Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., has a warning for Democrats that school choice is a bad choice.

He omits Republicans because they have become the party of school choice and privatization.

School choice is an alluring term, but the reality is far different from the rhetoric.

He writes:

“In our culture the “the right to choose” suggests an almost inalienable individual right, making for powerfully resonant political rhetoric. However, behind the easy-to-swallow positive connotation of choice, there is underlying message in its use in the context of education. If stated explicitly, the message might cause a little indigestion: Be out for yourself and don’t worry so much about your neighbors or community…

“However, what is moral or sensible for an individual does not make for sound or just education policy for a society. The moral burden falls not on parents, but on those who knowingly advance the wellbeing of the few at the expense of the many….

“Supporters of equity and democracy must depend upon and develop agency and hope for community solutions because when there is only despair, the only rational course of action is individual survival. Ideological supporters of privatization understand this and actively undermine democratic participation and the promise of collective solutions. That is why since the 1980’s they have followed an explicit starve-the-beast strategy to defund public institutions in order to undermine quality, public trust, and confidence. That is why they favor private charter boards over elected school boards.
I have come to believe that the struggle for equity must include a tandem strategy of opposition and advocacy.
Friends of equity need to oppose funding charter school, not because choice is inherently a bad idea but because the spread of charter schools is morally corrosive and drains money from other local schools. Since funds are always limited, the opportunities for the few come with the sacrifice of others. “They are stealing your child’s future,” might be an appropriate opposition slogan. …

“Progress requires an opt-in campaign for local public schools based on community rather than individualist values. Advocacy should highlight the fundamental characteristics of effective public schools both in the U.S. and abroad and contrast these with prevalent market-based solutions….

“Candidates need to hear from the public: There are better choices than school choice to improve education.”

A confession: an anthology that I edited in 1990 is on the Common Core recommended reading list. It is titled “The American Reader.” It has songs, poems, and speeches (thus, a mixture of “literature” and “informational text.” The CC reading list does not mention my name as the editor. I didn’t discover this until I began to receive royalty checks for this book, published 25 years ago.

Regardless, I will continue to criticize the Common Core. I don’t think a group of self-appointed educrats should tell the nation’s teachers what percentage of their time should be devoted to literature or nonfiction

I was born July 1, 1938, at 12:01 am at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. I was my parents’ third child. We lived in a tiny house on Dunlop Street. Five more children followed over the next 10 years. We would eventually be five boys and three girls.


I went to public schools from K-12. Then, encouraged by my rabbi and his wife, I applied to Wellesley and was accepted. Going east to college changed my life.


Birthdays make you think back on your life as you get older. When you are young, birthdays make you either want to party or think about the future.


I’ll save the look back for my memoirs, if I ever find the time.


I’m still looking forward. The struggle to save public education against privatization and to protect kids from test-mania will grow stronger. The opt out movement will spread across the nation. Researchers will continue to demonstrate the failed policies of high-stakes testing and privatization.


You can help. If you want to make a gift for my birthday, join the Network for Public Education. Give as generously as you can. The Network helps grassroots activists across the nation and connects them to allies.


Here is the contact information: The Network for Public Education. Open the link to learn how to contribute online and/or become a member. This organization is fighting for public schools, for students, parents, teachers, and all other citizens who care about the future of our democracy.


If you want to send a check, here is the address:


Network for Public Education
P.O. Box 44200
Tucson, AZ



When Congress returns from its Independence Day recess on July 7, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up bipartisan legislation to overhaul “No Child Left Behind.” The bill the Senate will consider significantly reduces federal test-based accountability requirements but continues the federal mandate to test every child every year in elementary and middle school. Grassroots pressure on your two U.S. Senators can make the federal government follow the lead of many states in reversing policies that encourage standardized exam overuse and misuse.

National Help Roll Back Federal Testing Overkill — Urge Your U.S. Senators to Support the Tester Amendment Now!

