Archives for the month of: November, 2022

The New York Times reported that rail workers’ unions felt betrayed by President Biden’s support of legislation that imposed a settlement and averted a national strike.

This is the same president that Trumpers call a “radical,” a “socialist,” and a”communist.”

The agreement Mr. Biden asked Congress to impose would raise pay nearly 25 percent between 2020, when the last contract expired, and 2024, and allow employees to miss work for routine medical appointments three times per year without risking disciplinary action. It would also grant them one additional day of paid personal leave.

It would not provide paid sick leave, however, a provision that many workers argue is the bare minimum they can accept given their grueling work schedules, which often leave them on the road or on call for long stretches of time. Rail carriers say workers can attend to illnesses or medical appointments using paid vacation.

Four of the 12 unions that would be covered by the agreement voted it down, and several others approved it only narrowly.

Tony Cardwell, the president of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division — International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which voted down the agreement Mr. Biden has asked Congress to impose, said that simply asking Congress to include paid sick days in the agreement would have gone a long way toward satisfying his members.

“If he would have said, ‘I want this one thing,’ it would have changed the whole narrative,” Mr. Cardwell said in an interview on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members on Tuesday night that she would hold a vote on a separate bill that included seven paid sick days, but it was unclear whether it could pass both houses of Congress.

Our reader, who signs in as Joel, has frequently noted the bias in the media towards negativity and “worst case scenario.” How many stories were published predicting a Red Wave, lamenting the dozens of seats that Democrats would lose, predicting doom and gloom. There is also its problem of “both-sides-ism,” as though the scientist who says the sun rises in the west is as equal in credibility as the one who says it rises in the East. I leave his own sentence structure unchanged.

I asked Joel to describe himself. He wrote:

I am a retired Trade Union activist who sees the attacks on America’s teachers as an attack on the most visible and the largest of Americas unions.
It is no accident that whether the Billionaire oligarchs / plutocrats / politicians who attack public schools and their teachers consider themselves socially progressive or are religio fascist , they abhor Unions.

He writes:

So for two years now I have been pointing out crime statistics on Diane’s blog and on Union Facebook page’s. Knowing that the American Public is always a sucker for the big bad Black man coming to get you; or simply the Willie Horton story . Which actually predates Willie Horton going back to Goldwater and his Nation of Moral decay and Nixon’s war on drugs. Which targeted minorities disproportionately.

Both on crime and inflation the supposed “Liberal Media” did its best to prove Trump correct in his charges against them. Whether it was intentional or not, the hype was far greater than the reality. For a group of people who profess to despise Trump and his merry band of seditious Neo Nazi White Christian Nationalists, they did their best to bring them back to power. Crime sells advertising .

They say, Inflation is the worst it has ever been— except at its peak, it was half the rate of the 1980s and accompanied by 3.5% unemployment now, not 8%. Endless stories of the terrible economy.

Last Fall when they started blasting away, it was under 5% . With gas lower than it had been from 2011-14 . Wage inflation was already moderating. Tough to have a wage price spiral without the wage component. The media frenzy did allow Corporations with virtual monopoly power to take the Public’s expectation of inflation and deliver it to them, tacking on record profits far above increased costs.

But Crime is the issue that may have cost Democrats 4-5 seats in NY and with it the House. All in Down State districts formally represented by Democrats . Far more harm done to Democrats on MSNBC , CNN, WaPo and the NY Times than on Fox News, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal”’…. No one who follows the Murdoch rags is voting Democratic to begin with.

On top of a redistricting enabled by Cuomo appointed Judges as part of bone thrown to Republicans when they controlled the State Senate with the help of Cuomo’s turncoat IDC caucus. On top of Adams and Suozzi running around like they were Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, there were 800 stories a month in 2022 about crime in the NYC Media Market vs 130 a month in deBlasio’s last term ending in 2021. Talk about manufactured consent.

