Posted in Booker, Charters, DeVos, Politics, Preschool, Public Ed, Quotes, reform, Tenure, Testing, theArts, Trump

Listen to This (Random Quotes) #5

BUILDING SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

Defeating the DeVos Agenda

Competing on an uneven playing field, public school corporations have taken to advertising in order to keep their students from going to charter schools or using vouchers to attend private schools. Instead, John Merrow offers additional advice on how to “advertise” by involving community members, especially those who have no current connections to the public schools.

Public schools belong to their communities, not to the school board members, or the parents of current students. Schools are investments in a community’s future, paid for by everyone, for the benefit of everyone. Closing schools and opening charters, or offering vouchers, is taking years of community investment and throwing it away.

From John Merrow

Only when ‘outsiders’ become convinced that what’s happening in our public schools is not just test-prep and rote learning pushed on sullen teenagers by demoralized instructors, only then will Betsy DeVos and her militant Christian army of ideologues and profiteers lose this war.

TEACHING THE ARTS

Piecemeal Privatization of Arts and Music in Public Schools

The latest Kappan (April, 2017) is focused on the Arts.

Many school systems in the U.S. have had to cut back on their arts programming due to budget cuts and the obsessive focus on reading and math. Music and art teachers are stretched thin trying to educate large numbers of children in areas that aren’t tested, and therefore, not considered important by “reformers.” Articles in the journal discuss the influx of public/private partnerships which are replacing in-house education specialists in places. Nancy Bailey acknowledges that these partnerships are beneficial where no arts programming exists, but the loss of the arts programming is the real problem.

From Nancy Bailey

This country needs to quit with the trickery. Pretending the arts are returning with partnerships, or through subject integration, or technology, is only a charade. Our tax dollars should go directly to public schools for these programs and to real arts and music teachers.

EDUCATION AS A PUBLIC GOOD

Truth in Edvertising

Are private and privately run schools better than traditional public schools, or do they just have better PR and better advertising? Traditional schools don’t usually spend money on advertising because money spent on advertising isn’t spent on instruction.

Are schools commodities like widgets, where money needs to be spent on advertising? If we, as a society, accept the marketplace version of education…if we accept that competition improves education…if we accept that it’s up to the parent to find the school with the best “fit” for their child…then public education will probably not be a priority.

On the other hand, if we accept that public education benefits the whole society…that public education is a public good, then we won’t waste money on advertising, and the “bottom line” will be educating our children, not turning a profit.

From Sarah Butler Jessen on Have You Heard Blog and Podcast

There’s been a lot of talk about how much money they [Success Academy] spend. We were able to look at some of their budgets from the 2012 and 2013 year, along with a bunch of other charter management and charter organizations in New York City authorized by SUNY. Again, as we raised in recent earlier article about the 2010 data, in Williamsburg and Cobble Hill in particular in that year, they’re spending more than $1,000 per entered student on marketing alone.

LACK OF SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IS BIPARTISAN

Democrats link party rivals to DeVos as 2018 fights emerge

In Indiana it’s the Republicans who support so-called “education reforms” which have the effect of damaging public education, deprofessionalizing public school teachers, and re-segregating our schools. But it’s not just a Republican movement. It’s bipartisan. There are Democrats across the nation who are apparently hell-bent on replacing public education with privatized, corporate, charter schools.

Cory Booker (and here)…Andrew CuomoRahm Emanuel

From Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter Schools Association

“What’s happened over time is that we have seen the Legislature has changed very significantly, and we’ve really seen that among Democrats, we have just many more folks that are supportive of charter schools,” he said. “Do these national winds, do they affect things here? Absolutely, absolutely. But it’s not like we’re just going to be blown across the map.”

Still, Wallace suspected charter school opponents would view DeVos’ appointment as a political opportunity to cut into charter schools’ gains.

“Yeah, that’s going to happen, and we have to be aware of that,” he said.

POLITICS

Trump Restocks the Swamp

President Trump promised to “drain the swamp” telling the American people that the government wouldn’t be made up of special interests and their lobbyists.

From Ed Brayton

[Trump] criticized Obama for his lack of transparency, yet just reversed the policy of releasing visitor logs so the public could know if the president or his close advisers were meeting with lobbyists and others with a clear stake in public policy. And a man whose big selling point was that he was rich so he would not be beholden to big corporations and the wealthy. Yet you’d be hard-pressed to name a single thing he’s done since taking office that wasn’t what moneyed interests would want him to to in order to make him more money.

Update for Trump Voters

From Robert Reich

He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. Then he brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses.