Major Education Groups to Congress: Get Rid of “No Child” Law Already

California Principal Backs Down From Punishing Students Whose Families Opted Out of State Tests

Delaware Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Approve Opt Out Bill, Forward to Governor for Signature

District of Columbia How Standardized Tests Are Impeding Learning

Florida No Word on Penalties for Test Maker After Computer Exam Problems

Florida School Board Says State Downplaying Extent of Computer Test Foul Up Impact

Indiana District Supers Say Don’t Evaluate Schools With Unsound Test Data

Massachusetts Support of High-Stakes Exams Misses the Immeasurable

Minnesota Testing Faces Big Cuts

Missouri Districts Still Waiting for Delayed Testing Results

Montana Feds Should Not Punish State for Testing Company Screw-ups

Montana Two Teachers Run for State Education Superintendent to Reign In Testing

New Jersey One Step Closer to Banning K-2 Standardized Tests

New Mexico 10,000 Opted Out Statewide Because They Know the Score About PARCC Tests

New York Relaxes Gag Rule Preventing Teachers From Discussing Test Questions

New York Reasons to Be Hopeful for Assessment Reform

Ohio School Testing Metrics Punish Disadvantaged Districts and Students

Ohio Poised to Drop PARCC Test

Oregon Signs Bill Making Test Opt Outs Easier Despite Arne Duncan’s Threats

Oregon New Law Could Lead to More Opt Outs

Pennsylvania Local School Board Passes Resolution Urging State to Ease Up on Testing

Pennsylvania Spanish Speaking Students Say “No” to Standardized Tests

Tennessee: Are Test Statistics a True Measure of Learning in Public Schools?

Virginia Meeting Testing Goals Harder as Number of English Language Learners Soars

Washington Test-Makers Blame Scheduling Problems for Scoring Delay
Washington Graduation at Risk for 2,000 Due to Political Stalemate on Testing

University Admissions: June SAT Timing/Scoring Error Leads to Calls for Summer Retest, Refunds, and Rebates

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

For two years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has shredded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legislative agenda and imposed his own wishes on the city. De Blasio tried to rein in the free-wheeling charter sector, and Cuomo responded by expanding it and forcing the city to give free public space to charters or pay their rent in private space. This year, de Blasio sought permanent extension of mayoral control. He ended up with only one year.


Until today, de Blasio has faithfully supported Cuomo, despite the rebuffs and slights. He helped Cuomo get the nomination of the Working Families Party, which threatened to endorse Zephyr Teachout. He gave the premier nominating speech for Cuomo at the State Democratic convention, showing progressive support for a governor who has governed as a conservative.


Today, de Blasio finally let loose on Cuomo.



“Mayor Bill de Blasio, in candid and searing words rarely employed by elected officials of his stature, accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday of stymieing New York City’s legislative goals out of personal pettiness, “game-playing” and a desire for “revenge.”


“In an extraordinary interview, Mr. de Blasio, appearing to unburden himself of months’ worth of frustrations, said that Mr. Cuomo — who, like the mayor, is a Democrat — “did not act in the interests” of New Yorkers by blocking measures like reforming rent laws and allowing a long-term extension of the mayor’s ability to control the city’s public schools.


“I started a year and a half ago with a hope of a very strong partnership,” Mr. de Blasio said of the governor, whom he has known for two decades. “I have been disappointed at every turn. And these last couple of examples really are beyond the pale…..


“I’m not going to be surprised if these statements lead to some attempts at revenge,” Mr. de Blasio said, his voice even. “And we’ll just call them right out. Because we are just not going to play that way.”


Teachers know how vindictive and petty Cuomo can be. He fancies himself qualified to dictate how teachers should be evaluated, a subject about which he is totally uninformed.

An educator forwarded an email he received, inviting him to apply for a fellowship at Néw York Educator Voice-America Achieve. If accepted, he would gain training in writing opinion pieces, speaking at public forums, and becoming a voice for Common Core. The organization would help him to get invitations to national conferences as a speaker and to become a prominent voice for the profession, on behalf of Common Core.

Here is the invitation:

“Dear Colleagues,

“Happy summer!

“The application deadline for the New York Educator Voice Fellowship is this Friday, July 3rd. The Fellowship is a really great program for teachers and principals who are interested in education policy and looking to make a difference in their communities and across New York. Don’t miss this chance to help one of your favorite teachers take advantage of this opportunity.

HERE is a link to our application website where you can learn more about the program and submit a nomination.”

The program offers to give teachers “voice,” but the voice must be used to support the corporate reform narrative. This is no voice at all; it is hiring teachers and principals to endorse someone else’s agenda.

