Archives for category: Class size

Mike Klonsky writes a post with one of the best titled ever.

He tries to figure out why reformers don’t care about class size. They say there’s no evidence for smaller classes. Well, there is plenty of evidence, but they brush it aside.

It turns they don’t care about evidence. They are not data-driven. They want to take your funding and your schools. They want to save money, but not to spend it on smaller classes.

Phil McRae is a Canadian educator and scholar who is currently the Executive Staff Director of the Alberta Teachers Federation. He writes here about the research about blended learning. “Blended learning” is one of those words that is bandied about with great frequency, often claimed by its promoters as the wave of the future. McRae critically examines those claims.

 

He writes:

 

Students blending the use of technology with face-to-face instruction as a means of collaborating and extending their learning experiences is not unusual, revolutionary or foreign to the average Canadian classroom. As a concept, blended learning is now almost two decades old, having been imported into K–12 education in the late 1990s from corporate education, business training firms and the post-secondary education sector. Although the precise origin is unclear, it has been suggested that an Atlanta-based computer training business coined the term in 1999 (Friesen 2012), as it announced the release of a new generation of online courses for adults that were to be blended with live instruction.

 

Many blended learning practices already fit well with a vast array of hybrid face-to-face and digital experiences that students encounter in K–12 schools, including distributed learning, distance learning, or e-learning. Dr. Norm Friesen, a key academic in this area, suggests that blended learning “designates the range of possibilities presented by combining Internet and digital media with established classroom forms that require the physical co-presence of teacher and students” (Friesen 2012). As this broad definition illustrates, it would be difficult to find any use of technology in education that does not easily fit into this boundary….

 

The current hype around blended learning models, especially in the United States, is that they bring to life personalized learning for each and every child. Personalized learning, as promoted under a new canopy of blended learning, is neither a pedagogic theory nor a coherent set of learning approaches, regardless of the proposed models. In fact, personalized learning is an idea struggling for an identity (McRae 2014, 2010). A description of personalization that’s tightly linked to technology-mediated individualization “anywhere, anytime” is premised on archaic ideas of teaching machines imagined early in the 20th century (McRae 2013).

 

Some blended learning rhetoric suggests that personalization is to be achieved through individualized self-paced computer programs (known as adaptive learning systems), combined with small-group instruction for students who have the most pressing academic needs. For those looking to specifically advance blended learning in times of severe economic constraints, a certificated teacher is optional.

 

Software companies selling their adaptive learning products boldly state that the “best personalized learning programs will give students millions of potential pathways to follow through curricula and end up with the desired result — true comprehension” (Green 2013). This is part of the myth of blended learning and is marketed using superficial math and reading software programs (adaptive learning systems) that make dubious claims of driving up scores on high-stakes tests. Corporate attempts to “standardize personalization” in this way are both ironic and absurd….

 

In the mythical space of blended learning, class sizes apparently no longer matter and new staffing patterns begin to emerge. The amount of time students spend in schools becomes irrelevant as brick-and-mortar structures fade away. However, this myth disregards the overwhelming parental desire and societal expectation that children and youth will gather together to learn in highly relational settings with knowledgeable and mindful professionals (teachers) who understand both the art and science of learning. As John F. Kennedy (1962) so eloquently stated: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”

 

The U.S. Department of Education (2013) has clearly articulated a commitment to making blended learning come to life through nebulous ideas of competency-based systems and personalized learning.

 

These adaptive learning systems (the new teaching machines) do not build more resilient, creative, entrepreneurial or empathetic citizens through their individualized, standardized, linear and mechanical software algorithms. On the contrary, they diminish the many opportunities for human relationships to flourish, which is a hallmark of high-quality learning environments….

 

As school jurisdictions across the U.S. turn to online learning and blended models as a way to reallocate resources, the private providers are also advocating for “eradicating rules that restrict class size and student-teacher ratios” (Horn and Staker 2011, 13). To achieve this means lifting the rules around teacher certification so that schools can replace teachers at will with para-professionals or noncertificated individual learning specialists. As Christensen and Horn (2008) suggest, “Computer-based learning on a large scale is also less expensive than the current labor intensive system and could solve the financial dilemmas facing public schools” (13). ….
Technologies should be employed to help students become empowered citizens rather than passive consumers. Innovations are needed in education that will help to create a society where people can flourish within culturally rich, informed, democratic, digitally connected and diverse communities. We should not descend into a culture of individualism through technology where our students are fragmented by continuous partial attention.

 

For the vast majority of students within Alberta’s K–12 public education system, we must achieve a more nuanced balance that combines both digital technologies and the physical presence of a caring, knowledgeable and pedagogically thoughtful teacher. This is not an optional “nice to have,” but a “must have” if children and youth are to build resilience for the future. Blended learning may be (re)shaped by privatization myths, with adaptive learning systems as their voice, but in Alberta, our teachers still remain the quintessence of the human enterprise of paying it forward for our next generation. It is time for Alberta teachers to claim the space of blended learning and push back at the myths and questionable rhetoric.

Vicki Cobb, author of many nonfiction books for children, attended the Skinny Awards last night. The dinner is an annual fundraiser for Class Size Matters, Néw York’s most dynamic advocacy group for children, parents, teachers, and public schools. It operates on a shoestring but has had national impact through the efforts of its leader, Leonie Haimson, to support class size reduction, to fight high-stakes testing, and to defend student privacy from corporate data mining.

The Skinny Awards are a direct contrast to billionaire Eli Broad’s “Broad Award,” given to the urban district or charter chain that has most vigorously implemented corporate reform. The Skinny Awards go to those who fight for high-quality public education for all and who oppose the corporate assault on public schools.

Vicki decided, as she watched and listened, that she was observing the birth of a movement for civil disobedience. Not called into being by billionaires or the powerful, but led by grassroots parents, teachers, and principals.

She writes:

“The havoc wrought by corporate group-think on education can well cost us a generation of thinkers and doers and risk takers. Our children can’t be written off as the cost of doing business.

“This has awakened a sleeping giant in the population. Opt-out is political. It is democratic. The people are rising up against oppression. It is the only way to make politicians and the billionaires funding this disruption to take notice. If they don’t, watch; there will be further unrest.

“I am honored and energized to add my voice to the opt-out movement fighting for the minds of our children and the future of America.”

Brian Jones, a former teacher in the New York City public schools, is currently a doctoral student at the City University of New York. He here explains a conundrum: Many black parents think that choice and standardized tests are good for their children, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. How should he reason with those who disagree? He focuses here on the issue of standardized testing, which compels schools–especially those serving poor and minority students–to divert time and resources to testing and test preparation, thus leaving less time for the arts and other subjects that are essential ingredients of a good education. In his experience, it is best not to argue with parents who have been persuaded by the “reformer” claims, but to listen respectfully and to “deepen the conversation,” a term he learned from Chicago teacher Xian Barrett.

 

Jones writes:

 

Likewise, when we deepen the conversation about standardized testing, we usually discover that parents and educators want similar things for our children. If standardized tests are widely and loudly touted as an antiracist measure of opportunity and fairness, some parents who are desperately searching for some measure of fairness for their children might latch onto that. Those of us who are opposed to high-stakes standardized testing shouldn’t moralize with people, or disparage their viewpoints or their experience. Rather, we have to validate their experience and find a way to deepen the conversation.

 

In my mind, we can find a lot of common ground on resources and curriculum. Of course, I think teacher training is important. It is absolutely essential that teachers be trained to respect the languages, cultures, and viewpoints of students and their families—and engage them in the learning process. But this should never lead us away from demanding the kind of educational redistribution that this country refuses to take seriously. My experience as a student has convinced me that resources are central. On scholarship, I attended an all-boys’ private high school. As one of the few students of color (let alone black students), did I experience racism and prejudice? Absolutely. However, there are aspects of my education that I wouldn’t trade for anything—the opportunity to read whole novels and discuss them in small classes, the opportunity to participate in several sports teams, to put on plays, to engage in organized debates, and to practice giving speeches. If, for my own child, I had to choose between an amazingly well-resourced school with a fabulously rich curriculum staffed with some prejudiced teachers, on the one hand, and a resource-starved school with progressive, antiracist educators who were forced to teach out of test-prep workbooks on the other, I hate to say it, but I would choose the resources every time.

 

Our society is currently spending untold sums to create more tests, more data systems, more test preparation materials, ad nauseam. And then they have the audacity to tell us that these are antiracist measures! Of course, all this focus on testing is a huge market opportunity for the private companies that provide all these services and materials. What is never under serious consideration is the idea that we could take all those same millions of dollars and create for all children the kind of cozy, relaxed, child-centered teaching and learning conditions that wealthy kids already enjoy.

It is hard to laugh about Governor Cuomo’s nonsensical proposal to demoralize teachers and destabilize public schools. He wants to change teacher evaluation so that 50% of their rating is based on their students’ test scores (he doesn’t realize that most teachers don’t teach reading and math in elementary schools); he wants 35% of their evaluation to be based on the drive-by evaluation of an independent person who doesn’t work in the school; and he wants the judgment of the principal, who sees the teachers regularly, to count for only 15%. He wants more charter schools and vouchers (he calls them “tax credits”) even though neither produces better results than public schools. It makes no sense but he won’t release funds due to public schools unless the Legislature passes his harmful proposals.

 

Cynthia Wachtell, a scholar at Yeshiva University, is a public school parent. She has written a hilarious analysis of Governor Cuomo’s plan. Among his other ill-informed ideas is a proposal to close down the schools whose test scores place them in the bottom 5% so their students don’t have to go to failing schools anymore. She gently offers a math lesson. Sorry, Governor, there will always be a 5%.

 

Therein lies the math problem. If a “school is designated as ‘falling’ if it’s in the bottom 5% of schools across the state,” then, by definition, Cuomo’s goal of “no longer … condemning our children to failing schools” is impossible. The children in the bottom 5% of NYS schools will always be in ‘failing’ schools. Math will be math. And that’s just how percentages work.

 

She tells Governor Cuomo what his state’s public schools and students really need:

 

Clearly we need to improve the education received by all of “our” children. And unlike the Governor, I actually have two children in NYS public schools. The way to help my sons and other NYS students is to reduce class size; shift away from high stakes testing; offer a well-rounded curriculum rich in the sciences, technology, physical education, and the arts; and evaluate teachers in a way that takes into consideration the unique challenges of each of their classrooms. I once sat as a parent visitor in a classroom of thirty-plus sixth graders working through an ELA test prep workbook. And, sorry Andrew, it did not make me happy.

The Network for Public Education has endorsed Bennett Kayser for re-election to the Los Angeles school board. Kayser is a retired educator. He is a strong supporter of public education. He has fought for reduced class sizes. He opposes efforts to deny due process to teachers. He opposes privatization of public education.

He is enemy number one to the California Charter Schools Association Advocates, the political action arm of the wealthy charter industry.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the charter lobby has far outspent Kayser in its effort to defeat him with a pro-charter candidate.

The charter association has distributed malicious flyers falsely implying that Kayser is a racist and anti-Latino. The flyers feature a picture of Governor Jerry Brown, falsely implying that the popular governor endorsed their candidate (he did not). Their TV ads have ridiculed Kayser’s disability (he has Parkinson’s). The anti-Kayser campaign has been scurrilous and shameful.

The LA Times says:

“Through Wednesday’s campaign filings, the charter group had spent $699,688 to support [its candidate] Rodriguez. UTLA had spent $384,109 for Kayser. Those totals far surpass donations directly to the candidates as well as the spending totals for the other contested board races.

“Since September, the donors to the charter PAC include Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings ($1.5 million), former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ($450,000), Jim Walton of the Wal-Mart founding family ($250,000) and local philanthropist Eli Broad ($155,000). All are longtime charter school backers with a broad interest in education.”

These billionaires have a specific interest in education: they want to replace public schools with charter schools, and in the case of Walton, with vouchers. They also believe in disruption as a strategy for change. Disruption is not good for children or education.

Billionaire Reed Hastings told the charter association that he looks forward to the day when local school boards are gone and almost all schools are charters.

Bennett Kayser wants to improve the public schools, not replace or destroy them. Every high-performing nation in the world has a public school system, not a system of privately managed schools.

That is why the Network for Public Education endorses Bennett Kayser for re-election to the Los Angeles school board.

There has been much discussion on the blog about the “Coffee Cup” ad sponsored by the political action arm of the California Charter Schools Association. (See here and here.)

 

Here is the ad. 

 

Kayser is accused of being anti-public school, when in fact he has been a strong supporter of public schools and public school teachers. He is a strong critic of charters. That is why the CCSAA is spending big bucks to defeat him. He has voted to reduce class size, increase teacher pay, and restore programs lost to budget cuts.

 

The broken coffee cup, Kayser and his allies believe, is a subtle reference to his hands shaking because of Parkinson’s. Why else would he drop his coffee cup? If that was the intention of the ad, it is reprehensible. If it was not, CCSA has some explaining to do.

