"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reform, Duncan Style...

From Friday's Washington Post

Duncan Does it again...
...the program is also a competition through which states can increase or decrease their odds of winning federal support. For example, states that limit alternative routes to certification for teachers and principals, or cap the number of charter schools, will be at a competitive disadvantage. And states that explicitly prohibit linking data on achievement or student growth to principal and teacher evaluations will be ineligible for reform dollars until they change their laws.
Our Secretary of Education, who, once more it must be noted, has never taught a day in his life, has his facts wrong. The "reforms" he talks about don't work.

1. ...states do not have to have licensed teachers teaching
"...students learn more when their teachers are licensed—a requirement that in most states means they have had formal training in both how and what to teach."
"...teacher preparation and certification are by far the strongest correlates of student achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and language status."
2. ...states can have as many charter schools as they want. Studies have shown that charter schools do not perform better than Public Schools
"Charter schools have been found to be underperforming for over a decade."
"...there is little evidence that charter schools are producing, on average, achievement impacts that differ substantially from those of traditional public schools"
3. ...states can get more money by using merit pay for teachers and principals based on test scores.
"Theory, research, and practice all suggest that carrots (merit pay for teachers, cash rewards for students) and sticks (public shaming, threatening to close down schools that need help) are as ineffective as they are insulting."
"For more than a century, such plans have been implemented, then abandoned, then implemented in a different form, then abandoned again. The idea never seems to work, but proponents of merit pay never seem to learn."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Change the test...

It seems that Rod Paige's Houston Miracle, in which schools falsified scores and pushed out low achieving students has been duplicated in Chicago.

The Houston Miracle-that-wasn't formed the basis of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB is being helped along to a third term by the Obama administration and the new Secretary of Education, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan. It seems that Duncan's Chicago plan is the same as the Houston plan of 8 years ago...cheat.

A business oriented group, the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, has finished a report on the Chicago Public Schools. They found that the "increased scores" on "the tests" for the Chicago Public School system were due to changing the requirements...lowering the standard, so to speak...lowering the passing score on the test. Read it.

Education in Chicago: Chicago Public Schools Have Improved? Baloney!

by Bill Sweetland | Posted 07.06.2009 | Chicago
...The committee's logic is compelling.

The stark conclusion: Nothing that Paul Vallas, Mayor Daley or Arne Duncan did in the last 15 years has had any significant effect on the number of CPS students who can read and write acceptably and do arithmetic, fractions and elementary algebra easily. It's all an illusion.


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No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
Dismantle NCLB!
Sign the petition by clicking HERE.
Nearly 35,000 signatures so far...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Research Roundup

Fairtest has a report about recent research on No Child Left Behind. The current administration, led by President Obama and Ed Secretary Duncan, are continuing the assault on public education begun by President Clinton and pushed by Bush and company.

The only thing is...and we have been saying this for 8 years now...it doesn't work. Here's the research to prove it...
Two recent reports add to the mounting evidence that the federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB) is failing on nearly every level, and another finds serious harm done to students by California’s exit exam. The Civil Rights Project and Bill Mathis analyze NCLB, while Sean Reardon evaluates California.
NCLB is not achieving its goals and may in fact be degrading education. That’s the conclusion of the latest in a series of 13 reports from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA (formerly the Harvard Civil Rights Project). As the report’s foreword put it, “We have bet the future of federal education policy on a theory of accountability that does not work.”
Click here to read it all...pass it around...