Archives for category: Education Reform

I hope you remember seeing Joshua Katz’s fabulous TED talk, where he lacerated the fake reformers who are assailing hard-working teachers, smothering children with standardized tests, and privatizing public education for fun and profit. Josh is a math teacher in Orange County, Florida.

Great news! Joshua Katz is running for school board in Orange County, Florida. That board is thinking of bringing in TFA. They need a real educator on the board.

The nonpartisan election is August 26.

This is his Facebook website.

Give as generously as you can. I will when he has a donations page not on Facebook.

I have urged him on Twitter to start a website for donations that is not on Facebook, since I do not go on FB.

I wrote this about his TED talk:

“He shows how our present “toxic culture of education” is hurting kids, stigmatizing them as early as third grade by high-stakes standardized testing, while the vendors get rich.

“He connects the dots: the testing corporations get rich while our children suffer. He names names: Pearson, McGraw-Hill, ALEC, and more.

“The high-stakes tests demoralize many children, label them as worthless, demand “rigor,” while ignoring the children before us, their needs and their potential. As he says, we are judging a fish by whether he can climb a tree and labeling him a failure for his inability to do so. We ignore the development of non-cognitive skills, of character and integrity, as we emphasize test scores over all else. By trying to stuff all children into the same standardized mold, we are hurting them, hurting our society, and benefiting only the for-profit corporations that have become what he calls “the super-villains” of education.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education regularly publishes laudatory articles about the Common Core standards. Paul Horton wrote a letter to the editor. Here it is:

 

http://chronicle.com/blogs/letters/common-core-standards-are-the-tip-of-a-corporate-iceberg/

 

Common Core Standards Are the Tip of a Corporate Iceberg

 

To the Editor:

 

In response to recent several columns that embrace the Common Core Standards as a way to prepare students for college (“Use the Common Core. Use It Widely. Use It Well,” The Chronicle, June 10), I beg to differ.

 

There are several reasons why I am concerned about the Common Core Standards, along with virtually all teachers and professors I know:

 

1. They are the product of a push by private foundations acting in the interest of multinational corporations to colonize public education in the United States and in other areas projected be developed as core production and assembly areas in the emerging global economy. A recent Washington Post article using a well-placed source within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation essentially confirmed what many critics have suspected: that Bill Gates effectively controls the Department of Education in the United States through his former employees who serve in leadership positions within the Department of Education. Our education secretary also does a lot of listening to Michael Barber of Pearson Education. Although Mr. Gates and Sir Michael, as well as other reformers, are doubtless well intentioned, they view the colonization of K-12 education in this country and elsewhere as a “win-win.” In their view, the quality of education will improve with greater accountability, and they will make billions creating and delivering accountability for students, teachers, and education schools. To implement their plan, they are willing to jettison all ideas of collective responsibility for public education in a classic privatization pincer move: Chicago School of Economics ideas of “free choice” and “free markets” are used to legitimate privatization through virtual control of the editorial boards of major papers—the Murdoch chain, the Tribune chain, The Washington Post (now run by a neoliberal libertarian), and The New York Times—as well as center-liberal media like PBS and NPR. Money is funneled into NPR and PBS by organizations that support privatizing school reform in the name of “support for education programing.” A Gates-funded Washington consulting firm, GMMB, works 24/7 to sell the Common Core Standards and all other elements of the Race to the Top mandates that call for more charter schools, a standardized-testing regime, and value-added assessments of teachers based on this testing regime. Likewise representatives of the Washington-based Fordham Institute work together with GMMB to send weekly talking points to major editorial boards and education reporters to ensure that representatives from an “independent foundation” are relentlessly quoted. Not surprisingly, the Fordham Institute is hardly independent, and is heavily subsidized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, and the Broad Foundation, and many more funders of privatizing education. While GMMB attempts to control the discourse in the country’s major media outlets (Arne Duncan’s past press secretary is helping to coordinate this propaganda campaign within GMMB), McKinsey sells Microsoft and Pearson packages to fit the Race to the Top mandates. The Los Angeles Independent Schools boondoggle that packed Pearson Common Core Curriculum lessons within Microsoft tablets and software is the wave of the future. Districts are sold packages that they cannot afford to comply with federal mandates that are pushed by private multinational corporations. What I am attempting to describe is the tip of a corporate iceberg that amounts to corporate control of education policy with very little participation of classroom teachers, parents, or school boards. The idea that the Common Core Standards are the product of a democratic process is simply misrepresentation of fact—a big lie that GMMB, our education secretary, Bill Gates, Pearson Education, and the Fordham Institute propagate. What many rightfully be called corporate-education reform has bypassed the democratic process. For this reason alone, university faculty and administrators should not support the Common Core Curriculum and the Race to the Top.