 

 

The Network for Public Education has released its statement on the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The statement weighs in on testing: If we have to choose between annual testing and grade span testing, we prefer the latter; but our first choice, which is not on the table, is to eliminate the federal role in testing and accountability. We believe that this role belongs to the states, not the federal government. We also believe that the original purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (now called NCLB) should be restored: its was passed to promote equity for the nation’s poorest children. Testing does not create equity, and it is not the proper sphere of the federal government.

 

In addition to our recommendations about testing, we strongly support class size reduction; protection or the privacy of students from intrusive federal data collection; and assurance that federal funds are used to supplement, not supplant, local and state spending. We oppose the use of this law to expand federal funding for charter schools, which promote segregation and do not enroll students with the highest needs. We support greater accountability by the federal government and the states for the appropriate use of federal funds to provide equitable resources for the poorest and neediest students.

 

Here is our statement:

 

Summary of Network for Public Education’s comments on ESEA draft bill:

 

We support option 1 to eliminate mandated annual testing, and we urge the Senate to remove high stakes attached to standardized tests, encourage flexibility in designing assessments, and provide the right of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.
Restore reducing class size as option that states and districts can use with their Title II funds, which is a research-based reform that also works to lower teacher attrition.
Eliminate the use of federal funds for merit pay, which has consistently failed to improve student outcomes.
Add to the reporting requirements of districts, states and the federal government so they must report trends in average class size data, as well as the disparity in class size between high and low poverty schools.
Strengthen the language around student data privacy and limit federally mandated data collection of individual students.
Oppose the diversion of resources to private and charter schools through portability of Title I funds and expansion of federal funding to charters.
Require maintenance of effort, so that states and districts cannot cut back on their own support for schools while replacing their funding with federal dollars.
We strongly urge the Senate to increase overall funding for Title I, Title II, and Title X for homeless students, especially as more than 50% of the children in our public schools are now officially classified as low income for the first time in at least fifty years.

 

 

More specifically:

 

Title I STATE PLANS:

 

We support the section entitled “Limitations” which prohibits the Secretary of Education from requiring any particular specific standards, assessments, accountability systems, or teacher or principal evaluation systems.

 

We support this section of the bill because states and districts should be allowed to craft their own standards and accountability systems, as long as they are research –based and are responsive to stakeholder and community input – neither of which is true of the currently mandated federal accountability systems and standards.

 

In this section we would like to see the language around student privacy also strengthened:

 

Section 6D removes the ability of the Secretary to “require the collection, publication, or transmission to the Department of individual student data that is not expressly required to be collected under this Act.”

 

This is rather ambiguously phrased, as it could allow for the Secretary to require states and/or districts to collect and publish individual student data as long as they do not transmit such data to the Department.

 

We would like this section to clearly prohibit the Secretary from requiring the collection or publication of ANY individual student data by states or districts, and/or restrict the Secretary from requiring that this data be transmitted to any third parties outside state and local education agencies, including the US Department of Education.

 

 

Testing:

 

We support Option 1 – to require states to give assessments only in the relevant grade spans, and to limit the footprint of the federal government in this way, especially as US children are over-tested. This has led to narrowing of the curriculum, and takes up too much instructional time and resources. As far as we know, there is no high-performing nation in the world that requires annual testing. We regret that there is no option to remove the federal mandates for testing altogether, other than sampling testing such as the NAEP, as this is a function that rightfully belongs to the states and was not part of the original purpose of ESEA. The ESEA was passed in 1965 specifically to supply federal aid to districts and schools that enrolled high proportions of poor children.

 

We would like to add two critical provisions to this section. The US Department of Education should also:

 

Discourage the attachment of high stakes to standardized tests, since high stakes have not only have been shown to be damaging to the quality of education overall but have caused the data to be less reliable as a diagnostic or analytic tool, as a result of Campbell’s Law.
Guarantee that parents have the right to opt their children out of state standardized tests.

 

The federal government should allow states to adopt their own assessments that can be used for diagnosing or improving student performance, not for labeling students, evaluating teachers, or closing schools.

 

Reporting:

 

Under the section that requires states and LEAs to report student achievement data, graduation rates, teacher qualifications, and other important metrics, disaggregated by high and low poverty schools, we would also like states to be required to report on average class sizes by grade, also disaggregated by high and low poverty schools; since class size has been shown to be a significant factor in student success, and yet accurate class size data has been difficult to find. In the Secretary’s annual report to Congress, this should include national class size data, average class size trends per state and per LEA, and disaggregated according to district and school poverty level.

