Category Archives: Politics

Children Learn What They Live, 2020 version

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

“The president’s attacks have done some damage,” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said Wednesday at an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. He cited a Freedom Forum Institute poll this year where more than three-quarters of Americans said “fake news” is a serious threat to democracy.

“I believe President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Wallace said.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

The ICE raids, carried out under the leadership of a Donald Trump-appointed US attorney, took place at seven food processing plants in six Mississippi cities. Photographs of crying children left distraught when their parents were taken into custody immediately went viral worldwide.

Father Jeremy Tobin, a Catholic priest who works with the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (Mira), told the Guardian he had been flooded with worried calls and messages from immigrants, documented and undocumented alike.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

The world has loved, hated and envied the U.S. Now, for the first time, we pity it — Fintan O’Toole

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

Trump seems terrified that history will look more kindly on Obama’s presidency than on his own.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

Peter Alexander, White House correspondent at NBC News, asked the US president: “What do you say to Americans, who are watching you right now, who are scared?”

Erupting in anger, Trump unleashed a tirade: “I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”

WHAT WE WOULD LIKE CHILDREN TO SEE

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

In the middle of difficulty there is opportunity. – Albert Einstein

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

We either overcome our innate tribalism and learn to live amicably together, or this experiment we call America is over. — Sheila Kennedy

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate. —- William Arthur Ward

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. – Mark Twain

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. -– William James.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it. ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

MARIANA: Come, let’s return again, and suffice ourselves with the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl: the honour of a maid is her name; and no legacy is so rich as honesty. ― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need. ― Rick Riordan, The Red Pyramid

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. — Fred Rogers

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Studies routinely show that students learn better when they feel safe, for example. Yet interventions that focus on visible signs of safety—metal detectors, wand searches, and so on—have not been found to deter crime and actually can make students feel less safe at school. What does reduce bullying and make students feel safer? According to an analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey, only one intervention: more adults visible and talking to students in the hallways, a mark of a climate with better adult-student relationships.

ROLE MODELS

🚌🚌🚌

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Will Teachers Listen to Their Own Message?

A STATE THAT HATES ITS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Last year around this time I listed a short (recent) history of the ways the Indiana Republican-dominated legislature and governors hated Indiana’s public schools.

In Indiana: Still hating public education after all these years I discussed how the legislature, under the leadership of Governors Daniels and Pence restricted collective bargaining for Indiana’s teachers, refused to acknowledge with economic support the value of experience and education among Indiana’s teachers, supported rules making it easier for unqualified non-professionals to teach in Indiana’s schools, withdrew due process from teachers’ rights as employees, and stalled funding.

At the end of 2019, Indiana teachers finally got the message and took it to the streets. On November 19th, 2019, fifteen to twenty thousand (depending on who’s writing the report) teachers and public education supporters marched on the Indiana Statehouse asking for more money for Indiana’s schools.

MORE MONEY FOR PRIVATIZATION

The legislature, under the leadership of Governors Daniels, Pence and Holcomb, has steadily increased economic support for vouchers since the first voucher plan became law in 2011. Similarly, support for charter schools has expanded since 2011. Meanwhile, support for public education has lost ground to economic downturns and to inflation.

The pro-privatization forces in the legislature decided to end the practice of electing a state Superintendent of Public Instruction. In the future, Indiana will be one of only a few states where the governor and the legislative majority have complete control over the state’s educational system from the Superintendent to the fully appointed State Board of Education. The people no longer have a direct voice in education policy in Indiana. (At this link to the Education Commission of the States note that Indiana will move from Model III to Model I with the exception that leaders of each legislative house will also appoint one member of the State Board of Education)

Indiana’s current Governor, Eric Holcomb, and the supermajority-based houses of the Indiana General Assembly have made it clear that the Red for Ed rally in November didn’t convince them that teachers actually mean business.

Teacher pay, according to the Governor, is still being studied, and according to the Republican leadership in the legislature, since 2020 isn’t a budget year, spending more money on public schools or teachers won’t happen. Teachers and public schools are going to have to wait for next year when the entire state budget is examined.

But they didn’t hesitate to dump more money-making deals on charter and voucher schools!

Today the Senate will discuss and vote on a bill that has an amendment that will allow charters to grab a share of public school money acquired through referenda. That same day last week that the Senate passed that amendment, they also ok’d a bill that refused to force the state audits of charters. Never mind that we, the taxpayers of Indiana, just lost more than $85 million on two fraudulent virtual charters.