 

2. As a teacher at a school that prepares students for colleges and universities, I know that the Common Core Standards will not be the best preparation for the next level. I have taught in large public high schools and at one of the best independent schools in the country. I have seen education from many different angles. I was a teacher in Texas in 1985 when the standardized testing regime that we now associate with Race to the Top and the Common Core Standards was first instituted. This regime failed in Texas and it has failed everywhere it has been tried. Whatever one may think of the Common Core Standards on paper, because they are tied to a standardized testing regime, they will fail. The literature on this issue is voluminous, but our current educational-policy makers simply ignore it. Teaching to standardized tests narrows the curriculum and results in teaching to the test. Administrators will encourage drill-and-kill exercises to increase test scores and will be forced to allocate precious resources and time to preparing for standardized tests. Here in Chicago, principals are letting go of essential school staff—counselors, librarians, art teachers, and others—to pay for tutoring and the computers that will be used to assess students. As a graduate student at the University of Texas in the mid 1980s, I taught a section in a remedial reading and writing program for freshmen who did not read and write at a college entry level. We made our courses as interesting as possible by assigning the nonfiction of Larry McMurtry and Robert Graves. But what I discovered when I talked to my students was that kids did not write enough in high school for two interrelated reasons: Their classes were huge, and they were assessed by multiple-choice tests because their teachers had difficulty grading class sets of 35-40 papers as a portion of five class loads of 165-180 students. Consider that the assessments administered to measure the Common Core Standards will be either multiple-choice questions or algorithm-scored short essays that require regurgitation. To adequately prepare students for college, they need to be challenged with books and documents, contextual understanding and textual understanding. The Common Core Standards emphasize the textual understanding of documents and the diminution of creative writing and contextual analysis beyond a given document or passage. While intratextual analysis certainly has its place in any classroom, the Common Core comes close to reinstituting the dragon that many professors in the humanities have worked hard to slay—“the New Criticism.” The Common Core Standards and assessments seek to bring the dead dragon back to life! Most of the Humanities professors I know here at the University of Chicago and elsewhere think this is laughable. The reaction typically is, “this is stunningly ignorant, but I want to write, not refight these ridiculous battles.” The Common Core Standards seek to teach literacy, but in doing so, they neglect developing essential tools of critical and contextual analysis that are predictive of college success, the development of the ability to produce a complex essay or research paper (a paper that goes beyond what an algorithm can assess), and the development of ideas about social or civic responsibility that run counter to the core value of neoliberalism: “get what you can for yourself, nothing else matters.” This notion simply does not jibe with what I am hearing when I am visiting colleges with my rising high school senior son where the emphasis is all about service. What I have heard at every college visit is that admissions officers have determined that standardized testing does not predict college success. The challenges that a student takes on and is able to overcome and the rigor of the courses that a student takes are much better predictors of college readiness. Because the Common Core Standards, curricula, and assessments focus on literacy, multiple choice tests, and essays that regurgitate key words, they do not adequately prepare students by developing analytical abilities every college professor I know wants to see. The Common Core Standards prepare students in areas that experience issues with literacy for work at the community-college level. Applying this one set of standards to all American students represents a national policy error of catastrophic proportions.

 

3. The Common Core Standards must be viewed as a part of a larger effort to de-skill teacher K-20 teaching. Many within the professoriate are very skeptical about MOOCs. Believe it or not, MOOCs, the Common Core Standards, and Race to the Top are a part of the same floating ice-block. I just spoke to a friend of mine who is a professor at Columbia. He tells me that the professoriate is splitting between the one percent—typically, law, medical, and business professors who make money outside of the academy—and the lowly humanities professors who don’t bring in the big value-added bucks. But the number of non-tenure-track and non-benefitted professors has grown exponentially during the last twenty years. As state legislatures begin to demand value added measure for university professors and the new federal plan to encourage “reform” in higher education kicks off, the professoriate is beginning to hear the same sorts of messages that K-12 teachers have heard for twenty years. When the chancellors of major universities begin to send messages embracing the Common Core Standards like those recently published in The Chronicle, my guess is that the same foundations that are pushing for K-12 reforms are beginning to push for undergraduate education reforms. The Gates Foundation has sponsored a lot of research and dozens of named professorships, and when the Gates Foundation wants a heavily funded university on board with Common Core, it can make itself heard very easily. After all, the Gates Foundation seems to have a great deal to say about who is admitted to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences recently. While the big foundations that have the potential to add a great deal of value to major public and private institutions put the word out that some grants might not be granted to institutions that do not support the Common Core and state and federal pushes for college and university reform, they sooth our system chancellors with the siren song of plenty of money for research in exchange for public support of the whole program that will ultimately reduce the cost of labor on campus. Once courses are MOOC-ed and the rights sold, courses can be traded, bought and sold on markets. Once the scripted Common Core lessons are mandated, taught, and assessed, the value of teaching declines as teachers become as interchangeable and as cheap as computer tablets. Whatever can be digitalized, can be cheapened. University faculties, graduate students, and teachers need to understand that they must stand together because administrative and union leadership is already bought or is presently under a great deal of pressure.

 

That The Chronicle could publish so many articles in support of the Common Core Standards and about the “IT Takeover” of higher education should serve as a wake-up call. The one percent in academe, those who are closely tied to foundations, think tanks, politicos, insurance companies, and multi-national corporations, are ready to sell the rest of you out. Next the professoriate will see attempts to standardize and digitalize your teaching and assessments. Then, when your digitalized evaluations fluctuate with the abilities of the students you teach, your wages will be garnished. College and university educators will no longer be permitted to scare students out of classes with impossibly demanding syllabai; they will be asked to put up and shut up as their workload increases and as your salaries and benefits (pensions anyone?) decline. The Common Core Standards as a part of the Race to the Top do for K-12 education what a new round of reforms propose to do for higher education. The reformers seek to reduce the costs of teaching to create a profit margin for potential investors and markets for big education vendors. This is the brave new world that all K-20 educators face. We must learn to stand together.

 

Paul Horton
History Instructor
University High School
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
Chicago

This just in from a member of NEA from Massachusetts who is at the Denver convention. She hopes that Lily Eskelsen, the new president, will be a champion and fighter for kids, teachers, and public schools. Is she THE ONE? Will she stand up to the phony “reformers”? Will she fight for democratic control of the schools? Will she tell the plutocrats to use their billions to alleviate poverty instead of taking control of the schools?

I think Lily has it in her. Until proven wrong, I am placing bets that she will stand up fearlessly for what is right, that she will tell Arne Duncan to scram, that she will tell the billionaires to get another hobby.

Here is the message from one of her members:

My comment is awaiting moderation on Lily’s Blackboard.

Here it is.

Lily, thank you for posting this opportunity for substantive engagement on the Gates question.

I’m an activist NEA member in Massachusetts, in a low income district heavily engaged with the policies Bill and Melinda have imposed through their legislative interference and advocacy lobbying, with the compliance of the outgoing Massachusetts Teachers Association leadership.

