"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

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Medley #10

American Teacher (Film), Daniels and Bennett, Evaluate Teachers like Doctors, President Obama's Speech to Students, NCLB Waivers, Duncan's Position on Education and Poverty

A film on education that gets it right



More from the film American Teacher:

AMERICAN TEACHER: Meet Jamie

AMERICAN TEACHER: Meet Rhena

AMERICAN TEACHER: Meet Erik

AMERICAN TEACHER: Meet Jonathan

~~~

Dan Carpenter: True to their schools
"Only in America," said Ed Eiler, superintendent of Lafayette Schools, "could teachers agree to go to work with the most challenging kids, spend 35 years, retire if they're lucky on a pension of $22,000 and be viewed as greedy, while hedge fund managers are 'concerned about the plight of children.' "
~~~

Why Evaluate Teachers and Doctors Differently?
If even the best doctors are not expected to overcome the "underlying health status" of their patients, then why are teachers expected to overcome the underlying conditions in the lives of their students? To put the matter differently, doctors are not seen as miracle workers, but teachers somehow are. Why is that so?
~~~

The problem with Obama’s speech to students
It all begs the question of whether Obama actually knows how his education policies are playing out in schools across the country. One school district, for example, tested out on K-12 students 52 new standardized tests last spring in an effort to set up a new assessment system that would evaluate teachers in every subject on the scores, music and art and yearbook included...If Obama does know how his policies are being implemented, why does he give the impression that he doesn’t? If he doesn’t know, why not?
~~~

