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Here is the piece outlining Romney's plan to end public education that got Diane Ravitch fired

Everything in here is factual and truthful. She wasn't fired from the Brookings Institute for sloppy journalism, she was fired for being critical of Romney's (and Brookings') plan to end public schooling. The Miseducation of Mitt Romney by Diane Ravitch | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
On May 23, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education.” If you liked the George W. Bush administration’s education reforms, you will love the Romney plan. If you think that turning the schools over to the private sector will solve their problems, then his plan will thrill you. The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past thirty years, namely, subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers. These policies reflect the experience of his advisers, who include half a dozen senior officials from the Bush administration and several prominent conservative academics, among them former Secretary of Education Rod Paige and former Deputy Secretary of Education Bill Hansen, and school choice advocates John Chubb and Paul Peterson. Unlike George W. Bush, who had to negotiate with a Democratic Congress to pass No Child Left Behind, Romney feels no need to compromise on anything. He needs to prove to the Republican Party’s base—especially evangelicals—that he really is conservative. And this plan is “mission accomplished.” Romney offers full-throated support for using taxpayer money to pay for private-school vouchers, privately-managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools. Like Bob Dole in 1996, Romney showers his contempt on the teachers’ unions. He takes a strong stand against certification of teachers—the minimal state-level requirement that future teachers must pass either state or national tests to demonstrate their knowledge and/or skills–which he considers an unnecessary hurdle. He believes that class size does not matter (although he and his children went to elite private schools that have small classes). Romney claims that school choice is “the civil rights issue of our era,” a familiar theme among the current crop of education reformers, who now use it to advance their efforts to privatize public education. . . .

June 11, 2012

Brookings fires Diane Ravitch after she comes out against Romney's plan to end public education

Ravitch is a treasure. And this is why Brookings clearly is not a liberal (or even a non-partisan or centrist) organization. How to Lose Your Gig at the Brookings Institution - Esquire
Diane Ravitch is one of the more fascinating figures in Our National Political Pageant. Once an education-reform enthusiast of the first water, she's spent the last couple of years shouting from whateever soapbox she can find that the education "reform" complex is a home for free-market opportunists who never much liked public education in the first place, wet-eyed charlatans pretending to care about "the kids," rich fools, and other folks who wouldn't last 15 minutes in an actual classroom. (I'm paraphrasing a bit here.) Now, it seems, the "liberal" Brookings Institute has cut her loose, perhaps for heresy: My first thought was that Russ might be responding to my blog lacerating Mitt Romney's education plan in the New York Review of Books. It went online that very morning, about four hours before I got Russ's email. Russ is an adviser to the Romney campaign on education issues. Would he react that quickly? Then I remembered that I had written two other pieces critical of Romney on my own blog, the first appearing on May 25.

June 09, 2012

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes. #2: You gotta keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different. #3: Trying for theme is important, but you won't see what the story is actually about til you're at the end of it. Now rewrite. #4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___. #5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff but it sets you free. #6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal? #7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front. . . .