 

Even though disadvantaged students tend to benefit the most from small classes, they often have much higher class sizes than those enrolled in low poverty schools. We would also like the language removed around requiring the reporting of “teacher effectiveness” as there is currently no reliable system to measure this factor.

 

Privacy:

 

In the section entitled (5) Presentation of Data in the reporting section: There is a discussion of states and LEAs including only data in their annual report cards sufficient for statistically reliable information and not revealing personally identifiable student information, which we support.

 

We would like added to “(B) STUDENT PRIVACY.— ‘In carrying this out, student education records shall not be released without written consent consistent with the Family Educational

 

Rights and Privacy Act of 1974’we would like the following words added: “and nothing shall require state or local education departments to collect, amass or share individual or personally identifiable student data with any third parties or officials, not employed directly by their agencies.”

 

Title I portability:

 

We oppose portability of funds which undermines the purpose of the Title I program –which is to support schools with high concentrations of poverty that need additional resources the most. Additionally, portability as defined in this draft would require a new level of federally-mandated bureaucracy and data collection and is a first step towards private school vouchers which we oppose.

 

Title II- High Quality Teachers and Principals:

 

This draft bill omits critical language that currently allows Title II funds to be used to reduce class size. This ommission is highly undesirable, especially as states and districts are currently using more than 30% of these funds for this purpose. Reducing class size should be restored as a spending option for states and districts. Lowering class size is one of the few reforms cited by the Institute of Education Sciences as having been proven to work to improve student learning, yet class sizes have increased in most schools across the country as a result of state and local budget cuts.

 

Small class size is particularly important as it has been shown to significantly narrow the achievement gap for poor and minority students, and yet because of funding inequities, these students are more likely to be subjected to large classes. We also oppose the “transferability” language that would allow states and LEAs to transfer up to 100 percent of the respective funds received under Titles II and IV.

 

As for the Teacher Incentive funds: We oppose the use of any federal funds to “develop, implement, or expand comprehensive performance- based compensation systems for teachers, principals, and other school leaders” as this has been proven over and over again through research and experience to be an ineffective and wasteful use of funds. Merit pay has been tried repeatedly for nearly 100 years and has never been successful. It failed to make a difference in student achievement most recently in Nashville, Chicago and New York City.

 

Title IV- Safe and Healthy Students:

 

We oppose the block granting of Title IV programs, and the elimination of specific targeted funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Promise Neighborhoods, and school counselors, each of which provide important services to students.

 

We also support the Full Service Community School program and urge the preservations of language that enables 21st Century funds to be used for community schools.

 

Title V Charter schools:

 

We oppose the section of the bill that would increase the funding and number of charter schools, and would encourage states to provide funding for facilities commensurate with the funding of public schools.​ Charter schools have been shown to increase segregation, enroll fewer at-risk students including students with disabilities and English language learners, and often feature abusive disciplinary practices and high suspension and expulsion rates. We support the language in the law that would require independent financial audits that are publicly reported, but to add that charter schools should be subject to the same governmental auditing authority that exists for public schools in the same state or locality.

 

The definition of a “high quality” charter school that is eligible for federal or state funding should include not only academic measures but also their overall rates of student enrollment, retention, suspension and expulsion of students in the highest need categories, as cited above, as well as teacher turnover rates.

 

Each state should be required to report annually on charter schools’rates of enrollment of high-needs students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, homeless students, and students who receive free lunch, as well as their overall suspension and expulsion rates, as compared to the public schools in the same district. The reporting of “students with disabilities” should disaggregate mild disabilities (such as speech disabilities) from severe cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities that require a higher level of care and funding. The state also should audit and provide proper oversight for the lotteries and admission practices of charter schools, to ensure that all applicants have the same chance to enroll.

 

Title IX Maintenance of Effort:

 

We oppose the elimination of the maintenance-of-effort requirement that would allow states to use federal funds to displace their own funding and eliminate the requirement that states maintain at least 90 percent of their funding from the previous year.

 

Title X:

 

We support increased rather than reduced levels of funding for homeless students, the numbers of which are a record high in many localities. Instead of $65M for each of FY 2016-2021 –$5 million less than was allocated for fiscal years 2003-2007 — we support an increase in the funding for this purpose to at least $70 million per year.