What was the reality. Last year there were fewer murders than 2011 a year Bloomberg was running around calling NYC the safest big City in the Nation . This year with a 13% reduction there will be fewer murders than 2012 the next to last year he was in office when he was taking bows for how safe the City was .

But not only lower than 2012; significantly lower than every year between 2012 all the way till when America was GREAT in 1960.

Your odds of being injured on a 2 mile ride in your car are greater than being injured in a violent crime in the NYC Subway. The murder rate in NYC truly does make it one of the safest cities in America with bail reform having little or no impact on recidivism.

Of course that is not the narrative from CNN, MSNBC, nor the local mass media. The Press made it sound that murders were like the terrible 60s when there were 1000 murders a year by mid decade . The 70s when there 1500 , the 80s when there were 1800 to 2000 and the early 90s when there were 2400 murders . There were 468 in 2021 and 379 as of last week in 2022 with only 6 weeks to go.

So here is the thing . Excluding the Garbage dump in the Harbor (Staten Island) that should be turned over to NJ. 82 % of Manhattan residents voted for Democrats. Ah but they are just woke liberals . 79% of Bronx Residents voted for Democrats not so woke , 73% of Brooklyn and 67% of Queens residents. So where all this supposed crime was happening it was not a concern enough to sway voters .

Yet in the NYC suburbs (all six counties) where all the seats were lost. Crime was lower in almost every major category recorded. 2021 Lower than not just 2020 but most years back to 2017 the last year listed in the state crime registry. The 100 million dollar Republican Willie Horton Campaign supplement by the ” Liberal Media ” and their 800 stories a month.

Heck of a Job Joe Scarborough, mission accomplished. And I know he is a Conservative Republican but he also claims to be a never Trump-er. Perhaps they will give him an extra hour to cover Hunter Biden’s Laptop.

David C. Berliner is one of the most honored researchers in the field of education.

He sent the following reflections on censorship. His thoughts reflect my views about censorship and abortion. If you are opposed to certain books, don’t read them. If you oppose abortion, don’t have one. Don’t impose your views on others.

Dr. Berliner wrote:

I was asked some time ago to write about censorship for the Horace Mann League. My explorations of the topic led me first to a personal statement:

“It is the right of people to not listen to, and not read, anything they find offensive. But this right is limited: it does not give them the right to limit what others choose to hear or read. It gives concerned citizens absolutely no right to forbid anyone else to listen to or read what they choose.

The only exception to this statement is with one’s own children. Parents do have both a right, and an obligation, to react to what their children are listening to and reading.

But that right and obligation is limited to their own children—not mine! I will make such decisions for myself. And I happen to trust school teachers, and librarians, to act for me, to act in “locus parentis.”

And I hope that every librarian and teacher is thoughtful enough to remember that merely avoiding certain discussions is itself a form of censorship!”

David C. Berliner

Some of the thoughts of others that I thought worth thinking about follow:

“The real heroes [in our society] are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
― Bruce Coville

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
― Salman Rushdie

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky

“Free societies…are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom’s existence.”
― Salman Rushdie

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
― United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.”
― Clare Luce Booth

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
― Mark Twain

[I]t’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”
― Judy Blume

“Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory… In this war, we know, books are weapons. And it is a part of your dedication always to make them weapons for man’s freedom.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“If you can’t say “Fuck” you can’t say, “Fuck the government.”
― Lenny Bruce

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson

“All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession

“[Public] libraries should be open to all—except the censor.
[Response to questionnaire in Saturday Review, October 29 1960]”
― John F. Kennedy


“Only the nonreader fears books. ”
― Richard Peck

“Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
― Eugene Gladstone O’Neill

“If there’s one American belief I hold above all others, it’s that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what is “right” and what is “best” should be given no rest; that they should have to defend their behavior most stringently. … As a nation, we’ve been through too many fights to preserve our rights of free thought to let them go just because some prude with a highlighter doesn’t approve of them.”
[Bangor Daily News, Guest Column of March 20, 1992]”
― Stephen King