Blogger Shane Phipps called the charter-school-sharing-referenda-cash bill villainous…

It’s hard to think of a more villainous move than the state stealing from the funds that desperate school corporations have to go begging for because the state is starving them of funding. If school districts were properly funded in the first place, there would be no need for any referendums. But in order to stay afloat, many districts have done the incredibly difficult work to get the extra money they need from their communities who are so generous to give a little extra for the cause of public education. And now you see your elected officials trying to rob public schools of even those funds. It makes me shiver to think what might be coming next.

In addition, the House has a plan to increase the taxpayer cost of vouchers by $6 to $12 million…because the increase to vouchers (which was several times larger than the increase to public schools) during last year’s budget isn’t apparently enough.

Both bills will be heard this morning, Monday, March 9.

WHERE ARE THE TEACHERS?

Where are the teachers in all of this?

Local teachers in Allen County are staging a Red for Ed day Walkin on Wednesday, March 11. This means that teachers will gather at the front door of their schools, wearing red, and walk into the building together.

Will the legislature hear that?

The proof will come in November. Will teachers hear the same message they sent to the legislature?

Will teachers and public school advocates join together to get rid of the privatizers in the legislature and work for those who support public education?

Will Republican public education supporters convince their Republican candidates that it’s time to support public schools and stop favoring charter schools and voucher accepting schools?

Or are the Governor and legislators correct in their assumption that the teachers who wore Red for Ed care more about the culture war issues that currently divide the nation than they do about their careers and students?

🚌🚌🚌

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Filed under #RedforEd, Charters, Indiana, Politics, Privatization, SchoolFunding, vouchers

2020 Teachers’ New Year’s Resolutions: 5. Be an Education Voter

2020 Teachers’ New Year’s Resolutions
5. Be an Education voter!

It’s a new year and as is our custom here in the USA, we make resolutions which, while rarely kept, can be redefined as goals toward which we would strive had we the strength.

[Updated and edited from 2018]

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #5

  • Be an Education voter.

Have you been teaching long enough to remember when

  • there was enough time in your day to do things with your class like reading aloud, learning about dinosaurs, developing a science project, or playing a learning game…just for fun?
  • standardized tests weren’t administered in every grade level every year?
  • standardized tests were used to guide your instruction, not punish your students, you, or your school, or to use as a template for teaching to the test?
  • teaching experience was honored in the salary schedule for your school corporation? Each year you taught you received an incremental pay increase.
  • your teacher’s negotiating team could bargain for class size, preparation time, and duty-free periods?
  • the push to learn to read was more appropriately assigned to first-grade instead of kindergarten?

Over the last four to five decades — since I began my own teaching career — things have changed for schools and teachers. Classroom professionals are no longer trusted to make curriculum decisions for their students. The state tests have taken over curriculum choices as well as teacher evaluations. Students have less time to play. Teachers’ salaries have stagnated.

Since the beginning of the standards and testing craze which began in the last decade of the 20th century, we have let legislators strip the joy of learning from our classrooms. In 2001, No Child Left Behind, moved the wheel a bit further introducing punishment to schools which didn’t “perform” (read: couldn’t get enough students to pass “the test” despite the numbers of English language learners, the impact of child poverty, and students receiving special services). Then, in 2011, the Indiana legislature, under the direction of then-Governor Mitch Daniels and State Superintendent Tony Bennett, doubled down in their war against public education with laws providing for charter schools and vouchers, as well as other laws apparently intended to damage the teaching profession.

Since 2011 teachers in Indiana have lost…

  • seniority and the value of experience or advanced degrees on salary schedules
  • declining salaries (when adjusted for inflation)
  • the right to collectively bargain things like class size, prep time, and supervision time
  • the loss of due process

and, along with their students, administrators, and patrons, have had to endure…

  • a constitutional amendment that gives the state legislature complete responsibility for funding schools.
  • the overuse and misuse of standardized testing
  • the diversion of public education funds to testing companies, charter schools and vouchers
  • teacher evaluations and school grades based on test scores
  • untrained laypeople taking teaching positions based on content knowledge alone
  • and, beginning in 2020, Governor-appointed majority (8 out of 10) on the state school board as well as a Governor-appointed state superintendent of public instruction.

The challenge to the public school teachers and schools of Indiana continues. Our state lags behind neighboring states in teacher salaries. The General Assembly, while making noise about the amount of money spent on education, continues to fund public education at below 2008 levels.

[For a detailed look at funding and teacher salaries in Indiana see Education Funding and Teacher Compensation In Indiana: Evaluation and Recommendations.]

YOU ARE THE VOICE FOR YOUR PROFESSION

You know what to do…

  • Write to or visit your legislators. Once you know the issues, tell your legislators how you feel about what they’re doing.

Indiana residents use the links below to find your legislators.

State Legislators

United States Representative

United States Senate

  • Educate your friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Promote public education and supporters of public education on Social Media.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Write to national newspapers. Start your own blog and write about public education.
  • Let your local school board members know about your concerns for public education.
  • Testify at state legislative committee meetings and state school board meetings.
  • Work for candidates who promise to support public education. Once they’re elected, hold them to their promises.
  • Run for public office.

Family and work responsibilities might restrict what you can do. Personal finances might restrict what you can do. Physical limitations might restrict what you can do. But, everyone can do something.

Once you have the knowledge, teach others.

Do Something.

YOU ARE THE VOICE FOR YOUR STUDENTS

Teachers, you are the political voice of your students. Their needs and interests, as well as your own, are in your hands when you enter the voting booth.

  • When you vote for candidates who skimp when asked to invest in public schools, then you vote against the interests of your students. 
  • When you vote for candidates who divert public school funding to private and charter schools, you vote against the interests of your students. 
  • When you vote for candidates who work to deprofessionalize teaching, exacerbating the shortage of qualified teachers, then you vote against the interests of your students.

This year, resolve to be a public education voter. Make sure you’re registered to vote. Indiana voters, you can register or check your registration online, here: Indiana Voter Portal.

Your vote matters.

Resolution #5: Be an “education” voter. Support your profession and public education. Support candidates who support public schools without regard to party affiliation.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #1

  • Read aloud to your children/students every day.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #2

  • Teach your students, not “The Test.”
  • Educate yourself.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #4

  • Focus on developing positive relationships.
🙋🏻🚌👨‍🏫

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Filed under Election, Politics, Public Ed, Teaching Career

Random Numbers

October 16, 2019

POLITICAL

  • Day 1000 of the current U.S. presidential administration. Time to register to vote!

GENERAL WORLDWIDE

EDUCATION IN THE U.S. AND INDIANA

Testing

Privatization

Population

  • 56.6 million – The number of students attending elementary, middle, and high schools across the US.

Poverty

15% (168,028) of white children live in poor families.
42% (69,537) of black children live in poor families.
35% (56,560) of Hispanic children live in poor families.
17% (5,237) of Asian children live in poor families.

Homelessness

Graduation

Overall Poverty rate 20.56%

Overall Poverty rate 11.98%

Overall Poverty rate 14.56%

Lead

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Repairing the Damage to Science

ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM

The Growing Partisan Divide in Views of Higher Education

In 2012 53% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents in the U.S. believed that higher education was a net positive for the nation and 35% had a negative view. Now, in 2019, those numbers have reversed. 59% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents have a negative view of higher education while 33% have a positive view. Over the same time period, the results for Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents have been consistent — about 66% positive and about 20% negative.

Ed Brayton, who blogs at Dispatches from the Culture Wars “is not at all” surprised by this.

Most Republicans Reject Higher Education

This is not at all surprising. The right, and Trump in particular, have made rejection of expertise and knowledge almost an article of faith. They look at university faculty that leans liberal, decide they’re the enemy and demonize them in every way possible. Trump embodies this with his constant rejection of science, learning and experience. No one knows anything about anything but him, so he doesn’t need no fancy schmancy liberal eggheads telling him that global warming is real or that perhaps he should listen to our career civil servants in the diplomatic corps, who might just know something he doesn’t about the countries they’ve been deeply involved with for decades.

Not only is this not surprising, but, as the surveys have shown, it’s not new either. In 2012 more than a third of America’s Republicans thought that a post-secondary education had a net negative impact on our society. While that’s less than in 2019, it’s still a lot.

QUICK HISTORY

This strain of popular anti-intellectualism has been part of American life since the beginning of the Republic. It was present in the religious objections to the Constitution, and according to Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, is at least in part, the result of the particular strain of Protestantism which set the tone for the development of the country.