…He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said. You bought it. Then he put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.

PRE-SCHOOL IN INDIANA

IN: Welcome UPSTART Pre-K Cyberschool

Putting a three- or four-year-old in front of a computer screen and calling it “pre-school” is the most insane thing to come out of the education “reform” cesspool.

From Peter Greene

…we’re assured that UPSTART will provide “program sponsors” with data. Because, you know, it’s never too early to start building your tiny human’s data file, so that the trouble she had picking out vowel sounds when she was four flippin’ years old can follow her around for the rest of her life.

In Indiana, the legislature wants to make UPSTART part of the Pre-K expansion bill.

TESTING AND MANDATES

Standardized Testing Creates Captive Markets

The Republicans have railed for years against the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and it’s forced health insurance mandates. Yet, forced testing mandates, which every state must waste tax dollars on, is supported.

A must read

From Steven Singer

The reason public schools give these tests is because the government forces them. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that all students in grades 3-8 and once in high school take certain approved standardized assessments. Parents are allowed to refuse the tests for their children, but otherwise they have to take them.

TENURE AGAIN STILL

Teacher Tenure and Seniority Lawsuits: A Failure of Logic

They’re not giving up. Even after the Vergara Decision was overturned anti-teacher forces are still fighting against tenure and seniority. Their goal – the complete destruction of teachers unions at any cost, even if it means also destroying the teaching profession.

From Jersey Jazzman

The backers of these lawsuits will make occasional concessions to the idea that schools need adequate and equitable funding to attract qualified people into teaching. But they never seem to be interested in underwriting lawsuits that would get districts like Newark the funds they need to improve both the compensation and the working conditions of teachers.

THE FEDERAL ROLE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

The War on Public Schools

The Federal government has helped public education by requiring equal access to educational opportunities for all children regardless of race, sex, or disabilities. They have provided funds for disadvantaged students, for teacher preparation and continuing education, and materials.

With No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Common Core, the Federal government increased it’s influence on public education, but evoked a backlash. It’s true that some Federal intrusion into public education is necessary and important…

From the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights quoted in the American Prospect

The hard-learned lesson of the civil rights community over decades has shown that a strong federal role is crucial to protecting the interests of educationally underserved students

‘REFORM’

Closing schools is not an educational option

No school was ever improved by closing it.

From Mitchell Robinson in Eclectablog

Whenever I hear public officials and education policy decision makers suggest that closing schools is a legitimate strategy, I know that person is not serious about actually improving educational outcomes.

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Posted in 1000 Words, Corp Interest, Early Childhood, Privatization, Ravitch, Television, Testing, theArts

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – November, 2013

Here are some pictures, graphic images and cartoons from around the net — plus my own 2 cents worth of comments. Click on any image to see the full sized version.

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools

We need to change the terms of the national conversation. Public education is not failing. Our society is failing. At 23%, we have the highest child poverty rate in the world among advanced nations and we ought to be embarrassed by that. There is a direct correlation between poverty and achievement. To deny that is to deny reality.

“There is one certain conclusion that can be drawn from studies of education achievement: poverty has a negative effect on student learning. On every test, whether in reading or in mathematics, the results are stratified by family income. Students from the wealthiest families tend to have the highest scores, and students from the poorest families tend to have the lowest scores. Every standardized test produces these results, whether it is the SAT, the ACT, state tests, the National Assessment of Education Progress, or international tests.”

Children Need the Arts

I don’t think this is referring to drawing bubbles on a standardized achievement test…

Standardized Tests

When you give standardized tests to children who are too young to hold a pencil well enough to fill in the bubbles there’s something seriously wrong.

Standardized tests have their purpose, but it’s not for

  • evaluating teachers
  • evaluating schools
  • evaluating school systems
  • making high stakes decisions which affect students

Standardized Tests don’t belong in a teacher’s evaluation.

Corporate Reform’s Vision

The corporate view of what education should be…

Real Teachers. Real Students.

TV

The Connection Between TV and School Scores

Jim Trelease author of the Read Aloud Handbook, has this to say about children and television…

The greatest academic damage done may not be from the shows viewed but by what is not being done during those many hours each week of sitting passively in front of the TV: games not played, chores not done, drawings not drawn, hobbies not worked, friends not made or played with, homework not done, bikes or skateboards not ridden, balls not caught, books not read, and conversations not held. I hear parents call it “my babysitter”—but if there were a babysitter who deprived your child of all those activities, you’d ban her from your home, wouldn’t you?

