helped to disintegrate their base. To build a viable coalition for the future, the Party must walk away…

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