Here are some graphic images from around the net — plus my own 2 cents worth of comments. Click on any image to see the full sized version.
The Move to Privatization
The Indiana legislature is busy at work trying to privatize public education. Directed by Governor Mike Pence, people like Rep. Robert Behning, a florist who is apparently an expert on education, have done things like expand the nation’s most offensive voucher plan, expand opportunities for charter operators to take over public schools, reduce the ability of local school boards to effect changes in their districts, flunk third graders who can’t pass “the test,” remove collective bargaining for teachers and force schools and school systems to use test scores to evaluate teachers.
This year’s goal is to remove the requirements that teachers need to be educators, that principals have to be master teachers first and that superintendents have any experience in education. The want to take more money from public schools and transfer it to private, mostly religious schools through expanded vouchers. They are offering a
bribe bonus for teachers to leave public schools and teach in charter schools. And they are doing everything they can to circumvent the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction because she’s a professional educator and is actually interested in doing what helps children rather than in lining the pockets of political donors.
With all these advantages for charter and private schools, the public schools will continue to be starved for resources and students, teachers, and administrators will be forced to continue the “do more with less” plan. When schools struggle without these resources the governor and his stooges in the legislature, the state school board and his duplicate department of education will claim that public schools are failing and we need to divert more resources to private and charter schools.
It’s a simple plan. 1. Destroy the public schools’ ability to do their job by transferring resources to religious, private and privately run (aka charter) schools. 2. Blame the teachers and their unions for the inability of public schools to perform miracles. 3. Close public schools and divert even more resources to religious, private and privately run (aka charter) schools.
Who Did You Vote For?
How did we get here? In the last election Indiana voters rejected Tony Bennett and his destroy-public-education plan and elected Glenda Ritz as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
However, those same voters reelected the gubernatorial candidate who supported Bennett and the legislators who put Bennett’s plan into law.
Privatization isn’t going fast enough for Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn). He wants to get help in privatizing Indiana’s public schools from parents, teachers and school boards.
One the one hand, Indiana voters elected Glenda Ritz to end the Bennett program of privatization and testing, but on the other hand, they elected Mike Pence and a super-majority of legislators to continue the Bennett program of privatization and testing.
The cognitive dissonance which Indiana voters thrust upon themselves continues. Pence and the supermajorities in both houses of the state General Assembly are bent on starving public education while feeding private schools with taxpayer money. The denial of resources to the schools most in need will create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. The state is abandoning the children who need the most help…and, once their failure is assured, the “reformers” will use that as an excuse for more privatization.
Aside from getting out the vote we need to make sure people know who they’re voting for. Those who voted for Glenda Ritz have shot themselves in the foot — and seriously hampered Ritz’s ability to do her job — by electing friends of Tony Bennett to the governor’s office and to the legislature. We need to educate the public.
A False Choice
Next week is School Choice Week and the privatizers are out in force touting the benefits of letting the public schools founder for lack of support and transferring public tax money to religious and private schools.
What is surprising is that unbridled choice proponents harp about the limitations of traditional public schools but rarely discuss the predominance of the peer-reviewed research literature that demonstrates limited or no effect of choice (i.e. vouchers and charters) on student success. Are there examples of student success in charters? Of course, as is there also in public schools. However, the most prominent study of charter schools across the nation showed that nationwide only 15% of charters perform better than traditional public schools.
…conservatives are using vouchers and the seductive rhetoric of “choice” to further their goal of privatizing our schools and removing them from public oversight and responsibility.
Raising the Bar Isn’t Education
Testing doesn’t improve learning. Raising the bar doesn’t improve learning. Reducing the effects of poverty and improving instruction will help.
Bill Moyers interviewed Neil DeGrasse Tyson this past week. During their discussion of science literacy they touched on testing. Tyson’s response to Moyer’s comment about the effects of child poverty is great…”so what else is new.” If only the “reformatizers” were statistics literate!
BILL MOYERS: There’s something else to this. And, I mean, some people say this educational stagnation that we are experiencing, it’s because we have one of the highest child poverty rates in the developed world. They point to the fact that high-poverty schools in America posted dismal scores on these tests, whereas wealthy schools did very well. In fact, students in the wealthiest schools scored so highly that if they were treated as a separate jurisdiction, they would have placed second only to Shanghai in science and reading and would have ranked sixth in the world in math. So inequality matters.
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yes. That’s, yeah. And your point is? That’s always been the case.
Here’s to the Crazy Ones
Test — learn only facts — test — drill on nonsense words — test — test — test…
Our international test scores have always been low…but for decades America thrived anyway.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in the interview above said,
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: –put too much emphasis on what the meaning of the test is. I, test people, it’s a way to find out what you know. But don’t then say, if you don’t know this, therefore the rest of your life is screwed. No, no, because go find people who are successful in this world. Find, you know, talk show hosts and comedians and novelists and attorneys and go get the politicians. Put them in a room, say, how many here got straight As throughout school? None of them are going to raise their hands. By the way, throw in inventors, throw in all these people, none of them are going to raise their hand, okay? Bill Gates dropped out of college. Michael Dell dropped out of college.
Those people are not– the success of those people is not measured by how they performed on the exam that you wrote as professor. Because they’re thinking in ways that you have yet to think, because they’re inventing tomorrow. And the only way you can invent tomorrow is if you break out of the enclosure that the school system has provided for you by the exams written by people who are trained in another generation. [emphasis added]
Steve Jobs also dropped out of college.
By the way, I make it a point to deny the credibility in educational policy of Bill Gates along with Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Barack Obama, Joel Klein, Rahm Emanuel, Margaret Spellings, and any other lawyer, public policy wonk, politician, or professional athlete who thinks just because they have money or a bully pulpit they know what it’s like to be a teacher. None of those people know squat about educating real children.
But that doesn’t mean that Bill Gates, for example, doesn’t now anything about anything. I don’t believe that you have to finish college in order to be a success in life. However, instead of dumping millions to destroy public education, Gates should stick to what he does know…tech stuff. Develop all the technology you want…but let people who know what they’re doing figure out how to use it with children.
As long as we’re on the subject of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs…
On January 24, 1984, Apple introduced its first Macintosh computer…the first “windows” machine.
All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.