“When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine’s Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn’t known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…”
― Christopher Hitchens,

“The important task of literature is to free man, not to censor him, and that is why Puritanism was the most destructive and evil force which ever oppressed people and their literature: it created hypocrisy, perversion, fears, sterility.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947

“Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series

“Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest form of cowardice.”
― Holbrook Jackson

“Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.”
― Judy Blume

“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience.”
― Henry Steele Commager

“Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier — and much, much harder.”
― Suzy Kassem

“I also hold very strong personal convictions about censorship. I don’t believe in forbidden knowledge.”
― Andrea Cremer

A new study published in PsycNet, the bulletin of the American Psychological Association, reviews the research on “growth mindset” and whether it improves students’ academic achievement. The meta-analysis was conducted by B.N. Macnamara and A.P. Burgoyne.

I was particularly interested in reading this review because one of my grandchildren spent what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time in middle school reading about and discussing “growth mindset.” It reminded me of the book I used to read to my children when they were very young about “The Little Engine That Could.” As it struggled to go up a steep mountain, it said to itself, “I think I can, I think I can.” I didn’t realized at the time that I was teaching my children to have a “growth mindset.”

Here is the abstract:

According to mindset theory, students who believe their personal characteristics can change—that is, those who hold a growth mindset—will achieve more than students who believe their characteristics are fixed. Proponents of the theory have developed interventions to influence students’ mindsets, claiming that these interventions lead to large gains in academic achievement. Despite their popularity, the evidence for growth mindset intervention benefits has not been systematically evaluated considering both the quantity and quality of the evidence. Here, we provide such a review by (a) evaluating empirical studies’ adherence to a set of best practices essential for drawing causal conclusions and (b) conducting three meta-analyses. When examining all studies (63 studies, N = 97,672), we found major shortcomings in study design, analysis, and reporting, and suggestions of researcher and publication bias: Authors with a financial incentive to report positive findings published significantly larger effects than authors without this incentive. Across all studies, we observed a small overall effect: d¯ = 0.05, 95% CI = [0.02, 0.09], which was nonsignificant after correcting for potential publication bias. No theoretically meaningful moderators were significant. When examining only studies demonstrating the intervention influenced students’ mindsets as intended (13 studies, N = 18,355), the effect was nonsignificant: d¯ = 0.04, 95% CI = [−0.01, 0.10]. When examining the highest-quality evidence (6 studies, N = 13,571), the effect was nonsignificant: d¯ = 0.02, 95% CI = [−0.06, 0.10]. We conclude that apparent effects of growth mindset interventions on academic achievement are likely attributable to inadequate study design, reporting flaws, and bias. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

I draw the conclusion that reading “The Little Engine That Could” is as effective as growth mindset.

Alan J. Singer writes about Missouri’s bid to be the state with the most censorship in schools and libraries.

He writes:

The State of Missouri may have to change its nickname from “Show-Me-State” to “It’s against the law to show me!” According to a report from PEN America, in response to a new state law, this fall Missouri schools removed almost 300 books from library…

The State of Missouri may have to change its nickname from “Show-Me-State” to “It’s against the law to show me!”

According to a report from PEN America, in response to a new state law, this fall Missouri schools removed almost 300 books from library shelves. They include Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus about the Holocaust,graphic novels based on George Orwell’s 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Bible, and the Gettysburg Address, art history books with naked subjects, and comic books about Batman and X-Men.Leviticus in the Old Testament has a lot of rules about sex and apparently the New Testament starts with too many “begats.” The new law establishes criminal penalties for exposing students to “explicit sexual material.” More than half of the books are about or written by LGBTQ+ people or people of color.