The program is paid for by Michael Bloomberg, the Harry and Leona Helmsley Foundation (“queen of mean”), and the Gates Foundation.

A reader shares this information with us. The state will administer assessments to children in kindergarten but parents have the right to opt out. Will the parents know? If you live in Washington, make sure you inform parents of their right to opt out their children from this unnecessary assessment. Let the children play.



So here in the Pacific North West, our legislature just finished a special session and they’re now into the third. One part of our legislature, the House, just passed Washington HB 1491…”Expand Early Childhood Education Across the State” and has nice fine print related to testing kindergarteners and 3-4 year-olds. That’s right. TESTING. FOR KINDERGARTENERS. Section 2, [2][a] “Improve short-term and long-term educational outcomes for children as measured by assessments including, but not limited to, the Washington kindergarten inventory of developing skills in RCW 28A.655.080. The only saving grace? RCW 28A.150.315 is in force WITH THE EXCEPTION OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN EXCUSED FROM PARTICIPATION BY THEIR PARENTS OR GUARDIANS. That’s right. The K-12 public schools will now HAVE to administer the test with all the attendant costs and time suck but, as a parent, you won’t be hearing how you can opt-out. Lots of more work to do. Then again, I’m so pissed about it that it gives me the energy I need to fight, fight, fight.

Here is a forecast of education policy under Jeb Bush.


It is actually worse that what is portrayed. Bush is an evangelist for vouchers, charter schools, for-profit charter schools, virtual charter schools, and anything other than public schools.

In an interview, John White made it clear that he wants to keep his $275,000 job as state superintendent in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal pushed the state board to hire him after his brief stint as superintendent of the Néw Orleans Recovery School Diistrict. White loyally implemented Jindal’s agenda of vouchers, charters, for-profit schools, and attacks on teachers’ due process, as well as test-based evaluation. But then Jindal and White locked horns over Common Core. Jindal wanted out, White didn’t. (White’s only school experience is TFA. Also he attended the unaccredited Broad Superintendents’ Academy.)

Now one of the leading candidates for governor has said White has to go. Open the statement for links.

John Bel Edwards issued the following statement;

Contact:; 225-435-9808
Edwards: John White Will Never Be Superintendent On My Watch

BATON ROUGE, La. – State Representative and candidate for governor John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) responded to news that State Superintendent John White wishes to remain in his current position under the next governor’s administration.

“I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as Superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said. “We have so many highly qualified candidates right here in Louisiana that we don’t need to go looking in New York City for our next head of K-12 education.”

White’s tenure as State Superintendent has been frought with controversy and accusations of wrongdoing. In 2012, White was embroiled in scandal after emails revealed political motives behind his fight to ensure that expanded school vouchers were approved by the Louisiana Legislature. Thanks to testimony by Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Supreme Court later found the voucher scheme to be unconstitutional, because it did, as White denied, illegally divert funding designated for local city and parish public schools. Later, voucher schools approved under White’s watch were shown to lack a requisite number of teachers, lunch rooms, and other resources common to any proper school. In 2013, he was accused of having purposefully inflated letter grades for certain schools. For at least three years, White knew about inequities in special education funding which violated directives in the La. Constitution, but declined to take action to correct the problem even after the Legislature urged and requested that he do so in 2014. Under White’s watch per pupil funding for public k-12 schools was frozen despite many new unfunded mandates. During the same time period the per pupil amount paid to private schools through the state voucher program increased each year.

Citing these controversies Edwards said,”We need genuine leadership at the helm of the Louisiana Department of Education. We will have that when we elect a genuine leader as governor.”

White’s only formal training in educational administration was earned during six weekend trainings at the Eli Broad Superintendent’s Academy, meant to be an introduction to issues facing Superintendents at the local level.

You might (or might not) enjoy watching this 7-minute interview I did with former teacher Bob Greenberg. Bob has created a large archive of interviews like this one. It was filmed in my living room. The collection is called “The Brainwaves.” He sets up a camera and says “talk.” He doesn’t ask questions or interrupt.


Thank you for subscribing to “Diane Ravitch's blog”

You’ll get an email with a link to confirm your sub. If you don’t get it, please contact us

The authors can also be followed on: