"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, August 20, 2012

2012 Medley #16

Michelle Rhee, Testing, Vouchers, Corporate Reform,
A Teaching Career.

MICHELLE RHEE

Michelle Rhee is Shameless

Michelle Rhee taught for two years...and joined the nearly 50% of all educators who get out of the classroom within the first 5 years. She moved from there to administration. She left teaching before she could experience it. She doesn't know enough about being a classroom teacher...

This ad begins with two false premises. First, that American schools were once "the best in the world." Second, that our schools are now failing.
It is disgusting.

It is a lie.

It smears America.

It smears our teachers and our students.

It makes fun of obesity.

Michelle Rhee's Shameless Ad, Again
...This is an insulting stereotype of a gay man.

If StudentsFirst has any wisdom, it would withdraw this ad.

First ever StudentsFirst video that I did not laugh at
It is also unfair to compare our scores to the scores of the other countries since we have 22% of our students in poverty compared to single digits in most of the top countries. In an interesting analysis here we see that if we compare our schools with countries that have similar poverty levels, we would be at the top of the world in every category.

TESTING

PISA: It's Poverty Not Stupid

The link in the article above deserves another mention...American schools with low poverty levels achieve at the highest levels in the world. When are the policy makers going to accept responsibility for the levels of poverty in the United States?
Truthfully, you and I know all too well that Secretary Duncan, who led schools in Chicago, is aware of the relationship between poverty and student achievement, but he doesn't trust us enough to tell us the truth. He is afraid that we will use poverty as an excuse and that we will forget about our disadvantaged students. Ironically, by not acknowledging poverty as a challenge to be overcome, Duncan is forgetting about our disadvantaged students. Duncan needs to deliver the message that all our students deserve not only access to an education, but access to an excellent education. He needs to repeatedly remind us that, when it comes to school improvement, it's poverty not stupid.

A Serious Design Flaw Is Suspected in State Tests

High stakes tests are not designed to evaluate teachers. They are designed to test students' learning. Using tests for other reasons than that for which they were intended is educational malpractice, yet the US Department of Education, in Race to the Top requires that teachers be evaluated on "student progress" -- interpreted by most states as using student test scores to evaluate teachers.
Now, in studies that threaten to shake the foundation of high-stakes test-based accountability, Mr. Stroup and two other researchers said they believe they have found the reason: a glitch embedded in the DNA of the state exams that, as a result of a statistical method used to assemble them, suggests they are virtually useless at measuring the effects of classroom instruction.

Texas Orders Up a New Test to Solve Problems Created by 32 Years of Testing

What better way to repair the damage done by decades of high stakes tests than to use another test.
Texas has been been doing more of the same standardized testing and expecting different results (see Einstein's definition of insanity) for 32 years now, and the children of the Lone Star state are as poor, malnourished, and miseducated as ever. One in four lives in poverty, just as one in four Texans has no health insurance. Poverty rates jumped by 9 percent in the last U. S. Census, while the national average was a 6 percent rise.

VOUCHERS

Louisiana Voucher Program Includes Schools That Teach Creationism, Reject Evolution

The truth behind the Louisiana voucher plan.
The program is the cornerstone of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's bold effort to reform public education in the state. Critics are concerned about funding and fairness -- vouchers would cover the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools, including small, Bible-based church schools. Jindal says the program will spur school competition and expand parental choice.

Several of those religious schools that will be receiving public funds to take in new students from public schools also teach curricula that question the age of the universe, defying scientific evidence and theory and promote religious doctrine that "challenges the lessons central to public school science classrooms," according to the AP.

"What they're going to be getting financed with public money is phony science. They're going to be getting religion instead of science," Barbara Forrest, a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, told AP.

THE "REFORMERS"

Med Reform

Are doctors blamed for their patient's medical conditions? If doctors were treated like teachers...
When professional doctors complain that they are not miracle workers and are unable to overcome all the out of hospital experiences that can shorten someone’s life, the med reformers tell them to stop making excuses. The med reformers are convinced that doctors can overcome every out of hospital experience because they have seen the miraculous results of charter hospitals and their young doctors who trained for just five weeks, but have managed to accomplish an amazing amount of years-added.

Rahm and Other People’s Children

When are the "reformers" going to acknowledge that they would never send their children to the schools they demand for everyone else?
One of the themes of the corporate reform movement is this:

“We know what’s best for other people’s children but it is not what’s best for mine.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children to [the University of Chicago Lab School]. Arne Duncan is a graduate of it.

TEACHING AS A CAREER

On Obama’s call to states to save teachers’ jobs
By Valerie Strauss
In any case, the irony here can’t be overlooked: While Obama is, once again, calling for efforts to save teachers’ jobs (and that’s a good thing), his Education Department has over the past three years put forth policies that have been viewed by many teachers as nothing but an attack on them, including a misguided push to get districts to evaluate teachers by the standardized test scores of their students.

Public Education Being Set on Fire

Why are teachers leaving teaching? Where will teachers for the next generation come from? Why would someone want to become a teacher in this insane educational environment?
Of course I am going to keep battling on to work towards a better world, a place for educational equity…but I have to be honest, I am heavily discouraged right now. When people\current teachers would tell me, “I can’t believe you’re still going to be a teacher,” or when I’d receive e-mails and messages saying, “Do not go into the teaching field,” I never understood. Now I’m seeing why.

For the first time, I am struggling to get out of this idea that I have no chance against these big organizations that are able to keep flourishing and damaging our education system. Public education is being set on fire, and it is so sad how many people are just watching it burn and are absolutely ok with it. This just isn’t fair, it isn’t moral, and it makes me sick. It is not fair how many students of not only today but of our future are going to receive the impact from these constant attacks.
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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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