PEN America calls the Missouri book banning a “grave threat to the freedom to read.” It is the latest in a wave of “mass removals of books, new legislative proposals targeting publishers, and the passage of restrictive school district policies.” Nearly 100 books were recently pulled from Beaufort, South Carolina school libraries, a proposed Texas law would require publishers to create a rating system for school library books, and a number of states and school districts are afraid of any reference to gender fluidity.

Senate Bill 775, which went into effect in August 2022 was supposed to address the rights of survivors of sexual assault. However, an amendment pasted into the bill classified “providing explicit sexual material to a student” as a class A misdemeanor and subjects “any person affiliated with a school in an official capacity” to arrest. In response, at least 11 school districts starting purging books from the school library.

A spokesperson for a district that banned fourteen books was quoted in the St. Louis Dispatch. “The unfortunate reality of Senate Bill 775 is that, now in effect, it includes criminal penalties for individual educators. We are not willing to risk those potential consequences and will err on the side of caution on behalf of the individuals who serve our students.”

PEN America has posted an online petition addressed toMissouri School Boards and Districts. You can add your name at this link. A number of prominent authors have signed the letter. They include Laurie Halse Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Roxane Gay, Lois Lowry, and Art Spiegelman.

Please open the link to read the PEN petition and add your name.


Peter Greene wrote in Forbes about the bizarre decision by the Gates Foundation to give nearly $1 million to the Reason Foundation, a libertarian foundation that doesn’t believe in public schools and seldom believes in anything the government does on behalf of its citizens. They believe, I suppose, in a feral society where there is minimal government, minimal taxes, and everyone fends for him or herself. I remembered that the Gates Foundation once gave a grant of nearly $400,000 to the far-right American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC), which opposes public schools, unions, environmental regulations, gun control, and most every other government activity.

Greene writes:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a grant of $900,117 to the Reason Foundation. The award’s stated purpose is “to ensure that State funding adequately and equitably supports the pursuit of improved educational outcomes for low income, Black and Latinx Students.”

The Reason Foundation is a think tank whose stated purpose is to advance “a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.” They use “journalism and public policy research to influence the framework and actions of policymakers, journalists and opinion leaders.” They favor limited government and market-friendly policies.

The Gates Foundation has long pushed policies in education, including the financing of the ultimately-unsuccessful small schools initiative and widespread influence in the creation and implementation of the controversial Common Core State Standards.

According to the Gates database, they have never before given a grant to the Reason Foundation. The two are not an obvious match; in fact, Reason was highly critical of the Common Core initiative that Gates spent millions to promote.

Reason’s approach to education has emphasized choice, particularly school vouchers. Over the years they have cranked out papers to support these market-based policies, though these papers have not met with enthusiasm from education policy analysts, who have used phrases like “carefully selected examples intended to support a particular perspective,” “off the rails,” “not a credible policy document,” “little more than a polemic,” and “reckless and irresponsible.”

It is not clear what the actual project behind this grant might be. Search the Reason website for “low-income students” and it turns up many articles about how school choice and voucher programs would improve school for these students. The same for a search for “Black students.” (”Latinx students” does not appear on the website at all.)

The grant language is also interesting in that it suggests that Reason’s program is not about establishing a program, but about finding ways to influence the path of state funding. The end result of this may not simply be about spending Gates money, but about spending taxpayer dollars as well.

This is a strange grant because Reason has never showed any interest in education other than to promote vouchers.

Josh Cowen is a veteran voucher researcher, having worked in the field for more than 20 years. He is a professor of education policy at Michigan State University. After two decades as a researcher, he concluded that vouchers are a disaster for the children who use them.

Today, he writes an inside guide to voucher research. All pro-voucher research is actually disguised advocacy for vouchers, especially if it funded or produced by the organizations listed here.

I hope you will share this post with your friends on social media, post blogs about it, and get it into the hands of journalists. The public deserves transparency.

Josh Cowen writes:

The entire base of evidence to support school vouchers comes from a small, interconnected and insular group of research-activists with direct ties to Betsy DeVos, Charles Koch, the Waltons and other privatization financers.

