"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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 Medley #26

Achievement Gap, Privatization: Charters, Politics: K-12, Politics: Indiana,
Politics: Teacher Stereotypes


ACHIEVEMENT GAP

Why The Academic Achievement Gap Is A Racist Idea

Here's an important discussion on the "achievement gap."

Policy makers are still trying to solve poverty by "reforming" schools. It hasn't worked...and it won't work. Students who are raised in middle and high income families do better in school. Do we change schools to try to overcome student poverty? Of course, but schools can't do it alone. Policy makers must take responsibility for the high levels of poverty in the nation.
At 100-years-young this year, standardized tests have come to literally embody the American doors of opportunity, admitting and barring people from the highest ranked schools, colleges, graduate schools, professions, and jobs. Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies. However, some of the greatest defenders of standardized testing are civil rights leaders, who rely on the testing data in their well-meaning lobbying efforts for greater accountability and resources.



PRIVATIZATION: CHARTERS

NAACP calls for moratorium of charter schools until they stop acting like private schools

Charter schools are private schools.

Applause to the NAACP for calling out charter schools for what they really are – private schools taking public funds and rejecting public oversight.

The purpose of the public school system is to prepare the next generation of citizens. The responsibility for such an undertaking – costs, management, and upkeep – ought to belong to us all...for the benefit of the entire community.

If public schools are struggling to educate our children, then it's our obligation, as a community, to improve those schools...not privatize them.

"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.
On Saturday, the board of directors at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ratified a resolution passed this summer at its national convention calling for a moratorium on charter expansion and strengthening charter oversight.

POLITICS: K-12 IN THE CAMPAIGN

What About The Children? Third Presidential Debate Offers No Insight On Issues Like Education

The most unpleasant political campaign in recent memory continues unabated. The level of discourse has dropped to a pathetic level, with one candidate in particular speaking and acting like a spoiled, bullying, adolescent.

The final (thankfully) debate for the presidential campaign took place last week and, like the two previous meetings between the candidates (as well as all the debates during the primaries), nothing was said about K-12 education in the US.

Is that because the two major parties agree on the corporate privatization of public education?
Public education also got overlooked. It’s remarkable to me that this issue, which touches the lives of just about all Americans, never received a full discussion during three debates. I’m sure many people would like to know more about each candidate’s view on what role the federal government should play in education. After all, 90 percent of American children attend public schools.


Trump plans to do away with public school systems

If you want to know where the two major candidates stand on K-12 public education you have to look on their web sites. It's something that's not generally discussed during interviews, news conferences, and debates.

Trump's education plan follows the Republican party line that public schools are "failing" and "choice" will solve everything. Clinton's plan follows the typical Democratic "support our public schools" and "love our teachers" philosophy (in order to get the endorsement of the two large teachers unions, apparently), but is short on actual, working policy.

Questions about child poverty and the test and punish policies of the last 15 years are missing. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog published a piece with each candidate's answers to a set of questions (Note: Trump didn't answer the questions, just said he favored "choice").
If there was any doubt, Trump surrogate Carl Paladino made it perfectly clear that if his boss [Donald Trump] is elected his goal will be nothing less than the elimination of public education and complete liquidation of the nation's teacher unions.

...Contrast that with Hillary Clinton's likely approach -- continuing Democrats' expansion of privately-run charters, side-by-side with support for traditional public schools with a common-core standards/curriculum and unionized teachers -- and you get a clear picture of the choice available to voters on Nov. 8th. It's not a great choice, but it's a choice.


POLITICS: INDIANA

Indiana super proposes ISTEP replacement; state panel snubs presentation

Glenda Ritz, Indiana's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has been ignored, punished, and abused since the day she took office. Her crime? She's a Democrat in a state with a supermajority of Republicans. The Republican leadership in the legislature has prevented her from doing what she was elected to do and has doubled down on anti-public education legislation. The Republican governor, Mike Pence, has been blatant in his preference for private, parochial, and charter schools. The state Board of Education (whose membership has changed just recently) has also added to the mix by fighting her at every opportunity.

The legislature ordered a committee to oversee the adoption of a new state achievement test to replace the ISTEP for grades 3 through 8. The Governor insisted on assigning his own chair of the committee, bypassing the State Superintendent. The panel, led by members appointed by the Governor and Republican leadership, has prevented Ritz from even presenting her plan for new testing.

The obstruction continues.
Ritz shared the OnTrack proposal with members of the Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test, but she was denied the opportunity to formally present the plan to panel.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz Releases Details of Cost Cutting, Time Saving, Student-Centered Assessment System Proposal
This proposal was shared with members of the Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test prior to today’s meeting along with the results of the Request for Information from assessment vendors regarding the viability of utilizing a new approach to assessment. For the second time, the Superintendent’s request to formally present information to the panel was denied resulting in a sixth meeting of the panel with no substantial decisions made. [emphasis added]
The OnTrack proposal can be viewed HERE.


POLITICS: STEREOTYPES

Donald Trump Jr.: if women can’t handle sexual harassment, they should be “kindergarten teachers”

Stereotypes surrounding teachers are still prevalent, apparently. Donald Trump's son, Jr., has essentially said that teaching Kindergarten is a job that anyone can do because it's so easy. When workplace harassment was brought up in connection with his father's misogynistic behaviors, he unsurprisingly blamed women for being harassed by implying that they ought to just accept it as part of being in "the workforce." If they can't, he said, they should go "teach kindergarten."

I wonder how long Junior would last as a teacher in a kindergarten classroom...
“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce,” Trump said. “Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.”


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