Obama’s NCLB waivers: Do flaws outweigh benefits?
There are no indications that the administration intends to turn away from schooling that serves tests and test makers more than children. The pests will be very hard to put back into the box, and Duncan’s waivers help that not at all.
~~~

Arne Duncan's position on education and poverty
We are all committed to improving teaching, but the best teaching in the world will have little impact when there is high poverty, when children are under-nourished, in poor health, and have little or nothing to read.
~~~

~~~

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stop the Coercion: The Waivers are Simply Necessary

I just posted a communication from the Indiana State Teachers Association on my local association's web site.

The communication applauds the move by President Obama to allow waivers for No Child Left Behind restrictions and asks the State of Indiana Department of Education to accept the waivers for the good of Indiana's schools.

One sentence in the article is very important, though. It reads:
It's important to know that this package, while an important interim step for relief, cannot address all of the problems that remain with NCLB.
It turns out that Obama's "interim" relief effort may cause more problems than it solves proving once again that Education Secretary Duncan and President Obama are no friends of public education.

The waivers for No Child Left Behind require states to agree to some of the more onerous aspects of Race to the Top.

Kevin Welner, professor of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says that the Obama administration is right to provide the waivers because...
The ratcheting up of AYP proficiency thresholds and accompanying sanctions had gotten to the ridiculous stage, as anyone paying attention in 2001 could have predicted. The administration is right in offering waivers from those sanctions.
On the other hand, Welner says that the administration is wrong to use the coercion of Race to the Top conditions for the waivers.
The coercion should be removed and the waivers should be granted simply because they’re necessary.
He reminds us that the provisions of the policy being offered in exchange for waivers are not research based.
The administration has repeated stated the importance of research-based policies. But there is little or no high-quality research to support the policies that states must now adopt because the administration has apparently decided that those policies are the most indispensible changes that can be made for America’s schools.
Monty Neill, the deputy director of FairTest goes even further. he calls on states to flat out reject the administration's "bad deal."
The waivers require states to adopt “student growth” measures and make them a “significant factor” in teacher and principal evaluation. This will push states to adopt statistical techniques that evidence shows are grossly inaccurate for distinguishing strong teachers from weaker ones. It will put even more focus on boosting test scores instead of ensuring the all-around education of the whole child.
He also says
  • States will be required to implement tougher tests which will probably be more multiple choice and short answer. This he says, will further narrow the curriculum.
  • Districts will be required to produce assessments for subjects not currently tested by their states adding even more tests.
  • Growth measures will have to be implemented possibly requiring testing twice a year.
Lest anyone claim that this is just complaining without positive suggestions, Neill says that, instead, what needs to be done is the following:
What Congress should do is pass a new law, in line with the recommendations of the Forum on Educational Accountability, that:
  • significantly reduces the amount of mandated testing;
  • helps states design fundamentally different assessment systems;
  • focuses on evidence-based school improvement efforts; and
  • provides the resources needed so that every child has a strong and equitable opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and dispositions to be an effective, engaged citizen.
The waivers being offered by the administration are just another way to implement Race to the Top. It requires increased testing, which has not been shown to improve instruction, and in fact have hurt schools and students by narrowing the curriculum and pushing out other subjects like the arts and physical education. It will increase the pressure to evaluate schools, administrators and teachers using test scores, another unproven plan which will demonize teachers, blame schools for the social conditions of their students and do nothing to increase higher level thinking and learning.

NEA, and by extension ISTA shouldn't buy into this...not even as an interim step to getting rid of NCLB. It's bad for teachers. It's bad for students. It's bad for public education.

For more, read http://fairtest.org/administration-offers-bad-“waiver”-plan-congress-f

Monday, September 26, 2011

Newbery committee member Sam Bloom gets a write-up! Part 2

Another write up for Sam!!

Check it out here...Five Questions With Sam Bloom

CLICK HERE for all the articles in this blog about the Newbery Award.

Sometimes internet stories disappear, so I added the page from Cincinnati.com to my own files. You can read a pdf of the article HERE.

And something else HERE....


Friday, September 23, 2011

Why Are SAT Scores So Low?

The news is out. SAT scores for reading are the lowest they have ever been. The College Board claims that the drop in average scores (3 points in reading, 2 points in writing and 1 point in math) is due to the increased diversity in students taking the test.
...about 27 percent of the nearly 1.65 million test-takers last year came from a home where English was not the only language, up from 19 percent a decade ago.

But Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a nonprofit group critical of much standardized testing, said the declines were an indictment of the nation’s increasing emphasis on high-stakes testing programs and of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law that has driven it.
So the College Board says it's increased diversity, but FairTest says it's the fault of NCLB.

Former Education Secretary William Bennett, on the other hand, claims that it's the fault of the teachers unions and bad teachers. He reports on Steven Brill's new book "Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools."
...lamenting obvious long-standing barriers to educational improvement such as the "last in, first out" policy that requires teachers to be laid off based purely on seniority rather than performance...

...fossilized teacher union contracts, lax or nonexistent teacher evaluations, and unmovable wages and benefits have straitjacketed any hope of real reform. The solution, Brill says, is to overhaul the public school education system in order to motivate and inspire better teachers. Rewriting union contracts and paying teachers based on performance, not seniority, are among the first steps Brill advises.
