Tag Archives: Diane Ravitch

Our Divider-in-Chief: Master of the Swamp

By dianeravitch, July 15, 2019

Trump is a master at appealing to the lowest fears and hatreds of the Swamp that is his base.

Like other demagogues in history, he knows how to unleash rage and envy.

He says he is a “stable genius.” He says he is the “least racist person” you will ever meet.

He teaches us what? Lie. Boast. Bully. Insult. Demean all those whom you see as a threat. Demean those who not like you. Demean the Other.

Now he says that certain members of Congress should “go back where they came from.”

How low can he go?

When you think he has touched bottom, he goes even deeper, reaching into the subconscious to stir fear, anxiety, hatred among his base.

I try to ignore him, to never watch or listen. But his pudgy little finger controls the nuclear codes.

He has taught us a lesson about who we are. We are not exceptionable. Any country that could nominate a man with no character, no ethics, no morals, no principles, must look hard in the mirror and ask “Who are we?”

The Republican Party has destroyed itself by falling in step behind the least qualified man, most vicious, most incompetent man in our history. Their silence speaks volumes. They have become spineless creatures in Trump’s Swamp.

If only he would go back where he came from.


Teresa Hanafin of the Boston Globe said it best in her daily Fast Forward column:

Trump’s racist tweets Sunday telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their countries — all are US citizens and three were born in the US — isn’t really about those four young women. It’s about all of us.

It’s about all among us who are people of color, awaking today to a world deliberately made more dangerous for them by the occupant of the Oval Office. As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman said, Trump’s tweets make them targets in a country full of guns.

It’s about all of us who are too gutless to condemn the phrase popular with white supremacists — “Go back where you came from” — and the divisive us vs. them mentality that is the hallmark of the Trump presidency.

It’s a phrase one expects to hear on the street from knuckle-draggers, not from the West Wing.

British PM Theresa May condemned the tweets — “The language that was used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable” — but a) she didn’t mention Trump by name and b) she’s a short-timer with nothing to lose.

Yet even she was more forthright than Republicans in Congress, only two of whom have addressed the issue. Representative Chip Roy of Texas tweeted: “POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.”

And then came the predictable “but:” “But I just as strongly believe non-citizens who abuse our immigration laws should be sent home immediately, & Reps who refuse to defend America should be sent home 11/2020.” In other words, “Sorry for criticizing you, boss; I’m really on your side so please please please don’t hurt me.”

Ditto Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who this morning offered mealy-mouthed advice to Trump — “Aim higher” — before launching his own attack against the young women, calling them anti-Semitic and saying they hate the US.

The calculus of GOP members of Congress is purely political: They are deathly afraid that Trump will primary them, finding more sycophantic Republicans to challenge them. They value power more than principle, incumbency more than integrity, muscle more than morality.

This feels like a turning point in our country: When there are no repercussions for racism, what’s next?

Remember when Hillary Clinton said during the 2016 campaign that Democrats have to understand and empathize with Trump supporters who “feel that the government has let them down?” And that many others belong in a “basket of deplorables” because they have racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic tendencies that Trump elevates and celebrates, and the world went nuts that she would dare to call them out?

What’s funny is that many Americans wish Trump would go back to the country where his allegiance really lies: Mother Russia. I hear the meatloaf in the Kremlin is delicious.

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Filed under Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, US President

Carol Burris: Don’t Let Democratic Candidates Get Away With: “I’m Against For-Profit Charters”

By dianeravitch, July 7, 2019

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, writes here about the efforts by most Democratic candidates to avoid confronting the dangers of privatization:

When Democratic candidates are questioned about charter schools, many typically reply, “I am against for-profit charter schools.” Everyone cheers. Politicians have created a convenient (and false) dichotomy that says nonprofit charter schools are good, and for-profit charter schools are bad.

Don’t be fooled. There are now only 2 states that allow for-profit charter schools—Arizona and Wisconsin. California changed its laws.

