Author: Mitchell Robinson

The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

A recent editorial in USA Today (“We can expect more from teachers when we pay them like pros: Bloomberg and Weingarten”) presents an object lesson in how the politics surrounding the recent wave of teacher walkouts is creating some very troubling alliances in the nexus between business and education. Under the guise of presenting a “unified front”, former NYC mayor Mike […]

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An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

“Achievement School Districts” are a recent phenomenon in the corporate education reform movement. These “school districts” are designed to guarantee “rapid improvement in the state’s low performing schools”, although specific methods, techniques and strategies to accomplish this goal are rarely mentioned. ASDs have sprung up all across the nation, under various names and guises, from the “Education Achievement Authority” in […]

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A Simple Solution to Fix the Problem of our Failing Public Education System

Let me begin with an apology: I have intentionally lured you here under false pretenses. What do I mean? I’ve used that favorite strategy of internet hoaxes and supermarket tabloids, the “click bait headline”, to catch your eye, whet your appetite, and influence you to “click” the link, which brought you here. According to Wikipedia, “click bait headlines” rely on […]

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Why underestimating Betsy DeVos is not just wrong–it’s dangerous

Why underestimating Betsy DeVos is not just wrong–it’s dangerous

I’ve been seeing a number of thoughtful, well-intentioned posts lately from very intelligent friends, wondering how and why Betsy DeVos could be so uninformed about schools and education, and whether she could be convinced to move in better directions by talking with and listening to experienced teachers and ed policy experts. The answer is “no,” and here’s why… I understand […]

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Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Secretary of Education and Saturday Night Live fixture Betsy DeVos is fond of saying that picking a school should be as easy as choosing an Uber or a Lyft. She bases this belief on the economic theories that buttress much of the neo-liberal and conservative approach to education reform: As economist Milton Friedman had theorized decades earlier, Ohio legislators believed […]

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Secretary Betsy DeVos at CPAC 2017 Feburary 23rd 2017 by Michael Vadon

Betsy DeVos attacks teachers as “defenders of the status quo”–here’s why that makes no sense

Speaking at a conservative political conference recently, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called teachers and public education advocates “defenders of the status quo.” Indeed, it has become one of her favorite insults, and one she seems to use increasingly when she feels defensive or under attack–something that happens pretty frequently. The term “status quo” means “the existing state of affairs, […]

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Tahoe Elementary School, Sacramento, CA

The sinister motive behind Trump & DeVos’ plan to “harden schools”

The news has been full of reports over the last few weeks on the need to “harden” our schools in response to the seemingly daily onslaught of school shootings in our nation. Many of our elected officials, such as President* Donald Trump and Secretary of Education* Betsy DeVos, have called for teachers and other school personnel to be given firearms […]

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Betsy DeVos is wrong about competition improving public schools

Betsy DeVos claimed last night, in her disastrous “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl, that “choice” (in the form of vouchers and charter schools) is the solution to improving public education–specifically, that when competition is inserted into the “education marketplace” it forces traditional public schools to improve.   But that’s just flat-out wrong. For a deeper dive into why this […]

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Secretary Betsy DeVos at CPAC 2017 Feburary 23rd 2017 by Michael Vadon

The stunning hypocrisy of Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos tweeted the other day about the lack of innovation in today’s public schools, saying: “Most students are starting a new school year that is all too familiar. Desks lined up in rows. Their teacher standing in front of the room, framed by a blackboard. They dive into a curriculum written for the ‘average’ student. They follow the same […]

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Enough with the bonuses, Mr. President*!

Enough with the bonuses, Mr. President*!

In the aftermath of yet another horrific school shooting, this one leaving 17 students and teachers dead in Parkland, FL, President Trump has ignored the cause of the problem, and has instead offered an almost incomprehensibly bad solution to the wrong problem–suggesting that teachers who agree to carry loaded weapons into schools, and received some sort of firearms training, would […]

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Arm Teachers? Yes! (But not with guns…)

Arm Teachers? Yes! (But not with guns…)

Teachers can’t get their schools to pay for the professional development they need for the jobs they have now. Most teachers I know are paying out of pocket for travel to and from conferences, registration fees, professional membership dues, and graduate courses. Where’s the money going to come from to purchase each teacher a weapon and provide the training needed […]

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