MTA and NEA compliance directly aided in the imposition of Gates-backed corporate domination in my Commonwealth’s public schools, in my school, in my actual classroom, and over the actual living students I teach.

The (false) distinction you make between Gates’ imposed “standards” and the accountability measures he demands for them will allow the NEA to continue to take his money, and I’ll admit that almost chokes rank-and-file teachers who live and work under his heel. I am going to argue that you to can make a decision of your own, when you take office, to give that money back to him.

First, I’d like to offer congratulations on your succession to the presidency of NEA. The Representative assembly that voted you in brought with it a new activism and determination, and voted in resolutions which break sharply with the previous administration, of which you were a part. We look to you with great hope, holding our breath against it for fear of disappointment.

The Common Core standards can’t “stand on their own merit”. They were backwards-engineered to warp the teaching of language and literature into assessment readiness, with its own novel testing vocabulary. strung together with the bogus Moodle diagram you inserted in this page. The aligned WIDA tests that are now being imposed on ELL students, from the earliest grades, will steal the short and precious window of their childhood. People are tweeting me that those children can’t wait while you do your homework and find that out.

We’re fighting right now for schools in New Bedford and Holyoke that are already being taken over. They were full of living children, just a few weeks ago when we left them. What will we find in August?

We’re asking you to become the courageous and powerful leader of an engaged and mobilized union. I know you saw and felt the hall rise to its feet behind these initiatives. That felt different and deeper than the hearty applause for your victory, did it not?

Bring us to our feet: give back the Gates money.

The website I linked for you is an Education Week column describing the actual effects of the Gates Foundation’s profit-centered philanthropy model in the third world. It’s the responsibility of Americans to become aware of it, when we take money from American corporate philanthropies and allow them to pursue their profits internationally under the subsidy of our tax code.

Why Arne Duncan needs to listen to Bill and Melinda | Li…
I do not hate the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I know it might seem strange to have to make that statement, but such are the times we live in.
View on lilysblackboard.org
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The following statement by three Louisiana teachers was distributed by Mary K. Bellisario of the Louisiana Coalition for Public Education.

From: Mary K. Bellisario, Coalition for Louisiana Public Education

Re: Real teachers’ concerns with Common Core in the classroom

Attached is an unsolicited letter I received from three Louisiana classroom teachers describing their concerns with the Common Core standards.

They have requested that I share this letter with the media to get out concerns that classroom teachers are having with the Common Core standards.

Unlike organized groups such as “Stand for Children,” they do not have national backing and funding to run ads in newspapers or hire lobbyists. Theirs is the daily experience teachers are having trying to implement standards which didn’t have input from professional educators. (Please note: This can be verified by checking the list of 60 individuals who created the standards as listed on the CCSS website. There was not one K-12 educator or specialist among them. There were, however, several individuals who worked for the same corporations which market the curriculum, testing and evaluations connected with the adoption of the standards.)

The Letter from the 3 Louisiana classroom teachers runs just over 300 words. They selected their own headline.

For verification purposes prior to running their joint letter, the three teachers from the Sulphur, LA, area schools are:
Marla Baldwin, Calcasieu Parish 337-304-0882
Deanna Russell, Beauregard Parish 337-274-3499
Leslie Truax, Calcasieu Parish 337-912-0085

Thank you for sharing their letter in an attempt to provide balanced coverage on this controversial topic.

On behalf of the three teachers listed above,
Mary K. Bellisario
Coalition for Louisiana Public Education
______________________________

Common Chaos

By now we have all heard the claims that Common Core “State” Standards (CCSS) purport to achieve for our children. Advocates of CCSS have been quick to insult the opposition, accusing them of being conspiracy theorists, tea party affiliates, extremists, religious zealots, ineffective and irresponsible teachers, or political game players. But what if no evidence supports any of these accusations?