If you stopped reading this post right now, that’s the take-home message right there: the case for vouchers relies entirely on data and evidence contributed by what amounts to industry-funded research and advocacy on behalf of the cause.

But if you’re a journalist, an educator, or just a committed public school supporter (thank you!) and you want the links and the details, read on.


If you’re a professional journalist either in the education space or a broader policy/politics issue, you’ve probably heard of some of these people and certainly their institutions before. But you’re busy, you’ve got deadlines to meet and editors to approve your copy, and it’s not always easy to connect some of the important dots in this area.

But they need to be connected. The single most difficult task I’ve found in my writing on school vouchers has been to explain to journalists how the question of whether vouchers “work” for kids is not some obscure academic ivory-tower debate in which both sides have a nuanced, complicated and reasonably well-founded point.

There is credible research on one side—that vouchers are largely a negative force for student outcomes—and politically oriented reports on the other. That’s it.

So the next time you see a press release, or are given a quote, or talk off record to a voucher supporter saying that vouchers work, try this little exercise and see what you find for yourself:


• American Federation for Children: the 501(c)(4) advocacy organization co-founded by Betsy DeVos to lobby for vouchers. DeVos was so close to this group she had to recuse herself as Secretary of Education from contact with the group in her first year in government.

• Cato Institute: A Right-wing advocacy think tank co-founded by Charles Koch (although Koch later sued for lack of direct control of the group).

• EdChoice: Formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, named for conservative economist who first proposed vouchers. Enough said.

• ExcelInEd: The advocacy group founded by Jeb Bush to expand vouchers and other conservative education priorities from the model Bush developed while he was governor of Florida.

• Goldwater Institute: A self-described libertarian think tank in Arizona that is chiefly oriented toward litigation on behalf of a number of different conservative policy priorities—most recently school vouchers.

• Harvard University Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG): A research center at Harvard run by Professor Paul Peterson, also of the Hoover Institution, and the father of modern-day pro-voucher research.

• Heritage Foundation: the most influential Right-wingthink tank in the country, devoted in part to privatizing schools and exploiting culture wars. Also directly tied to voter suppression efforts, per deep reporting by The New Yorker.

• University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform: A university-based doctoral training department responsible for producing nearly all of the currently active voucher research-advocates working at the institutions above today. This department was founded by a $10 million gift from the Walton Family Foundation in the early 2000s.


The Original Voucher Research-Advocates

Jay P. Greene Currently Senior Fellow at Heritage, former founding head of the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, received his PhD under Paul E. Peterson.

Paul E. Peterson Currently Professor at both Harvard and the conservative Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and the primary intellectual force behind the original positive voucher studies of the late 1990s.

Their Students, Colleagues and Acolytes

Lindsay Burke Currently at the Heritage Foundation and a member of GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin’s transition team.

Corey DeAngelis Currently Research Director for DeVos’s American Federation for Children group. But so much more: a regular Fox News contributor and active campaigner with far-Right governors like Kari Lake in Arizona and Kim Reynolds in Iowa.

Greg Forster Currently at EdChoice and a co-blogger with Jay Greene.

Matthew Ladner Currently at ALEC, EdChoice, Goldwater, and the Charles Koch Institute.

Martin Lueken Currently a research director at EdChoiceand former PhD student of Jay Greene and Patrick Wolf at University of Arkansas.

Mike McShane Currently a research director at EdChoiceand former PhD student of Jay Greene and Patrick Wolf at University of Arkansas.

Neil McCluskey Currently “Director of Education Freedom” at the Cato Institute and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of School Choice—a publication edited by Robert Maranto of the University of Arkansas.

Patrick Wolf Currently interim-head of the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, former colleague of Jay Greene and a former PhD student of Paul Peterson.