However, 35 states allow for-profit Charter Management Organizations (CMOS) to run their nonprofit charter schools.

40% of the charter schools in Florida are run by for-profit charter management companies. While the individual charter is a nonprofit, it can turn over everything from hiring, to curriculum, to financial management to a for-profit corporation. In Michigan, 80% of the so-called nonprofit charter schools are run by for-profit companies.

To understand how this arrangement works, read this blog I wrote for the Answer Sheet on Florida’s charter schools. You will read about the Zulueta brothers who were on the board of an Academica charter school even while their for-profit real estate companies, including one in Panama, were leasing property to the schools.

Let me shock you a bit more. The National Alliance for (so-called) Public Charter Schools recently gave the controversial profiteer, Fernando Zulueta, an award at its national conference!

You probably know the names and reputations of the other big for-profit CMOs—BASIS, National Heritage, Academica, K12 and more.

The question candidates need to answer then are:

“Do you support for-profit Charter Management Organizations, and if you do not, what are you going to do about them?”

The most important questions to ask, however (and don’t let them off the hook), are whether they support the NAACP moratorium on new charter schools and “Will you stop the the federal funding of new charter schools?”

There is a reason the charter lobby never complains when a candidate says that he/she is against for-profit charter schools. It means nothing will change.

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Filed under Education and schools

Sadness and Tears on Memorial Day

by dianeravitch, 5/27/19

Let us pause and remember the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the military.

The older I get, the more I hate war.

I despise those who see war as a political tactic, those who stir up war talk to get votes.

Those who drop bombs and fire missiles to raise their poll numbers are contemptible.

There is evil in the world, for sure.

I saw it when I visited the “killing fields” in Cambodia last year.

There is a high school in Pnomh Penh that was turned into a torture camp by the Pol Pot forces.

The walls of the school are lined with photographs of hundreds and hundreds of men, women, and children, taken just before they were killed. Horrifying.

It is our challenge to be on the side of kindness, justice, charity, love, and forgiveness.

That may be hard. But in a time when so many nations have weapons of mass destruction, we have no choice.

“We must love one another or die.” (W.H. Auden).

He also wrote, in another version of the same poem, “We must love one another and die.”

Both statements are true.

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Filed under Peace

The Fourth of July Reminds Us to Fight to Recover and Repair Our Democracy

By dianeravitch, July 4, 2018

This is what July 4, 2018, means to me.

Not hot dogs, mustard, and potato chips, but our obligation to fight for our democracy.

At the present time, we are losing it day by day.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently approved state laws that purge voters from the voting rolls because they have not consistently voted. It is not difficult to determine whether voters have died or moved out of state. Meanwhile, a basic right is whittled away because it was not exercised.

The high court recently approved racial gerrymandering.

The high court approved a Muslim Ban disguised as a national security issue.

The high court in Janus struck a blow at labor unions, allowing free riders to collect benefits without paying any dues.

The high court will soon be dominated by five justices determined to overturn Roe V. Wade and gay rights.

The administration wants to destroy the healthcare on which millions of Americans rely.

The administration denies climate change and is repealing regulations that protect the environment, Our air, our water, our national parks.

Our president and attorney general callously initiated a policy of separating children from their parents at the Southern border, some as young as three months, and cruelly shipped them far away. More than 2,000 have not been returned to their parents. Children and families languish in cages. We have become a pariah among nations, known for our cruelty, belligerence, and stupidity.

The administration daily insults our allies and courts the friendship of dictators.

Now is the time to resist.

Now is the time to recall the brave history of dissent and protest.

The best way to demonstrate your love of country is to resist, protest, demonstrate, join with others who are committed to democracy, equal rights, and the rule of law.

We must together stop the precipitous descent into fascism and plutocracy.

We must pledge ourselves to fight for the America we love, the America put at risk by venal, malevolent, unethical, and greedy leaders.

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Filed under National govt & politics