Archives for category: Education Reform

The third and final installment in the National Council of Thanksgiving Quality (NCTQ) advisories offers helpful advice about how to continue rating your own Thanksgiving dinner (and that of your neighbors).


And don’t forget the Pledge:


Our Pledge (Talking Turkey):

At NCTQ, we will continue to publish reports that represent the terrible quality of your family’s Thanksgiving Dinner. We will continue to support and publish research on standards and best practices for Thanksgiving Dinner, and we will work to impose those standards on your family. We will use whatever research we can find or create to forward these goals. We will lobby politicians and corporate sponsors to achieve our ends. We seek to standardize all Thanksgiving Dinners, so all US families can be sure they are presenting the best Thanksgiving Dinner for their children. We will also create and support private corporations that will derive enormous profits from delivering a high-quality Thanksgiving Dinner to your family. We will not rest until every child has the high-quality Thanksgiving Dinner he or she deserves.

When you hear about NCTQ, think TURKEY!!



Do you want to know how to rate your Thanksgiving dinner?


The National Council on Thanksgiving Quality has established absolutely crucial standards that you can apply in your home to your own Thanksgiving dinner.


Here are some of the standards that make the difference between a highly effective Thanksgiving dinner and a horrible family experience that will bring shame to your household:


Thanksgiving Turkey should have at least a 73% degree of crispiness, with a slightly darker than golden finish on the skin.
• At least ¾ cups of juice should squeeze from each 2.3 pounds of cooked Thanksgiving Turkey.
• Lasagna should not be an ingredient in Thanksgiving Dinners.
• Stove Top Stuffing must be used, without sausage or oysters. Corn meal stuffing may be substituted, but it is not recommended, as corn meal stuffing is not as effective generally as a stuffing made from Stove Top.
• Yams must be fresh, but butter nut squash may be frozen.
• A table of effective food temperatures has been established and must be followed.


Do it right and you can Race to the Top of your neighborhood. Break the rules and you may be subject to a fine or seizure of your home and loss of employment.

This is a must-read on Thanksgiving Day.


Why settle for the mediocre Thanksgiving Day ceremonies when you can raise standards, every child can have a high-quality meal, and no child will be left behind?


You can begin by rating your own family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Let us give thanks for family, friends, and the right to speak freely. There is so much potential for good in our country, and we must all do our best to allow that potential to become reality. We must never back down from those who are imperious, authoritarian, selfish, and greedy. We must push back against injustice, violence, intolerance, and war. We must seek a newer world, a better world. And we are free to do that. For which we must be thankful.

Steven Singer knew that he had to say something the day after the grand jury verdict in Ferguson. He looked out at his students, mostly black and brown, and asked for a moment of silence.

In that moment, they and he understood one another.

“So we bowed our heads in silence.

I’ve never heard a sound quit like this emptiness. Footsteps pattered in the hall, an adult’s voice could be heard far away giving directions. But in our room you could almost hear your own heart beating. What a lonely sound, more like a rhythm than any particular note of the scale.

“But as we stood there together it was somehow less lonely. All those solitary hearts beating with a single purpose.”

There was one question he could not answer:

“One boy asked me, “Why does this keep happening, Mr. Singer?””

Zephyr Teachout, who ran against Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary and won 1/3 of the vote despite no money and no name recognition, has written a brilliant column in The Daily Beast, warning that the millionaires and billionaires who bought the State Senate now are aiming to take over public schools.

She compares their strategy to “The Hunger Games.”

“The same hedge-fund managers who bought the New York State Senate now want to take over public education in the state and strip it bare, while they celebrate excessive wealth in high style. They’re pushing for a special session in Albany this December to cement the takeover of education policy….”

“In New York’s Hunger Games, just like in the books and movies, those in the Capitol live in a very different reality than the rest of us. In our Capitol, Albany lawmakers enjoy a flood of money, personal accounts, and protection for incumbents against attacks. In the Districts—the cities and towns of New York—the reality is bleaker. Citizens must work to survive and make do with the limited resources afforded to them by the Capitol….”

“Like President Snow, who starves the Districts, tests the residents with the Hunger Games competition, and then sets out to destroy them, the hedge-funders want to take over our schools with the same three steps: Starve, Test, Destroy. Budgets are cut severely, tests reveal “poor performance,” and then public schools, having been thus gutted, are replaced by privately managed charters.

First, the starvation: The state of New York is being sued again for funding public schools below constitutional levels. Cuomo’s budgets have stripped grade schools of art, music, sports, and counselors. Without money, classrooms grow so large no teacher can manage them, and kids can’t learn. Billionaires benefit as the money “saved” by not funding schools goes to tax breaks for the rich….”