In more modern times…

  • Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon called former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson an “egghead

However, the fact that the percentage of Republican Americans who disdain expertise has risen is more reflective of the direction of the Republican Party under its current leadership than any change in the number of Americans who would like their children to go to college.

By the way, it’s still true that the more education one has, the higher one’s income prospects…and the difference is growing. In 1970 the difference in average income between those with a college degree and those with just a high school diploma was $14,400 per year. By 2018 that difference had nearly doubled to $25,000.

Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats don’t like the post-secondary impact of high tuition costs, but nearly 80% of Republicans include the so-called left-leaning tendency of college professors in their reasons for their negative view of colleges and universities. Interestingly, this further divides by age. 96% of Republicans over 65 think liberal professors impose their beliefs on the young, whereas slightly over half (56%) of Republicans between the ages of 18 and 34 feel that way. While that’s still a majority, it implies that a large number of young Republicans don’t see post-secondary liberal professorial indoctrination as a problem. One would think that the younger sample rather than the older, would have a better handle on what is going on in colleges and universities today.

FIGHTING BACK

In the meantime, the current administration ignores scientific (and other) expertise when making decisions which affect us all.

The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in their report, The State of Science in the Trump Era (2019),

Scientists—whether agency staff, experts in leadership positions, or nongovernmental scientists on advisory committees—have long advised policymakers when good decisions depend on scientific evidence. The Trump administration is excluding this expertise from decisionmaking…

Our nation’s landmark public health and environmental laws require the use of science to set standards that protect people and preserve our natural resources. The Trump administration has ignored or sidestepped many of these processes…

In fact, the administration is not just ignoring expertise, but actually censoring science that doesn’t fit its pro-profit or political agenda.

Who does President Trump treat worse than anyone else? Scientists.

In 2017, Interior Department officials — including then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt — blocked the release of a comprehensive analysis about the threat that three widely used pesticides pose to endangered species, requiring the report’s authors to use a narrower standard for determining the risk of the chemicals. That year, the government also halted a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine on the health risks of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachian states, wasting $455,110 that had already been spent on the process.

We could go on: The administration has suppressed, blocked or ignored scientific research on the environmental effects of mining in national forests, the dangers of asbestos, the status of endangered species, the effect a citizenship question would have on the U.S. Census, the safety of children’s products and countless other issues.

The education community must step up. We must prepare tomorrow’s leaders to repair the intellectual damage coming from the current administration.

This is the intellectual rot of the Trump era. It’s more than just an anti-big government ideology; it’s a systematic assault on science across the federal government. These actions will reverberate in our government for years to come, even after the Trump administration is gone, in the form of policy decisions we make without the benefit of the best evidence available. And worse, Americans may not even be aware of how they are being deceived and deprived.

That’s the true scandal of Trump’s war on scientists. No other group is so pervasively targeted and so thoroughly ignored. Yet it is their voices, more than any other, that our nation needs in this disturbing political moment.

CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Reversing the anti-science direction of the country will take time and won’t be easy. We can do it if we focus on today’s students…tomorrow’s leaders.

In his last interview (go to 3:55 for this quote), Carl Sagan warned (1996),

Science is more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then, we are up for grabs for the next charlatan (political or religious) who comes ambling along.

It’s a thing that Jefferson lay great stress on. It wasn’t enough, he said, to enshrine some rights in a constitution or a bill of rights. The people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education. Otherwise we don’t run the government. The government runs us.

What can we do? The charlatans are here…it’s time to step up.

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Filed under Anti-Intellectualism, Politics, Post-Secondary Education, Sagan, Science

Republican Teachers: Tell legislators to support public education

Indiana’s Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, was careful to speak in non-partisan terms when she visited Fort Wayne last week. She didn’t call out one specific party for its anti-public education legislation, even though everyone in Indiana knows that the Republicans are doing their best to privatize and skimp on funding for public education.

McCormick is a Republican.

McCormick’s predecessor, Glenda Ritz, was also a Republican before she ran for the Superintendent’s position in 2012. She took office, however, as a Democrat…and ran into the wall of the Republican Supermajority for everything she wanted to do for public schools in Indiana.

In the 2016 election, Ritz and McCormick had similar platforms. McCormick, however, said that she could get things done because she was a Republican. She could talk to the members of her own party and get them to understand what public schools and public school teachers needed. She tried, but she was also stopped by the Republican legislators.