Not all of these organizations or individuals occupy the same problematic position. For example, I happen to make a point of reading everything McShane publishes, for example, because I respect his writing and the way he talks about the world even though I fundamentally disagree with his conclusions.

And the University of Arkansas group also includes a robust and insightful group of researchers examining the needs of teachers in the Ozarks and other high-poverty areas. I’m a great admirer of Professor Gema Zamarro and her students, who are doing some very important work on the role that the COVID0-19 pandemic played in teacher workforce conditions.

For that matter, some of what we know about the devasting effects of vouchers in Louisiana actually comes from Patrick Wolf’s reports. I’ve written with him myself on studies like one showing how critical strong oversight is to voucher program performance. Wolf is in fact the only person on the list abovewith a long and commendable history of publishing negative voucher impacts in top academic journals. The point here is not to disparage the individuals but to judge the insular and self-citing base of research that supports vouchers.

The point here is to be critical consumers of this line of research. Think of it this way: no news editor would release a story on an explosive topic going on the say so of a single source. At minimum that editor would require two and usually more sources. The problem for voucher advocacy research is that it is usually the only source for positive voucher impacts available. And it’s been that way for a decade or more.

What’s the take home point? It’s this: not all voucher advocates publish exclusively pro-voucher studies, but all pro-voucher studies come almost exclusively from pro-voucher advocates.


One or more of the following funders—the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Kern Family Foundation, the Koch Family Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation—funded the original studies supporting school vouchers.

The Bradley and Koch Foundations—along with Heritage—are directly involved in Big Lie, election denialism, and voter-suppression funding, as reported by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker in painstaking detail last summer.

The next time you read a report, or talk to a source for attribution, ask first about their funding sources. If they decline to provide those sources, consider declining to report their results or their viewpoint. It is common for philanthropists to request non-disclosure of their donations—that is their right. But it is your right as a reporter, and certainly the right of your readers, to decline to print their material.

Transparency is just the name of the game for credible research. You can see my own research funding right here. You can see that I once upon a time also received grant funding from the Walton Foundation. And from Bloomberg, and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. My only current active funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences—awarded to my research team while Betsy DeVos was education secretary!

Do I believe those organizations swayed my earlier research? Of course not. And the advocates above would say the same thing. But I don’t get to decide what to think and neither do they. That’s for the reader to judge, and that can’t happen without full transparency.


This all may seem like inside baseball. A bunch of current and former voucher researchers arguing about who’s who and what’s what. A bunch of annoying and self-centered PhDs.

But in some sense that’s the entire point.

Whether an educator, reporter, researcher, policymaker or just avid reader of Diane’s blog here, you would be hard-pressed—if not find it absolutely impossible—to find a single study of voucher participant effects (how vouchers impact outcomes) that did not come from one of the few organizations or few individuals listed above, or a handful of others with direct ties to Greene, Peterson, or Arkansas.

That’s a problem, because what that means is that hundreds of millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of school children are being affected every day by the advocacy of a small group of people. In many cases advocacy disguised as objective and credible research.

As a counter point, consider this humble list of studies showing far more nuance and at times outright negative results from voucher programs. To create that list, I made a simple rule: no studies from organizations listed in Step 1 above. Notice the variety of names and the diversity of venues and outlets. That’s what a credible research base looks like.


If at this point you’re still not convinced that the entire structure of pro-voucher research amounts to industry-funded research—think the Sacklers funding research on oxycontin’s addictive properties, or ExxonMobil funding research on fossil fuel environmental effects—there is also this:

Many of the organizations and individuals noted above also contribute to other areas of politically engaged conservative education reform.

Consider that Greene alone has published in the last 12 months studies arguing against the provision of gender-affirming care, against “wokeness”, and against Diversity, Equity and Inclusionoffices in both K12 and higher education.

Greene even put right in print for you to see that these culture war issues are useful to Right wing activists pushing the privatization of schooling.

