"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

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Medley #11

Yet Another Committee About Education with no Teachers, Bill Gates, Miracle Schools, Assess Corporate America, Poverty, Preserving Public Education, Do Teachers Do Too Much? 

Who is missing from this lineup to evaluate Race to the Top?
By Valerie Strauss
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just convened a group of prominent people in the education world to take a comprehensive look at the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative and its impact on school reform around the country...
Educators -- teachers, principals -- are missing from the group. Strauss asks...
But why ask them anything about school reform? What could people who work with kids every day know about what works and what doesn’t in reforming schools?
Nothing New about Teaching from Bill Gates
by Walt Gardner
One of the perks of being a billionaire is that anything you submit to a newspaper is definitely going to be published. No one has been more successful in this respect than Bill Gates opining about education. His latest essay, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal, was nothing more than a rehash of what others have proposed as a way of improving educational quality ("Grading the Teachers," Oct. 22). Yet Gates believes that he has broken new ground.
If You Believe in Miracles, Don't Read This
by Diane Ravitch
Yes, poor kids can learn and excel. But whether or not children are poor, education is a slow, incremental process. While it is true that a student may have a remarkable change in attitude and motivation and demonstrate large test-score gains in a short period of time, it is rare indeed when an entire school or district experiences a dramatic increase in test scores. Any huge change in scores for a school or a district in a short period of time ought to provoke skepticism and a demand for evidence, not a willing suspension of disbelief.
Teachers Want Corporate America Assessed
by Judy Rabin
The message was loud and clear -- it is time for educators to turn the table on the corporations and politicians and begin evaluating, measuring and assessing their performance. Here are some well-known statistics: 25 million people are out of work or underemployed, 50 million people have no access to health insurance and one in five children in the U.S. is living in poverty and four of every ten black children living in poverty. Everyone but the wealthy are corporate America's collateral damage
Why school reform can’t ignore poverty’s toll
by Valerie Strauss
The bottom line is that pushing school reforms that are obsessed with standardized test scores and do nothing to address the emotional, physical and social needs of needy children are bound to fail.
Why public education must be preserved
We owe it to future generations to preserve the ideals which have served our nation since its beginning. Our public schools have produced presidents, statesmen, scientists, sports and entertainment figures. We can’t let outside forces result in public education becoming a system of haves and have-nots. We must make sure that we remember what our Founding Fathers saw: that public education is essential to our country’s common good.
Do Teachers Do Too Much?
As soon as the phrase “for the students” or something similar to it gets tossed around, many teachers instantly bend...“You need to understand that your entire schedule has been rearranged because it’s what’s best for the students. Yes, I understand you’re now teaching three different subjects in six different rooms, but like I just said, it’s what’s best for students. End of discussion.”

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