Monday, July 18, 2016


Diane's latest post is about a teacher using her own voice against reducing children to data and for honoring children's privacy, not only in the legal sense, but in care for the many ways children learn and grow -- almost none of them linear or precisely measurable.  I encourage you to visit her blog and read the entire thing.

Friday, July 15, 2016

For those of you too young to remember, Richard Nixon chose the unqualified and reputedly corrupt governor of Maryland, Spiro T. Agnew, to be his vice president, purportedly to "impeachment-proof" his presidency.

It didn't work.

Let's hope the choice of  Indiana governor Mike Pence as a national candidate to be second in line for the presidency of our democracy never comes that close.

A cynical choice just when our nation, our children, the public's schools, our health care system, our need to end wars, our hunger for racial and economic justice, -- and our very planet -- deserve wisdom, not mean-spirited mediocrity -- at the top of the ticket, or in second place.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Anyone who grew up in the oil patch of West Texas or eastern New Mexico, as I did, can only find all this talk about "grit" hilarious!  Grit as the key to students' learning? Grit as the cure for the "achievement" gap?  Oh, my!  When I hear "grit," I feel tiny grains of sand in my teeth, I smell a dust storm sandblasting my cheeks (I was in my twenties before I found out some people pay to have their skin evened out by sandblasting -- we got smooth skin by walking across the playground), and I see the tenacious line of grit coming in around windows -- seeping through weather-stripping and the ugly, added seals of masking tape.

Stinging eyes, sandy eye lashes, having to dust the furniture every day -- sometimes more than once and always with a wet cloth, not a fancy polish:  grit everywhere everyday.

"Grit" as the latest "cure" to what ails US education is silly at best, tragic at worst when it diverts our attention -- and, as Politico reports below, our dollars and our policies away from what we really need to be doing for kids:  addressing poverty, investing in teachers' salaries and on-going education, and dismantling the harmful testing systems and corporate "reforms" that are sucking the life out of learning.

And as for measuring grit, easy:  brooms full, buckets full, hands full, windowsills full, eyes full.  Instead of romanticizing grit, let's call it for what is is: "Grit:  what you need when you don't have a trust fund."

Thanks to Diane Ravitch for sharing this from