Category Archives: Education

After Education Secretary Betsy DeVos flouts 2018 ruling, judge reminds her of consequences—including jail time

‘I'm not sending anyone to jail yet, but it's good to know I have that ability.’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday was told in no uncertain terms that her refusal to abide by a 2018 order stopping her department from collecting on student loans made to predatory for-profit Corinthian College had the potential to land her in jail, though Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim made clear that was, for now, an unlikely outcome. Continue reading

Why Trump can’t learn: An educated guess by a veteran teacher

Dyslexia may explain a lot about the twisted behavior of the president.

While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup. Continue reading

School daze: Use that bribe scandal to fight for debt-free college

This will come as no surprise to most sentient human beings but we have an education crisis in this country that begins with the Cheeto Benito in the White House and trickles down all the way to households in which a child has never had a storybook read to them. Continue reading

Starving kids won’t help them study

Instead of looking at the real reasons students struggle, one Arkansas lawmaker wants to deny them school lunch funding.

An Arkansas lawmaker wants to cut school lunch funding for schools that fail to improve their students’ reading levels. Continue reading

The deep-pocket push to deep-six public schools

The backstory to the showdown in Los Angeles between teachers and billionaires

Back during the 1960s and 1970s, in cities, suburbs, and small towns across the United States, teacher strikes made headlines on a fairly regular basis. Teachers in those years had a variety of reasons for walking out. They struck for the right to bargain. They struck for decent pay and benefits. They struck for professional dignity. Continue reading

Betsy DeVos needs an education on ethics

The student loan sharks who prey on veterans and single moms have a friend in Trump's education secretary.

Question: What do you get when you combine ignorance, imperiousness, and incompetence? Continue reading

Student debt slavery II: Time to level the playing field

The lending business is heavily stacked against student borrowers. Bigger players can borrow for almost nothing, and if their investments don’t work out, they can put their corporate shells through bankruptcy and walk away. Not so with students. Their loan rates are high and if they cannot pay, their debts are not normally dischargeable in bankruptcy. Rather, the debts compound and can dog them for life, compromising not only their own futures but the economy itself. Continue reading

Student debt slavery: Bankrolling financiers on the backs of the young

Higher education has been financialized, transformed from a public service into a lucrative cash cow for private investors. Continue reading

Secretary DeVos, Neurocore, and competency-based workforce training

A continuation of outcomes-based behaviorism through medicalized education

Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote to confirm US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos marks the first time in history that a VP has issued the deciding vote to officiate a presidential cabinet appointment. The contentious opposition votes have expressed that among their concerns are conflicts of interest between Secretary DeVos’s federal powers and her multimillion-dollar investments in a biofeedback corporation known as Neurocore, which provides neuroscience treatments for retraining cognitive habits through stimulus-response conditioning. Continue reading

Don’t trust business with education

Greasy politicians use education funds to enrich corporations—and themselves.

Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick are lucky: They inherited a big chunk of the multi-billion-dollar fortune that Dick’s dad Richard amassed through his shady Amway corporation. But what they’ve done with their Amway money is certainly not the American Way. Continue reading

Billionaire Betsy DeVos, big data, and the public-private planned economy

If cutting-edge educational technologies can scientifically maximize student learning, then why do so many Silicon Valley bigwigs at Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo! send their children to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, a school which bans computer technology from its classrooms? If high-tech computerization were such a fundamental enhancement to cognitive development, then why did Steve Jobs withhold iPads and other “screen-time” technologies from his children? Why would these tech gurus not practice for their own sons and daughters what they preach (and bankroll) for the public education system? These incongruences signal red flags that the real objective behind the accelerating push for personalized computer learning is not to boost academic outcomes, but to data-mine students for the purposes of corporate-fascist political-economic planning. Continue reading

Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary

Long ago, inner city kids like myself had wonderful public schools with dedicated teachers, preparing us for higher education when even top colleges and universities were affordable. Continue reading

National charter school fascism: Corporate P-20 council governance and the public-private merger of education, criminal justice, health and human services

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the eminent “free market” economist, Milton Friedman, referred to the tragedy as “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” into a privatized system of “school choice” competition. Heeding Friedman’s call, education reformers have converted approximately 90% of the New Orleans school system into a network of for-profit and nonprofit charter school corporations that are integrated through Louisiana’s two P(K)-16/20 workforce development councils: the College and Career Readiness Commission and the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence. Now, nearly ten years later, this 90% privatization overhaul is being touted as a model for a total charter privatization takeover of the United States national education system through P(K)-16/20 workforce development councils. Continue reading

Boots on the ground for public schools

In the midst of a presidential campaign circus, parents and teachers try to put the focus on state lawmakers—and kids.

