Archive for November, 2013

Diane Ravitch's blog

The law specifically prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from interfering or directing curriculum or instruction.* There must be a hole in that law big enough to drive a truck through, and drive the Obama administration did.

As we all know, the Obama administration used the $5 billion in Race to the Top funding, and its power (contested) to issue waivers, to push, prod, and bribe states into “voluntarily” abandoning their own standards and adopting the untried Common Core standards. Some states dropped weak standards, some dropped better standards that had proved their worth.

Secretary Duncan says these standards will make everyone “college and career ready.” The nation’s major corporations agree. So do the nation’s two big teachers’ unions.

But how do they know what the effect of the Common Core standards will be?

We know that they cause a dramatic decline in test scores. Their boosters say that is…

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Diane Ravitch's blog

An excellent and unexpected article appeared in the business section of the New York Times on November 5, written by Eduardo Porter.

Despite bipartisan rhetoric about “closing the achievement gap,” and giving every child an equal change “regardless of zip code,” the evidence suggests that this is empty blather. What really matters is which schools get the best funding.

Porter writes:”

The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among the 34 O.E.C.D. nations, only in the United States, Israel and Turkey do disadvantaged schools have lower teacher/student ratios than in those serving more privileged students.

Andreas Schleicher, who runs the O.E.C.D.’s international educational assessments, put it to me this way: “The bottom line is that the vast majority of O.E.C.D. countries…

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