In other words, pro-voucher research exists right alongside—and is often published by—the same people and organizations pushing other far-Right education outcomes. You need to know that to have a full picture of what voucher research truly says.

Pro-voucher research is pro-voucher advocacy, and pro-voucher advocacy is part of the larger effort to undermine public education, undermine a more humane approach to tolerating difference and diversity in our schools, and in many cases undermine free embrace of democracy itself.

Aaron Brink is the father of Anderson Andrews, who (allegedly) shot and killed five people and wounded nearly two dozen others at the gay bar Club Q in Colorado Springs recently.

Brink is a Mormon, a porn star and a former meth addict. When he heard that his son had been arrested for multiple murders, he was stunned to hear that his son was in a gay bar but relieved to think that he was not gay. He abandoned his son and his wife years ago. In his mind, being gay was far, far worse than being a mass murderer.

Look for this guy on video, probably YouTube. Abandoned his family. Hates gays. calls himself a “conservative Republican.”

Brink reflects the free-floating hatred that is regularly spouted by conservative Republicans.

Opponents of gun control won an important decision in New York State a few days ago, when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the part of a state law that restricts carrying guns onto someone else’s private property without their consent, as well as restrictions of carrying a gun in parks or on a public bus. Once again, the gun lobby protects the right to kill.

The Buffalo News reported:

A federal judge in Western New York has granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the “private property exclusion” in the state’s new gun control law that includes an attempt to ban carrying firearms on all private property unless the property owners consent, as well as in places like parks and public transit.

The lawsuit was brought by two local gun owners and two national Second Amendment rights organizations in September in response to legislation passed during an emergency session this summer after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s existing concealed carry law, which required applicants to prove why they needed to carry a firearm.

In a 27-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John L. Sinatra Jr. with the U.S. District Court in Buffalo wrote that the state may not interfere with the Second Amendment rights of “law-abiding citizens who seek to carry for self-defense outside of their own homes….”

The two gun owners, John Boron of Depew and Brett Christian of Cheektowaga, and the Las Vegas-based Firearms Policy Coalition and the Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Wash., have said the state law prevents lawful gun owners from carrying firearms in most public places.

Just this past week, there were two mass murders by gun: one at Club Q in Colorado Springs, another at a Walmart in Virginia. There have been more than 600 this year. When will enough be enough? When will our leaders—especially in Congress—stop the carnage? When they are personally affected? Maybe not even then. After all, a mob ransacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and most Republican members of Congress thought it was a group of excited tourists.

But “only” five people died. So the GOP did not mind.

Would they draw the line at carnage? Now, I think that Trump’s grim Inaugural Address, where he spoke of “American carnage,” was a prediction, not a reflection.

When, if ever, will enough be enough?

The Council on Foreign Relations published an important international study of gun ownership and gun deaths. The U.S. is far ahead of its peers in both categories. Thanks to Lloyd Lofthouse for sharing this study.

The study begins:

The debate over gun control in the United States has waxed and waned over the years, stirred by frequent mass shootings in civilian settings. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and young adults in the United States. In particular, the ready availability of assault weapons and ammunition has provoked national discussion after multiple mass shootings of school children, most recently in Uvalde, Texas. However, Congress has repeatedly been unable to pass meaningful gun legislation in the wake of these tragedies despite broad public support for new restrictions.

Recent years have seen some of the worst gun violence in U.S. history. In 2021, guns killed more than forty-five thousand Americans, the highest toll in decades; and the upward trend is on track to continue.

Many gun control advocates say the United States should look to the experiences of wealthy democratic peers that have instituted tighter restrictions to curb gun violence.

What’s the chance of Congress enacting gun control?

Republicans are adamantly opposed to any limits on access to guns.

Republican governors enact laws to allow anyone to carry a weapon, whether concealed or in open view. Texas passed a law eliminating the need to have a permit to buy a gun.

Two relatives of mine in Texas used a gun to commit suicide. Neither should have had access to a gun.