The shoulder on Highway 9D between Garrison and Cold Spring, New York, is nearly nonexistent in places, and if you attempt to walk side-by-side your pant leg will get covered in burrs. Continue reading

Free speech not present at some universities

Like most Jews, Benjamin Aaron Shapiro, a respected journalist, is an advocate for social justice, following the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam, literally translated as “repair of the world.” Unlike most American Jews, Shapiro is a conservative whose views of the nation are closer to those of Ted Cruz than of Bernie Sanders. Continue reading

Corporate-fascist workforce training for the Hegelian state: The real meaning of Bruce Rauner’s cradle-to-career education

Last year, the union-busting governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, took his corporatist agenda to a new level as he pushed to rewrite the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin system by erasing the phrases “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” and overwriting them with a new objective for the college: to “meet the state’s workforce needs.” Just south of the Wisconsin border, Governor Bruce Rauner is touting a similar “cradle-to-career” overhaul of education policy in Illinois, which will deemphasize traditional academic studies while prioritizing corporate workforce training through privatized charter school curriculums. Continue reading

The corporatization of education: The Gates Foundation, Arnie Duncan, and Bruce Rauner

For over twenty years, the former senior policy advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement for the US Department of Education, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, has been warning us about the coming corporatization of education through fascistic charter school privatization that will be subsidized by public finances. Continue reading

Pennsylvania school is flushed by a problem

Ten-year-old Kaitlyn Montgomery, a fourth grade student at Park Elementary School in Munhall, Pa., now has access to that school’s restrooms. Continue reading

’Rithmatic doesn’t add up in one school district

The Danville Education Association (Pa.) has been operating without a contract for three years. Continue reading

The exorbitant cost of pseudo-educating America

The next two-trillion dollar bubble

At $1.2 trillion in student debt, we may only be 60 percent along the way, but rest assured that it won’t take but 3 to 5 years before this spectacular bubble bursts . . . and it will do so on the economic backs of the poor, and the ghostly—ghastly might be more apropos—remnants of a fast disappearing middle class. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: Newark rejects $100 million school scam

In 2010, Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg joined Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker on the Oprah Winfrey show with great fanfare. The purpose of their appearance was to announce that Zuckerberg was contributing $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system. Continue reading

The fracking prostitutes of American colleges

Part 3 of 3 parts

Among the mission statements of the University of North Dakota Department of Geology and Geological Engineering is that it “strives to develop in its engineering graduates keen insight and abilities to design an environmentally sound and sustainable future for humanity.” Continue reading

The fracking prostitutes of American colleges

Part 2 of a 3-part series

Two of the reasons Pennsylvania has no severance tax and one of the lowest taxes upon shale gas drilling are because of an overtly corporate-friendly legislature and a research report from Penn State, a private state-related university that receives about $300 million a year in public funds. Continue reading

The fracking prostitutes of American colleges

Part 1 of a 3-part series

Lackawanna College, a two-year college in Scranton, Pa., has become a prostitute. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: Charter school corruption

Every injustice in American life can be laid at the feet of the richest people in the country and the politicians who do their bidding. Nowhere is that terrible dynamic more obvious than in the destruction of public education by the charter school system. Continue reading

America’s threat-centric education system

Out of date and out of time

How can young people be encouraged and coached to narrate a “true” history of their lives and times in the world—and the events, people and geography that influence them—for the bulk of their literate existence (i.e., 21st century literate to include visual and technological literacy)? How can they be motivated to bypass the standard historical corporate media sanctioned fare of Steven Ambrose, Doris Kearns-Goodwin or David McCullough? How can they be motivated to collaborate and push against forces that seek to program them to accept “austerity” and “it is what it is”? How can America’s threat-centric, industrial education system be changed? Continue reading

Illiteracy challenges British and US future competitiveness

Throughout the Arab world, parents eye English education for their children, spending small fortunes on British-run private schools and colleges. Continue reading

Transforming America’s schools into authoritarian instruments of compliance

These days, it is far too easy to rattle off the outrageous examples of zero tolerance policy run amok in our nation’s schools. A 14-year-old student arrested for texting in class. Three middle school aged boys in Florida thrown to the ground by police officers wielding rifles, who then arrested them for goofing off on the roof of the school. A 9-year-old boy suspended for allegedly pointing a toy at a classmate and saying “bang, bang.” Two 6-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops and robbers. A 12-year-old New York student hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker. An 8-year-old boy suspended for making his hand into the shape of a gun, in violation of the school district’s policy prohibiting “playing with invisible guns.” A 17-year-old charged with a felony for keeping his tackle box in his car parked on school property, potentially derailing his chances of entering the Air Force. Two seventh graders in Virginia suspended for the rest of the school year for playing with Airsoft guns in their own yard before school. Continue reading

Common Core: A lesson plan for raising compliant, non-thinking citizens

As I point out in my new book, ‘A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,’ there are several methods for controlling a population. You can intimidate the citizenry into obedience through force, relying on military strength and weaponry such as SWAT team raids, militarized police, and a vast array of lethal and nonlethal weapons. You can manipulate them into marching in lockstep with your dictates through the use of propaganda and carefully timed fear tactics about threats to their safety, whether through the phantom menace of terrorist attacks or shooting sprees by solitary gunmen. Or you can indoctrinate them into compliance from an early age through the schools, discouraging them from thinking for themselves while rewarding them for regurgitating whatever the government, through its so-called educational standards, dictates they should be taught. Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren’s QE for students: Populist demagoguery or economic breakthrough?

On July 1, interest rates will double for millions of students—from 3.4% to 6.8%—unless Congress acts; and the legislative fixes on the table are largely just compromises. Continue reading

‘A’ is for average

About 1.8 million students will graduate from college this year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At least one-third of them will graduate with honors. In some colleges, about half will be honor graduates. Continue reading

Why humanity is doomed unless our schools start teaching our children how to think

Proposing a new discipline called sound thinking

At a bare minimum, our children must acquire skills in the “3 Rs” (reading, writing and ‘rithmetic) to succeed in life. Humanity is dangerously past due adding a fourth critical R to our children’s curriculum—reason (actually something much broader than reason, which I call sound thinking, outlined below). Continue reading