“Second, the testing: Children are subject to a ridiculous battery of tests that lead to huge profits by corporations like the testing company Pearson but does little to improve the lives of the children. We’re talking about high-stakes, high-stress testing, including testing of the controversial Common Core. These tests prod and poke the children, creating lots of anxiety and taking away from the joy of learning.”

“Third, the destruction: These hedge-fund managers want to eliminate all limits and oversight of charter schools. They want to take control of New York City schools away from Mayor Bill de Blasio and let privatization run rampant. And they want billions in new funding from taxpayers to build new charter schools everywhere across the state, taking even more resources away from hard-pressed public schools.”

Read it all. It is amazingly insightful.


The Tulsa Two join the honor roll as heroes of education!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Two Tulsa teachers risked their jobs by refusing to administer state tests to their first grade students, reports John Thompson.

Karen Hendren and Nikki Jones hereby join the blog’s honor roll as heroes if American children, defending the rights and childhood of their students.

He writes:

“These first grade teachers, Miss Karen Hendren and Mrs. Nikki Jones were featured in a front page Tulsa World and the United Opt Out web site. They wrote an open letter to parents documenting the damage being done by testing and the new value-added evaluation system being implemented by the Tulsa schools under the guidance of the Gates Foundation.

“Miss Hendren and Mrs. Jones explain how this obsession with testing “has robbed us of our ethics. They are robbing children of their educational liberties.” Our poorest kids are falling further behind because they are being robbed of reading instruction. By Hendren’s and Jones’ estimate…

View original 224 more words

Jonathan Lovell reminds us that one of the central tenets of “education reform” today is “creative disruption.” This is a popular concept in the corporate world but totally inappropriate for children and schools, who need stability and predictability.

Lovell understands that Common Core is intended to be a massive disruption, and that some politicians eagerly await dismal results on the tests as a prelude to destroying public education.

He writes:

“The problem faced by teachers and a few heroic administrators today, however, is not so much to understand the thinking behind the Common Core as it is to figure out how to prevent the damage that the “predictable failure rate” on the spring 2015 Common Core assessments will do to the students in their classrooms and schools. It’s in response to this important and urgent “What can we do?” question that I provide the following thoughts.”

His thoughts take him back to theLewis Carroll story of the Jabberwock.

“What struck me almost immediately was that the “shocking” effect of this image owed a good deal to the Jabberwock’s unexpectedly human apparel and extremely human central teeth. It gradually dawned on me that what Dodgson and Tenniel had set out to represent as the source of all that threatened to destroy Alice’s childhood world was the voraciousness and lumbering acquisitiveness of 19th century industrial capitalism (see here for a recent study confirming these suspicions), all decked out in vest, spats, and a handlebar mustache!

“The fact that this part serpent, part dragon, part insect, part man seemed to emerge, inexorably, from a Darwinian-like primeval ooze, gave the image added power. I could understand why the publishers might not have wanted this image to greet the young readers of “Lewis Carroll’s” second Alice book!…”

“So what are we as teachers and administrators to make of this encounter? How might Dodgson and Tenniel’s understanding provide us with ways to confront today’s “monsters” of educational reform, who threaten to “disrupt” our cherished system of public education to its very core?

“I would suggest we engage in a little “creative disruption” ourselves. We could begin with what our Finnish colleagues in education have already done: rename the seeming juggernaut of international educational reform as GERM, for Global Education Reform Movement…..”

“It was a child who had the courage and temerity to say “The emperor has no clothes!””

And 100,000 Twitter friends.


Thank you!


We have our trolls, we have our regular sage commentators, we have a wealth of knowledge contributed by teachers and parents from across the nation and even from other parts of the world, we have our own poet, we have our wit who quotes the dead Greek guys, we have a community who cares about better education for all. Thank you for joining the conversation.

When the grand jury was convened, I thought sure there would be an indictment. There was not. Obviously, I did not hear the evidence, but this much is clear: Michael Brown, an unarmed black youth, was shot dead by a police officer.


Nothing that Michael did or said on that fateful day could justify his death. I look at events like this and feel that the young man got a death sentence. No matter what the grand jury heard, Michael didn’t do anything that deserved a death sentence.


Having lost a child myself, I grieve for his parents. I grieve for our country.


I grieve even more for Michael, who lost his life in an altercation with a police officer. Does it seem too much to expect the police to protect us, not to harm us? Michael was owed as much protection as I hope for and expect. The police should be our guardians. I don’t have any answers. Just a deep sense that a terrible injustice was done.


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