Again it's the bad teachers...3.5 million teachers in the United States and there are so many bad ones that the SAT scores have gone down. How is that possible? The PDK-Gallup Poll on the condition of education found that most Americans (71%) "have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools." Most people who have children in schools are satisfied with the quality of the school their oldest child attends...79% of Americans who have children in public schools gave the school their oldest child attends an A or a B. These are the members of the public who know the schools best...and only 4% gave them a grade of D or F.

So, I ask Secretary Bennett, where are all these bad teachers? I'd also suggest he check out the research showing that using test scores to evaluate teachers doesn't work as well as the research showing that paying teachers based on test scores is inaccurate.

Here's something which the corporate "reformers" don't like to talk about. The higher the family income, the better the children do on SAT tests. Take a look at this...


As family income increases so do test scores. Beginning at a annual family income of $20,000 and progressing in $20,000 increments, the fact is that the more money a child's family makes the better they do on the SAT. This is true for most standardized tests.

It's clear to me, as Robert Schaeffer said above, that NCLB has not improved education in this country. NCLB was, and is, a plan to crush the public schools and privatize education. There's no real interest in improving learning.

In fact, Schaeffer and FairTest let us know that,
"...many colleges have recognized the folly of fixating on the narrow, often inaccurate, information provided by standardized tests and moved toward test-optional admissions.” According to a free web database maintained by FairTest (http:www.fairtest.org/university/optional), more than 860 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions make admissions decisions about all or many applicants without regard to SAT or ACT scores. The list includes 35 of the nation’s 100 top-ranked liberal arts colleges.
Maybe the SAT and other standardized tests are just not that important.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tell Senators to Vote No on H.R. 2218

From Schools Matter

Sign the petition against H.R. 2218 - Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act


Make a difference.
Dear Senators:

The recent passage of H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents Through the Quality Charter Schools Act by the House of Representatives is equally troubling. The nation’s teachers are not alone in their condemnation of this potential federal mandate to implement Charter Schools in every state.

The Association of School Administrators has also raised concerns that H.R.2218 will harm the commitment to properly fund public schools by siphoning money through the voucher system to private charter schools falsely labeled as “Public Charters”.

While some effective charter schools exist, significant fraud and abuse of the public trust has occurred across the nation among charter schools and their operators. We are witnessing a re-segregating of our nation’s schools in the areas of:

1. Race
2. Class
3. Ability
4. Sexual Orientation
5. Language

We are equally concerned that the interest of corporations and wealthy individuals has corrupted education policy in a way which will irreparably change the focus of education from one of success, learning, and accomplishment for children; to one designed merely for profit by corporations.

We the undersigned feel that a unique opportunity exists for you to reaffirm your commitment to education for all of America's children by VOTING NO – against H.R. 2218.

Your NAY VOTE will be a clear signal that you are not taking the side of corporate money and Wall Street hedge funders. It will be a firm gesture that indicates your genuine concern for the nation's children, teachers and schools.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Take From the Needy...Give to the Greedy

Stephen Krashen hits hard with facts again...this time reporting on comments by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

In his Schools Matter blog entry, Krashen says that the Federal government is going at things backwards...instead of improved education ending poverty, it's the other way around.
The US Department of Education says that with better teaching, we will have more learning (higher test scores, according to the feds), and this will improve the economy.

But the research says it is the other way around and agrees with Martin Luther King's position: "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.” (Martin Luther King, 1967, Final Words of Advice).
Senator Sanders reminds us that the United States leads the industrialized world in overall poverty rate and child poverty rate. Add that to the fact that the top 1 percent of Americans earn more than the bottom 50% and you have a recipe for an economic disaster for public education that won't be improved simply by better trained teachers, opening more charter schools, or moving money from public schools to private schools using vouchers.

Krashen, as usual, is armed with facts from research...
Research tells that there is no correlation between improved test scores and subsequent economic progress, that high unemployment in an area results in decreased school performance of children, even those whose parents are still employed, and it also tells us what we already should know: High poverty means poor diets, inadequate health care, and little access to books and all of these conditions are related to school performance.

The best teaching in the world will have little impact when there is high poverty, when children are under-nourished, in poor health, and have little or nothing to read.
The Federal government, through the US Department of Education is investing money in new tests...more tests...instead of dealing with the issue of poverty directly.
We know from a number of studies that increasing testing does not increase learning; it does, however, increase profits for publishers and test producers. It will increase the already huge gap between the rich and poor by feeding tax money directly to those who need it the least, that top 1% that earn more than the bottom 50% that Sen. Sanders talks about. In other words, it is a policy that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy.
You can read and watch Senator Sanders' presentation, Is Poverty a Death Sentence, here.

Read about child poverty at the website of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Report on Child Poverty from the OECD

Report on US Child Poverty from the OECD

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 Medley #9:

Poverty, iPads, Honoring Teachers, Standardized Tests, SAT, Common Core Standards

Public education's biggest problem gets worse
*22 percent of American children live in poverty
*39 percent of black children live in poverty
*35 percent of Hispanic children live in poverty
~~~

