MORE THAN A TEST SCORE
Datamongers don’t seem to understand that schools are more than just test-prep facilities. When “reformers” claim that public schools are “failing” they referring to the poverty-related problems which cause low test scores…not the quality of the education students receive.
If we really want to improve the education of our children, we might consider importing ideas from successful countries (most of whom imported ideas from American researchers). One of the most useful ideas would reverse a trend in the U.S….that of spending more of our education money on wealthy children than on poor children.
From Stu Egan at Caffeinated Rage
The fact that West Forsyth is recognized as a high-performing school and that our students pursue worthwhile post-secondary endeavors speaks incredibly well, but our students are more than achievers in academics. It’s because they succeed in being good people that helps set this school apart.
THE TEACHER SHORTAGE
“Reformist” legislators are anxious for highly qualified, well-trained, and therefore, expensive, educators to quit. The destruction of the profession of education means no more unions and lower wages.
From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
We do not have a teacher shortage. We have a shortage of states and districts willing to make the job attractive enough to recruit and retain teachers.
When was the last time you saw an actual public school teacher get excited about giving a standardized test and analyzing the data?
Most teachers get excited about seeing the “light” of understanding in their students. Most teachers are excited when they pique their students’ interests.
Data is for computers. Relationships are for people.
From Alfie Kohn
An individual’s enthusiasm about the employment of “data” in education is directly proportional to his or her distance from actual students.
…Those scores may be lousy representations of learning – and, indeed, egregiously misleading. But, by gum, they sure are readily available.
CAROL BURRIS HONORED
Carol Burris is the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education.
…and yeah, Jeb Bush, she’s talking to you!
From Carol Burris
When I hear someone define a system of community schools, governed by unpaid volunteers elected by their neighbors as a “government-run, unionized, politicized, monopolies”– there is one thing I know for sure about the speaker—he does not want to improve that system, he does not want to compete with that system, he wants to destroy it.
THE PRICE WE PAY FOR NEGLIGENCE
Jim Wright has written a series of twelve blogs entries about school shootings. The latest is Bang Bang Crazy, Part 12: Excuses, Excuses.
Bang Bang Sanity, on the other hand, is his single post about what we ought to do about gun violence. He wants us to require gun owners to act responsibly or pay the consequences. There are no “gun accidents,” he says. There is only negligence. Is it an accident when a four-year-old shoots his two-year-old brother with a gun left on the kitchen table? No, it’s negligence on the part of the gun owner.
Negligence and irresponsible behaviors need consequences. I agree.
He thinks that background checks, gun-free zones, banning high-capacity magazines or assault weapons, won’t “do a damned thing.” That horse, he said, “is out of the barn.” I disagree. Part of responsibility includes society’s responsibility to take steps to correct the mistakes of the past. We have bans on drunk driving, but it still happens. We have bans on using illegal drugs, yet they are still being used. The fact that people will break the laws is no excuse not to put them in place…and that should include consequences for gun owners, manufacturers (including the NRA, the lobbying arm of the gun industry), and sellers.
From Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station
We hold people who sell alcohol responsible, at least in some aspects, for enabling drunken driving. We hold auto manufacturers responsible, at least in some aspects, for the safety of their product. We hold state licensing agencies responsible for administration of standards. We hold the drivers themselves responsible for their actions. We set rules and limits and we work to improve them every single day.
And we, both left and right, drivers and non-drivers, drinkers and non-drinkers and reformed drinkers, engage in reasonable dialog and conversation without hysteria or accusations that the other side is coming to take either our booze or our cars.
But what we don’t do is say stupid shit like, well now you retards, there’s just nothing we can do about drunk people and/or crazy drivers who kill people with cars, uh, uh, uh. Hey, every once in a while crazy people drive buses through pre-schools. Dead kids, that’s just the price you pay for freedom to drive…
This quote means that 45% of gun owners with children under 18 years old DO NOT store their guns safely (in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked in a gun rack, or secured with a trigger lock)!
What are the consequences for this behavior?
Slightly more than half, or 55 percent, of gun owners with children under 18 reported storing all of their guns safely.
‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens
The satirical site, The Onion, posts the article, “No Way to Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” whenever there’s a mass shooting. The title is the quote.
From Sheila Kennedy
When knowledge and expertise are devalued, when empirical evidence is scorned, when the weighty and complex search for meaning that characterizes serious religiosity is replaced with superstition, rejection of reason and fear of the Other, the know-nothings have won.
VOUCHERS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES
This bill, introduced by the U.S. Congressman representing my district, doesn’t surprise me. He is as far right in his politics as you can be without actually taking up a torch and marching with David Duke in Charlottesville, Va.
According to Politics the Work, his votes in congress consistently oppose…
- taxing businesses
- environmental protection
- financial sector regulation
- gun control
- public health
- increasing revenues
- taxing the wealthy
- women’s rights.
With this bill we can add that he also opposes…
- support for public education
The sad thing is that, in this part of the country, Jim Banks (R-IN) is representative of the majority of his constituents.
The bill provides relatively no accountability or oversight mechanisms. For families wishing to participate, it requires only that parents state that they will use the funds to “provide the child with instruction in, at minimum, the fields of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies.” And the funds can be used for a wide variety of programs, including for an unaccredited private school or for homeschooling expenses.
The bill also explicitly prohibits the federal or state government from exercising any oversight over the program. Basically, this bill sends the message that federal dollars should be given to families and then the government should back off and have no say over how those taxpayer dollars are actually spent.