 

Overall Funding:

 

The authorization levels in this draft bill are inadequate to ensure that disadvantaged students are provided an education that provides them with an equitable chance to learn. Title I and other programs would continue to be frozen at $14.9 billion for the next five years. Other programs in ESEA would also be frozen at current levels. At the same time, the number of poor children has increased dramatically in our public schools. For the first time in at least fifty years, more than 50% of the children attending our public schools come from low income families and are eligible for free and reduced price lunch. Meanwhile, our federal investment in their education is lagging. According to OECD figures, the United States is one of only three developed nations where fewer public dollars are spent on poor children than wealthier children, and where schools serving disadvantaged students have higher student/teacher ratios. Our nation must increase current funding levels for Title I and other targeted education programs to ensure that more federal dollars are provided to our neediest students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leonie Haimson, CEO of Class Size Matters (and a dear friend), is voting YES on Proposition 3 in New York, the “Smart Schools Bond Act.”

 

I am voting no. I expect that the bulk of the money will be used to buy the devices and technology needed for Common Core testing. Leonie and I agree that bond money should not be used to buy devices that have a useful life of 3-4 years.

 

Leonie says that districts will be able to decide how they want to use the money. She believes New York City will use most of the money to build new schools and replace “temporary” trailers.

 

New York City schools, she points out, are badly overcrowded, and this new money would provide an opportunity to increase capacity and reduce class sizes.

 

She writes:

 

Each school district can use the revenue in the following ways:

 

· Purchasing educational technology equipment and facilities, such as interactive whiteboards, computer servers, desktop and laptop computers, tablets and high-speed broadband or wireless internet.
· Constructing and modernizing facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and replacing classroom trailers with permanent instructional space.
· Installing high-tech security features in school buildings.

 

While I and many other education advocates including Diane Ravitch are fervently opposed to using any bond revenue for the purchase of devices like laptops or tablets that have a useful lifetime of only a few years, as the interest on the bond act is repaid over twenty or thirty years, it is clear that districts will have the choice of how to use these funds and have a broad array of options.

 

New York City is due to receive about $780 million if Proposition 3 is approved. The Department of Education’s five year capital plan makes it clear that if the bond act passes, $490 million of city funds previously directed toward technology would now be diverted toward building more schools to alleviate overcrowding for smaller classes, creating 4,900 more seats, and the rest toward creating 2,100 seats for pre-kindergarten.

 

As the analysis in our report Space Crunch makes clear, the city’s school capital plan is badly underfunded as is. Though it will includes less than 40,000 additional seats if the Bond Act is approved – and even fewer if it isn’t – the real need is at least 100,000 seats, given existing overcrowding and projections of increased enrollment over the next five to ten years.

 

So, voters in New York. You can vote “yes,” as Leonie Haimson advises, if you believe that the money will be spent to add new classrooms and reduce class size. Or you can vote no, as I will, if you believe the money will end up paying for iPads, tablets, and other technology that will be obsolete long before the bonds are paid off. If the measure passes, I hope that Leonie is right.

John Thompson reviews Anthony Cody’s néw book THE EDUCATOR AND THE OLIGARCH. The book recapitulates Cody’s five-part debate with the Gates Foundation. Thompson says Cody demolished their spokesmen.

Thompson writes that Cody won the debate, hands down:

“They probably didn’t expect a mere teacher to assemble and concisely present such an overwhelming case against their policies. But, who knows?, perhaps they were completely unaware of the vast body of social science that Cody drew upon, and they blamed the messenger for the education research he brought to the table. The Educator and the Oligarch explains how the failed Gates reforms could create an education dystopia.”

Best of all is Thompson’s summary of Cody’s proposal for how Gates ought to be evaluated.

Example:

“Since Bill Gates, more than any other person, is responsible for the absurd evaluations that are now being imposed on teachers, Cody wonders if Gates’ practice as a philanthropist should be evaluated. If so, what would it look like? Cody makes a strong case that in the tradition of the Danielson and Marzano teacher evaluation frameworks, an abbreviated version of his evaluation would look like the following:

Standard 1: Awareness of the Social Conditions Targeted by Philanthropy

Rating: Below Standard

… Actions and statements by him and his representatives indicate ignorance of the pervasive effects of poverty, and the overwhelming research that indicates the need to address these effects directly.

Recommendation for Professional Growth: We recommend Bill Gates take a year off from his work as a philanthropist, and work as a high school instructor in an urban setting. …

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