What the iPad (and other technology) can’t replace in education
We’re focused so much on the device that we’re ignoring what’s on it...We need to stop pretending that technology can fix problems that aren’t technological in nature. Kids are bored. They don’t know why they’re learning what they’re learning. The solution isn’t asking the question better. The solution is asking a better question.
~~~

In Honor of Teachers
...how do we expect to entice the best and brightest to become teachers when we keep tearing the profession down? We take the people who so desperately want to make a difference that they enter a field where they know that they’ll be overworked and underpaid, and we scapegoat them as the cause of a societywide failure.
~~~

Why More Standardized Tests Won’t Improve Education (with references)
The scholarly consensus that documents the limits of standardized testing is quite clear. For example, a comprehensive, nine-year study of testing and evaluation commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences recently concluded that: “available evidence does not give strong support for the use of test-based incentives to improve education.”

A second National Academy report questions the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, noting that such scores “have not yet been adequately studied for the purposes of evaluating teachers and principals,” and “face substantial practical barriers to being successfully deployed in a personnel system that is fair, reliable, and valid.”
~~~

What the decline in SAT scores really means
At some point, all of the evidence will start to convince policy-makers that the punitive test-driven reforms won’t improve academic achievement, especially among the growing numbers of first-generation students and English language-learners.

We can only hope that it will be soon, before more damage is heaped on the harm already done to public education.
~~~

Jeffrey N. Golub: Common Core Standards Leave Teachers Out of the Equation
Common Core Standards...are not 'well-grounded,'...because the authors of the standards have failed to factor in some crucial elements or aspects of instruction. This failure of foresight and insight will surely cause the standards to 'sink' - to become ineffective, inappropriate, and intolerable. The biggest problem with this 'sinking' that is sure to happen is that the students, teachers, and indeed, whole school systems that will labor under these burdensome 'goals and expectations' will sink right along with them.

Teachers do not have a problem with accountability. They are responsible for making learning happen for their students, after all, so they welcome authentic assessments of the progress that they, and their students, have made. But they do object, and rightly so, to a situation in which they are being held accountable for a curriculum over which they have no control.

Arne Duncan's Two Faces

Diane Ravitch wrote about a visit to a cocktail party she attended where Arne Duncan was the guest of honor. Her description needs no further comment. This is from her Bridging Differences blog.
I accepted an invitation to a cocktail party at a private home where the guest of honor was Secretary Duncan. The setting was beyond splendid, in a gorgeous home overlooking the valley. Secretary Duncan introduced a man who had led a campaign to build playgrounds, in fact, had created some 2,000 playgrounds. When introducing his friend, Secretary Duncan said that there was nothing more important for young children than having time for unstructured play, time to tinker, time to make things with their hands. He was wonderful. Knowing how much the U.S. Department of Education has promoted high-stakes testing, I was puzzled. My puzzlement turned to bewilderment a few days later when the Department of Education announced that the next round of Race to the Top would require the testing of 4- and 5-year-old children. Wait, I wondered, what about time for unstructured play, tinkering, etc.?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Corporate Plan or Lack of Social Responsibility?

A Letter to Arne and Bill

Dr. Jim Taylor is a member of the Department of Psychology faculty at the University of San Francisco.

He wrote Education: Arne and Bill’s Misguided Adventure: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan and Bill Gates on his blog on August 1, 2011.
I really don’t understand you two, the U.S. Secretary of Education and the world’s second richest man and noted philanthropist. How can you possibly say that public education can be reformed without eliminating poverty?
Using reason and logic, he explains why poverty is a cause of poor education. He tells Bill Gates,
You can’t get out of poverty without a good education, but you aren’t likely to get a good education without first getting out of poverty...What I also find ironic is that you have devoted billions of dollars to eliminating poverty in other parts of the world, but you aren’t applying the same logic here at home.
Then he discusses the research, which has been discussed hundreds of times before...
Let’s look at the evidence. A recent ten-year study has shown that school vouchers don’t improve academic achievement. Charter schools, over all, don’t outperform traditional public schools. And, despite the urban legend (pun intended) to the contrary, teachers are NOT the most significant influence on children’s educational outcomes. The single greatest predictor of student performance is their early family life, namely, family income, medical care, family composition, family communication, and early learning experiences (about 60% explanatory power).
Why don't the Bill Gates and the Eli Broads of the world listen to that? Why don't politicians like George Bush, Arne Duncan and Barack Obama hear and understand that they are messing with the wrong piece of the puzzle? Schools can be improved...every public school parent and teacher knows that, but the achievment gaps in our public schools won't be eliminated until we, as a nation, agree to eliminate the poverty gap.

Is it because they don't want to hear and listen?

A Superintendent Sees Conspiracy

Jim Arnold, Superintendent of Pelham City Schools in Pelham, Georgia, wrote a piece titled No Child Left Behind: A conspiracy against public education that too few called out which was featured by Maureen Downey on her Get Schooled Blog for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