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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.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Posted in 1000 Words, books, Legislatures, Perseverance, reading, Teaching Career, theArts, WaltonFamilyFoundation

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – July 2013

Here are some pictures, graphic images and cartoons from around the net — plus my own 2 cents worth of comments. Click on any image to see the full sized version.

Where is Your Money Going?

The Walton Family Foundation is just one of the billionaire’s clubs currently funding the destruction of public education.

This is for the millions of public school teachers who shop at Walmart…just so you know where your money goes…

When Billionaires Become Educational Experts

Current reforms are allowing certain individuals with neither scholarly nor practical expertise in education to exert significant influence over educational policy for communities and children other than their own…

Who’s involved? Who are they connected to?

John Walton: …assisted in the creation of the right-wing advocacy group Alliance for School Choice.

Carrie Walton Penner: Penner, who graduated from a private boarding school and attended two elite universities, sits on the boards of the KIPP Foundation (to which the Walton Family Foundation recently gave $25 million) and the California Charter Schools Association…

Greg Penner: Greg Penner, Carrie Walton Penner’s husband, is on the National Board of Directors for Teach for America, and is a director of the Charter Growth Fund, a “non-profit venture capital fund” investing charter in schools.

Alice Walton

Walton is a registered voter in Texas. She registered in the state in June 2008…

…Alice Walton was the top individual contributor to winning state legislative candidates in the 2010 elections that put [Wisconsin] Republicans in control of the state government. Under the first budget passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-majority legislature, funding for public schools was cut by $800 million over two years, while funding for programs that funnel public money to private schools increased by $17 million over two years.

Marchers denounce Walton Family Foundation for undermining Chicago’s public school system

The Walton family, the richest family in America and heirs to the Walmart fortune, have given millions of dollars to initiatives which strip money from public schools, including nearly half a million dollars in support of Chicago Public Schools’ proposed school closures. Meanwhile, in 2012, the family spent $3.8 million—more money than they spent in any other city—opening new charter schools. The vast majority of the schools closing in Chicago serve low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, leaving many of these areas without neighborhood schools.

Art, Music and PE

The overuse of testing has squeezed the arts and physical education out of many school programs. Here’s a great comment.

Do More With Less

It’s not just budget cuts — it’s time cuts as well. Teachers are required to spend more and more of their time “teaching to the test” which reduces time spent on other things like read aloud, free silent reading time, history, civics and government, science, current events…

Teachers are being told what to teach, how to teach it, when to teach it, then being punished because students aren’t successful…

Where is Accountability for Policy-Makers

Legislators and politicians, who have never set foot (or allowed their children to set foot) in a public school make the rules and then blame schools for not performing miracles. Think about the statistical impossibility of No Child Left Behind’s requirement that, by 2014, 100% of students will be proficient on achievement tests. They make it harder and harder for public schools to operate, and for public school teachers to teach and then punish the schools for not doing more with less.

Where’s the accountability on our politicians and policy makers? Why aren’t they held accountable for the enormous level of child poverty in America?

Get Inside Someone Else’s Brain

…on the value of reading and books…

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” — Marilyn Jager Adams

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” — Walt Disney

Don’t Give Up

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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.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Posted in 1000 Words, PiDay, poverty, reading, Teaching Career, theArts

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Mar.2013

Here are some pictures, graphic images and cartoons from around the net — plus my own 2 cents worth of comments. Click on any image to see the full sized version.

Read Across America

March is Read Across America time. This year think about the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.

The Low Priority of America’s Children

While the adults [sic] in congress fight over money nearly one-fourth of our children live in poverty.

“Recent research shows that many children who do not have enough to eat wind up with diminished capacity to understand and learn. Children don’t have to be starving for this to happen. Even mild undernutrition – the kind most common among poor people in America – can do it.” ~ Carl Sagan, Cornell University

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Aren’t America’s schools as important as America’s banks, oil and gas companies, auto manufacturers…

Who Will Want to be a Teacher

…if we continue to blame teachers for the failures of our society?

Many “reformers” claim to love teachers — especially politicians right around election time — yet they blame teachers and public schools for low achievement which is a product of the kind of economic system we’ve built. Teachers are the experts when it comes to education. Experience matters. Preparation matters.

Support the Arts in Public Schools

As cuts continue in public schools things like recess, the arts, and physical education are disappearing as well as science, civics, social studies, health. As the tests become the curriculum more and more essential activities are put on hold or eliminated altogether. Citizens need a well rounded education. Raising educated citizens needs to be a national priority…not test scores.

March 14, 2013: Pi Day

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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