It doesn’t take the logic of Spock to deduce that the Republicans in the Indiana legislature are against public education. For the last dozen years the Republicans in the Indiana House and Senate have introduced and passed legislation aimed at funding vouchers and charters, deprofessionalizing the teaching profession, and starving public education.

But Glenda Ritz was a Republican before she was a Democrat, and she supported public education…and Jennifer McCormick is a Republican and she supports public education. Obviously not all Republicans, then, want to privatize the public schools.

REPUBLICAN TEACHERS

As a retired teacher in northeast Indiana, it’s been clear to me that many, if not most, of my former colleagues, have been Republicans. As public school educators, I assume that the vast majority of those same colleagues have been supporters of public education. For them to be otherwise would indicate a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

Are Republican public school teachers the only party members who support public education? Again, I’m doubtful of that. Many of my students’ parents were also Republicans and they were, on the whole, very supportive of their children’s schools.

Perhaps it’s only those Republicans who have no connection to public schools who support the legislators who are so intent on funding vouchers and charters at the expense of the constitutionally mandated public schools.

Or maybe it’s something else…maybe it’s money.

FULL DISCLOSURE

I’m not a Republican. Nor am I a Democrat. I’m an ardent and enthusiastic Independent Education Voter. I understand that Democrats can be just as dangerous to public education as can Republicans.

Rahm Emanual in Chicago has worked hard during his tenure to privatize public education.

President Obama and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan continued the punishment of public education started by Bush II and No Child Left Behind. In some ways, Duncan was worse than current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

There is little doubt that campaign donations from pro-privatization organizations would transform at least some currently pro-public education Democrats into pro-privatization Democrats.

Because there’s a lot of evidence that it’s the money.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Hoosiers for Quality Education (H4QE), formerly Hoosiers for Economic Growth, is a pro-privatization group in Indiana. H4QE is funded by the DeVos family (American Federation for Children), Alice Walton (of the Walmart billions), and the Freedom Partners (The Koch Brothers). They support School Choice Indiana (aka The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, now known as EdChoice) (For more information on this convoluted set of relationships see Hoosier School Heist by Doug Martin). Suffice it to say — H4QE supports school privatization.

And they donate freely to Republicans during statewide elections.

H4QE donated $88,750 to Republicans on the House Education Committee

The Republican members of the House Education Committee received approximately $88,750 in 2018 campaign contributions from H4QE. Committee chair Bob Behning received $3000 and Chuck Goodrich got the largest donation, $36,000.

H4QE donated $99,500 to Republicans on the Senate Education and Career Development Committee

The members of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee received approximately $99,500 in 2016/2018 campaign contributions from H4QE. Committee chair Jeff Raatz pocketed a $9,000 donation. Member Linda Rogers accepted a whopping $50,000.

(On the other side, Democratic members of the House and Senate committees also received approximately $10,600 and $17,300 respectively from Indiana teachers’ unions, ISTA and IFT, a small amount compared to the privatizers.)

Republican members of those committees also received contributions from other groups such as Stand for Children, funded by the pro-privatization Walton Family and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.

Privatizers donated $170,000 to Governor Eric Holcomb

Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana, also received 2016 contributions from privatizers…most notably the DeVos family. Holcomb received $15,000 from each of the following for a total of $90,000: American Federation for Children, Richard DeVos, Richard DeVos Jr (Betsy), Doug DeVos, Daniel DeVos, and Cheri DeVos-Vanderweide. Holcomb also received $50,000 from charter school operator Christel Dehaan, $100,000 from Jim Walton (of the Walton Family), and $20,000 from Walmart.

Is it possible that Republican politicians feel obligated to support privatization — vouchers and charters — because of the amount of money donated to their campaign coffers by pro-privatization groups and individuals?

One only has to look at the nomination and confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to see how a billionaire donor can have an impact on the way politicians vote on issues.

WHICH CAME FIRST, DONATIONS OR IDEOLOGY?

When our local representative, Dave Heine, ran for the first time, he came to talk to our public education advocacy group, Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education. He was a Republican, but seemed very receptive to listening to us and agreed with us on many aspects of supporting public schools. In 2018, however, he joined ALEC, and received a $1000 campaign donation from H4QE. He votes in line with the Republican supermajority on public education legislation.

Would Rep. Heine have voted with the pro-privatization forces in the legislature if he had not gotten any campaign donations from privatizers? Which came first, the donation which has obligated him to support the positions of H4QE, or his willingness to defund public schools and deprofessionalize public school teachers?