He reminds us that many of us saw the destruction built into NCLB, but didn't do enough...we didn't speak out loudly enough, didn't fight hard enough...didn't teach well enough.
All of us saw this coming, but very few took a stand and now we – and our students – are paying the price. We could have been prophets but failed the test.
He describes what happened, how we let the proponents of NCLB define the terms, how many of us rationalized the testing insanity, and how we thought we could help improve things by getting a "seat at the table" (like NEA insists on doing). We didn't realize, he says, that the proponents of NCLB didn't want to improve public education at all.
They didn’t want to change the policy, because the policy was designed in theory and in fact not to aid education but to create an image of a failed public school system in order to further the implementation of vouchers and the diversion of public education funds to private schools.
Are the politicians and corporate "reformers" who are slowly but surely dismantling America's Public Education system interested in improving education for all children?
I am not usually a conspiracy theory guy, but this was no theory. These were cold hard facts slapping me in the face. We failed in our obligations to protect our students from one of the most destructive educational policies since “separate but equal.” We did not educate the public on the myth and misdirection of Adequate Yearly Progress, and we allowed closet segregationists to direct the implementation of policies that we knew would result in our being the guys in the black hats responsible for “the failure of public education.”
Do they not care about public education? Do they not care about lessening the achievement gap? If they did why would they continue to ignore the evidence that what they're doing isn't working?

The Real Culprit

Are No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top just two parts of a larger conspiracy to destroy public education in America and replace it with a system of private schools and charter schools run for profit?

Diane Ravitch presents us with these facts:
The last international test results were released in December...low-poverty U.S. schools (where fewer than 10% of the students were poor) had scores that were higher than those of the top nations in the world. In schools where as many as 25% of the students were poor, the scores were equal to those of Finland, Japan and Korea. As the poverty rate of the schools rose, the schools’ performance declined.

An objective observer would conclude that the problem in this society has to do with our shamefully high rates of child poverty, the highest in the developed world. At least 20% of U.S. children live in poverty. Among black children, the poverty rate is 35%.
So, you tell me...is it the public schools, the failure of our nation to deal with the social issue of poverty, or a corporate plan to scuttle our nation's school system?

Watch The Disparity Gap from April, 2008. What's been done in the last three and a half years to improve the poverty level in the US?

~~~

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Lifetime of Elementary Schools -- Part 4

Part 4 in a self-indulgent virtual trip reminiscing about my years of teaching elementary school...

Beginning in the fall of 1976 -- and for the next 11 years -- I taught at Monroeville Elementary School in Monroeville, Indiana. I taught third grade for 7 years, my first, full time teaching experience -- then first grade for three years -- and finally third grade for another year. The first grade that I taught was a first grade-transition. The students did not succeed in kindergarten and were going to repeat first grade. The class I taught was the first year of first grade for them.


Mr. Wil Ogle, the principal, helped me find my way my first few years. He was patient when I held my class too long and the buses left before I got the students out the door. He accompanied me to Newark to a conference on writing. He gave me evaluations with constructive criticism and good suggestions.

It was at Monroeville that I learned the basics of how to teach and developed my style of teaching which emphasized reading.

Challenging students: Students who have difficulty need to be challenged, but providing materials at too difficult a level is a waste of time. A child reading at a first grade level should not be forced to work at grade level material which is too hard. This was reinforced when I did my reading recovery training and learned about Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. A student needs to be taught at a level that is just beyond what s/he can do alone...that's where learning occurs. One size does not fit all.

Evaluations: Different teachers have different strengths and weaknesses. It's easy to look at what's going on in a classroom and make a judgment about it. "That teacher is bad..." or "That teacher is good..." A good principal (or other evaluator) can look beyond a personality and see the entire class, identify the strengths a teacher has and help her build on those. If there are areas of weakness a teacher needs to work on them to improve, not be labeled as ineffective and derided. Not everyone teaches the same way...nor should they. Teachers need to use their own strengths. One size does not fit all -- and that goes for teachers as well as students.

During one parent/teacher conference I remember a parent began discussing another teacher in the building. He spoke about how "bad" she was as a teacher. I asked for specifics and the response was "I can just tell...she's no good."

Years later, when I was teaching at Woodburn Elementary (which will be "A Lifetime of Elementary Schools - Part 5") I began to understand what went into teacher evaluations. The principal at Woodburn made comments on my evaluation, with specific information about what I did, pro and con. He included suggestions for improvement, specific to the comments he had made. It was an evaluation done with care and attention to detail.

Evaluations don't need test scores to be valuable. An evaluator who is well trained, and gives suggestions, comments, criticism and corrections honestly will provide a good evaluation. I received almost 20 evaluations over the course of my career. The ones which were the most valuable had specific discussion of things which the principal saw in my classroom. Those were the evaluations which helped me develop into a better teacher. Those were the evaluations which encouraged me to continue to learn and grow as a teacher.

Teachers: As a beginning teacher the exposure I got to other teachers was valuable. I remember...

...the male kindergarten teacher who reinforced my belief that men need to be at all levels of elementary education.

...the first grade teacher who was "old school." I was watching my students "bounce" down the hall on their way to the gym. They weren't noisy, just bouncy, like 8 and 9 year old are supposed to be. She told me that they weren't walking in a "line." I said that when I couldn't "enjoy watching my students being children I was going to retire." I think that was the first time I realized that I didn't want to teach longer than my effectiveness lasted. Once I lost the spark I was going to be finished.

Students: I also learned about differences in students...

...S, a student in my first third-grade class, was responsible for getting himself and his first grade brother off to school every day. His parents worked at a factory and worked the third shift. They were asleep when the boys woke up every day. Two years later I had J, his brother.

...One of my third grade students, L, was the last of 12 children in her family and the only girl.

...Another third grader, after I caught her cheating on a spelling test, told me that she didn't have time to study. "You just don't understand how busy I am!" she said.

Advocacy: I think my proudest moment at Monroeville came during a case conference for a special education student. He was placed in my class (first grade-transition) because at that time there were no special education classes in the district which would have been appropriate for him. During the case conference, the director of special education indicated to the parents that my class was the best place for her child. I interrupted and said that it was "the best place we have available" for him.

After the meeting, the director of special education scolded me and told me that what I said "could get us sued" and that I needed to be an advocate for our school system. I responded that perhaps, if we didn't have an appropriate placement for the child, we deserve to be sued and that I was an advocate, not for the school system, but for my students.

That was the first significant conflict which I had with an administrator...and not the last.

Lasting Contributions: I'm also proud of the experiences I provided for my students. Often, years after I had them, when former students would meet me, or write to me, they let me know that I had influenced them in some way or another. Most of them wrote about my obsession with Reading Aloud. But one was different.

I got a letter from, R, a former third grader 20 years after I had left Monroeville. He wrote to me to thank me for the time we had made Father's Day cards. He told me that his father had recently died and the Father's Day card I helped him make and send as a 9 year old, was the last communication he ever had with his father. At the time he sent the letter he was in inmate at Indiana's maximum security prison serving a life sentence for murder.

Not everything that counts can be tested by filling in a bubble on a standardized test.

