"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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Medley #10

Education and Poverty, School Libraries, Fox Bashes Teachers, Parent Power, Duncan, "Opportunity Culture," Common Core.

I'd like to again urge everyone to take a look at Linda Darling-Hammond's article (and the links) about Education and the income gap.

This is (IMHO) one of the most important pieces I've ever entered on these pages. Linda Darling-Hammond reports on the Capitol Hill briefing on the impact of poverty on education and what we can do about it which was sponsored jointly by the Broader Bolder Approach to Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.


D.C. cutting school librarians
No "payoff" so D.C. cuts "investment" in school libraries

There's a fundamental difference between the way "reformers" look at public schools and the way supporters do. The bottom line for "reformers" is the score on the test. That attitude has seeped into all aspects of public schools...including school libraries. Stephen Krashen has taught us how important libraries are to students, especially students in poverty. Facts don't matter, though...it's test scores that count.
We have invested in full-time librarians for the last three or four years and we haven't seen the kind of payoff we'd like” with reading test scores, Henderson countered, adding she is not disparaging librarians. "We have pulled away from programs where we haven't received a return on our investment.
Yes, that's right. The "return on the investment" is not students developing a life-long love of reading and literature, not an increased interest in books, not the opportunity to explore new ideas and interests. The "return on the investment" is the test scores.


"Stupid in America"? Fox's contribution to National Teacher Appreciation Week
...John Stossel, courtesy of Fox, gave us teachers a little token of his appreciation last night.

The "report"...was titled "Stupid in America." Who was he calling stupid? You might assume he was referring to the people who would accept at face value his incredibly one-sided presentation, no questions asked. But no, he wasn't calling his viewers stupid--at least not to their faces. He was calling me stupid...along with my roughly 20,000 colleagues here in Miami-Dade County, and 3.6 million colleagues across the country.

Just to make sure his viewers didn't miss his point, he wrapped up his "report," by chirping that, if students stop being bored in school and start learning math, "it will be thanks to those online classes. Or the charter schools. Or other experiments that break out of the union-dominated government monopoly."

550 Parents Opt Out in Snohomish, Washington

Parents are the key.
More than 550 Snohomish School District students did not take state exams in the past two weeks, a revolt staged by parents who question whether the tests are worth the money. The parents also hoped to get the attention of state lawmakers.

The ironies of Teacher Appreciation Week

The real irony is that the largest teachers union in the country has, for all practical purposes, signed on to Obama/Duncan's plan to destroy public education. Yes, the Romney plan is worse (if that's possible), but an endorsement for president should be worth more than simply a "seat at the table."
One of the official events on Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s schedule this week, as he goes around honoring teachers, is to appear at Teach for America’s second annual gala. Of course he did; the Education Department has showered millions of dollars on the organization in the last few years, and last September, Duncan said at an event with Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel: “I don’t think anyone in the country has done more over the past 15 to 20 years than Wendy Kopp to identify the talents and characteristics that lead to great teaching.”

That was news to many teachers and education researchers in this field.

Opportunity Knocks
Here's a new one for the ol' Reformy Thesaurus: the "Opportunity Culture" in education.

Sure sounds good, doesn't it? Who doesn't want our American kids to have more opportunities in life? Except--oops--this campaign, rolled out by Public Impact, is actually about opportunities for "teacherpreneurs" to make more money by teaching oversized classes--and of course, for school districts to seize that same opportunity to save money through "innovative" staffing models.

The Common Core

Finally, Anthony Cody has been exploring the Common Core (READ: more testing). This is excellent information and I'm sure there will be more to come.


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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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