In my corner of the state, the nine Republican House members and the five Republican Senators received 2016/2018 campaign contributions of $48,100 from H4QE.

HOW CAN WE FIGHT THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS GOING TO PRIVATIZATION?

Millions statewide, that is…billions nationwide.

Public schools don’t have the resources to donate thousands of campaign dollars to compete with billionaire-funded organizations like H4QE, the Walton Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, and the DeVos family. Neither do teachers’ unions. Neither do public school parents.

So what can Republican teachers, who still want to support the Republican party and vote for Republican candidates do? What should you do if you don’t want to vote for the Democratic candidate — assuming there even is one?

Become an Education voter. Learn the education positions of your candidates. If they support private school vouchers and charters, tell them your position…and tell them you expect them to support public schools if they’re elected.

Just because you vote for someone doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything they do.

Get to know your local legislators. Invite them into your classroom and let them see how public education works. Some Republican legislators have never set foot in a public school…never attended public school…never sent their children to public school. Tell them the stories from your school. Tell them how much you donate to your own classroom each year to help your students learn. Be an advocate for your students, your classroom, and your school.

Follow bills in the legislature. Pay attention to how your local Representatives and Senators vote. Let them know if you disapprove. Thank them when they support public education.

Support for public education doesn’t have to be partisan. Jennifer McCormick has proven that a Republican can support public schools. We need Republican citizens to support their public schools as well. We can change the balance if we work together.

🚌🐘🚌

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Filed under Charters, Duncan, Emanuel, IN Gen.Assembly, McCormick, Politics, Privatization, Public Ed, Ritz, vouchers

2019 Medley #3

Third-Grade Flunk Laws, NCLB, School Libraries, Second Amendment, First Amendment, Segregation in Indiana, Losers in the White House

THIRD GRADE FLUNK LAWS

Third Grade Flunk Laws–and (Un)intended Consequences

States (and schools…and teachers) continue to retain children in third grade (and in other grades) simply because they can’t read at an arbitrarily determined “level.”

Retention in grade doesn’t help children “catch up.” It doesn’t give kids “another year to grow.” It doesn’t help and often hurts

This post by Nancy Flanagan discusses the unintended consequences of using an “intervention” strategy that doesn’t work.

[For more information on Retention in Grade, click HERE.]

Now we are witnessing the other consequences of the Third Grade Threat—pushing inappropriate instruction down to kindergarten, as anxious districts fear that students who are not reading at grade level (a murky goal, to begin with) will embarrass the district when letters go out to parents of third graders who are supposed to be retained. Because it’s the law.

Who’s to blame when students lag behind (arbitrary) literacy benchmarks, for whatever reason, from learning in a second language, an identified disability or merely being a late-bloomer? Teachers, of course.

 

NCLB: DEVELOPMENTALLY INAPPROPRIATE

How NCLB is Still Destroying Reading for Children 

NCLB gave us Reading First and testing, testing, testing. This was followed by Race to the Top which continued to punish schools for societal failures. Bill Gates jumped in with Common Core, a reverse programmed curriculum forcing developmentally inappropriate instruction on students in the early grades.

This hypervigilant push for children to read before first grade is not working.

Bring back kindergarten! Quit repetitively testing children! Get those play kitchens and sand tables out of the closet!

Don’t only say that kindergarten shouldn’t be the new first grade! Bring back kindergarten! Get rid of NCLB once and for all!

SCHOOL LIBRARIES SUFFER FROM UNDERFUNDING

U.S. Public Schools Have Lost Nearly 20% Of Their Librarians Since 2000

Here’s one more way that we’re shortchanging our future.

The shortage in public school librarian employment — which saw the most dramatic drop following the Great Recession of 2008 and hasn’t recovered since — has hit districts serving minorities the hardest. Among all the districts that have retained all their librarians since 2005, 75% are white, Education Week reports. On the other end of the scale, student populations in the 20 districts that lost the most librarians in the same time comprised 78% students of color.

In other words, while U.S. employment rates are back up in the wake of the Great Recession, the public school librarian sector has not rebounded, and the nation’s collective failure to rebuild its public information infrastructure is hitting minorities the hardest.

 

WE CANNOT AFFORD PARALLEL SCHOOL SYSTEMS

Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point

When striking Los Angeles teachers won their demand to call for a halt to charter school expansions in California, they set off a domino effect, and now teachers in other large urban districts are making the same demand.