~~~

Monroeville Elementary School closed after the 2010-2011 school year in a cost cutting, building closing plan which the school board implemented. See...Closing Schools.

~~~

Quote for the day: Children Are Not Shoes
"[The Chamber of Commerce] says the public school system, the country’s most important civic institution, should be run like a business, a philosophy championed by some of the most high-profile school reformers today.

"The effort to do so -- now being supported by the Chamber of Commerce, some of the country’s biggest philanthropists, and the Obama administration -- is weakening the public schools and, ultimately, will make it harder to build a dedicated cadre of effective teachers and improve the achievement rates of minorities." -- Valerie Strauss in The Chamber of Commerce's flawed 'Superman' school reform guide.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Follow the Money: Indiana's Tony Bennett

Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, Tony Bennett, and his boss, governor Mitch Daniels, have received campaign money from corporate school reform businesses, including those who are set to take over the "so called failing schools" in Indianapolis and Gary.

Doug Martin, in Murdoch’s Wireless Gen. and Edison Learning Donated Money to Tony Bennett, lists the contributors to Bennett's (and Daniel's) campaign funds.
As the Indiana State Board of Education decides to hand over Indiana’s so-called “failing” schools to EdisonLearning, Charter Schools USA, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation today, it is important to note that both Edison and Wireless Generation have donated to Education Reform Idol Indiana supt. of public instruction Tony Bennett’s campaign chest. In fact, Wireless Gen. even lavished money on Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republicans, the month before Murdoch acquired the company.
The list of donors includes corporate reform companies like Edison and Charter Schools USA, as well as standardized test giant, McGraw-Hill, Education Services of America (who has a contract with my former employer, East Allen County Schools), and various charter and school choice advocates.

Simply following the money will help to explain why Bennett and Daniels are so eager to give away Indiana's Public Schools.

See also, Follow the Money--Bennett and Campaign Money at the Indiana Citizens for Public Education blog.