Unchecked charter school growth is also bleeding into 2020 election campaigns. Recently, New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait berated Democratic Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for having opposed a ballot initiative in her home state in 2016 that would have raised a cap on the number of charter schools. “There may be no state in America that can more clearly showcase the clear success of charter schools than [Massachusetts],” declared Chait.

But while Chait and other charter school fans claim Massachusetts as a charter school model, the deeper reality is that charters are driving Boston’s public education system to the financial brink.

As the Boston Globe recently reported, the city is experiencing an economic boom, but its schools resemble “an economically depressed industrial center.” The state’s unfair funding formula is part of the problem, but an ever-expanding charter school industry also imposes a huge financial drain.

WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY KILLS ITS OWN CHILDREN…

Since Parkland

It’s time for commonsense gun laws. The Second Amendment is no more important than the First Amendment. We freely accept accommodations and exceptions to the First in the form of libel and slander laws. It’s time we tweak the Second Amendment so that our children can grow to adulthood.

12 months
1,200 American kids killed by guns
1,200 stories about the lives they led, reported by teen journalists across the country

 

NON-CHRISTIANS DON’T MATTER TO JUSTICES

With Alabama Execution Case, Supreme Court Declares That Only Christianity Matters

…and speaking of the First Amendment, we have some educating to do. We need to teach certain members of the Supreme Court that religious accommodations are not only for Christians. Perhaps they believe that America is a Christian Nation (hint: it’s not). In any case, the five “conservative” justices ruled that a Muslim was not allowed access to his preferred spiritual leader before he was executed. You would think that the First Amendment mattered as much to “conservatives” as the Second…

I’m not asking you to feel sympathy for a man who raped and murdered a child. I’m asking you to be outraged by a Supreme Court blatantly and publicly stating that only Christianity matters. This decision spells disaster for minority religious believers and non-believers alike. Our heartfelt beliefs, our core values, are without value to the majority of this Court. Where exemptions are granted, it will be to Christians. Their beliefs are important enough to the right wing majority that they warrant protection. The equally strongly held moral values of Muslims, or Hindus, or Jews, or atheists are to be dismissed if they cause even the slightest inconvenience to the state.

We knew we were facing a tough battle with this Supreme Court. We had no clue just how hard it would become so quickly.

SEGREGATION IN INDIANA

1920s decisions shaped racial landscape

Blogger Steve Hinnefeld provides an excellent history lesson on segregation in Indiana.

But Indiana schools are still segregated by race, ethnicity and family income, according to a 2017 study and data visualization by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University. The legacy of the 1920s lives on.

 

LOSERS ARE AS LOSERS DO

Finally, the President’s eldest son has about as much verbal self-control as his father. Speaking at a Presidential rally against black and brown immigration, the “first son” called teachers “losers” who indoctrinate their students in socialism.

My response to that are the following socialist benefits Americans enjoy: the U.S. Military, oil subsidies, farm subsidies, social security, Medicare, public roadways and waterways, municipal water systems, public libraries, police and fire departments, the postal service, public trash pickup and landfills, congressional health care, veterans’ health care, public parks, the court system, state and city-run beaches, unemployment insurance, the national weather service, and NASA. [For more see HERE.]

Here are two excellent responses to Junior’s idiocy.

Commentary: Trump Jr., losers are as losers do

We have a trust-fund baby like the president’s son, one not even smart enough to stay away from meetings where people planned lawbreaking, calling other hard-working Americans losers.

That by itself is enough to trigger a gag reflex.

Then there’s the gratuitous nonsense about socialism. Coming from a guy whose family members are soaking up millions of tax dollars as they vacation every third day at one Trump property after another and leave the nation’s citizenry with the bill, that’s so rich it’s gooey.

Finally, there’s the muddle-headed and mean-spirited goofiness of whining about indoctrination at a Donald Trump rally.

Young Trump complained about indoctrination at an event where a Trump supporter assaulted a BBC cameraman and where anyone who doesn’t chant agreement with everything the leader says or shouts is threatened, beat up or kicked out.

But that’s the way it is with folks like Trump Junior.

Diary Of A Socialist Indoctrinator

Principal McBossface held me over a minute after the meeting to let me know that he’s aware I’m running behind on my Socialist Indoctrination and to remind me that it’s super-critical that I get up to speed. I’m really feeling the pressure.

📝📚🚌

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