Teachers and parents have valid concerns with CCSS. We understand the connection of standards with standardized tests and curriculum. As teachers have been implementing these standards over the past two years, numerous concerns have surfaced. Educational leaders respond, “Stay the course,” with no modifications allowed. Their only remedy is more training and resources, neither of which addresses the actual concerns.

The recurring local and national concerns experienced with CCSS are:

· Developmentally inappropriate standards K-2nd grades
· Students unable to master the standards according to the proscribed pacing
· Little time for mastery of basic math facts, with over-emphasis on visual math strategies
· Too light on basic phonics, with over-emphasis on whole language
· Parents alienated from helping children with their homework
· Students exhibiting unnecessary, unhealthy levels of stress and frustration.

As professional educators we request:

· Developmentally-appropriate high standards

· Implementation of researched, tested and proven educational practices

· A balanced approach to instruction (more phonics and basic math facts)

· Math strategies and critical thinking skills to supplement, not replace, instruction

· Flexibility to individualize instruction for individual students, and challenge students within a healthy stress zone

· Acceptance of students’ uniqueness, rather than attempted standardization

· More autonomy in developing lessons

· The use of data to guide, not define, us

Our educational future is too important to blindly accept controversial, experimental education reform. Our children do not deserve to be treated as guinea pigs. If CCSS were as effective as claimed, why are they the center of national debate?

As professional educators, it would be irresponsible to NOT bring our concerns to public attention.

Teachers: Marla Baldwin, Calcasieu Parish
Deanna Russell, Beauregard Parish
Leslie Truax, Calcasieu Parish

Arthur Camins, Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ., points put that drug makers are not allowed to make unsubstantiated claims. They are required to gather evidence and to disclose possible negative side effects. They can make boasts, offer up dubious facts, and get away with it. They speak about the individuals’ “right to choose” without acknowledging the harm to the community’s public institutions.

In a thoughtful article, Camins says that the debate about school reform has been obscured by “the fog of war,” a public relations blitz that appeals to individualism and self-interest, replacing evidence and any sense of the common good.

He writes:

“One weapon in the arsenal of opponents of current policies has been to point out the absence of evidentiary support. In fact, there is no system inside the U.S. or around the world that has made substantial systemic progress through charter schools, merit pay or test-driven accountability. Resistance is growing, but so far this line of attack has not built enough widespread public understanding to deter policy makers. Maybe that is because the supporters of these policies have effectively obscured their real goals and values.”

He concludes::

“Stories of dysfunctional, conflict-plagued, private agenda-driven local school boards abound. There are countless examples school boards making uniformed decisions that do not serve the interests of children. However, privatization and shrinking of public participation in decision-making is not an antidote to ineffective, uninformed democracy. Public knowledge and clear-eyed evidence are. History is replete with evidence that the side effect of disenfranchisement in the name of improvement is benefits to the few and disaster for the many. Arguments that restricting democracy will benefit everyone have always been the coins of autocrats and self-appointed experts driven by blind faith or ideology and narrow self-interest.

“The drive to privatize educational governance, especially with respect to expansion of charter schools, has two unstated goals. One is to open up the vast education market to individuals looking for a new profitable place to invest their capital. Another is more cynical. Some people have given up hope for systemic improvement. Instead, they are willing to settle for a system that only provides an opportunity for those they deem to be the deserving and capable few among the unfortunate many. Hence, the negative disruptive side effects of school closings in poor communities are the price that the many will pay to save the lucky few.

“Let’s report the evidence and side effects so the public can decide: Which side are you on? Are you willing to give up your right to democratic participation and risk the future of your child or your neighbor’s to privilege the lucky few? Are you ready to give up on the common good?

“For the sake of clarity, I’ve attempted to present complex issues in binary terms. Assuredly, there are gradations. In reality, ensuring the wellbeing of individuals is inseparable from advancing the common good. The old labor slogan, an injury to one is an injury to all, said it simply, but well. Put another way, my personal gain is diminished or even negated when it comes at the expense of another.

“We need an educational system based on these values. I think, when asked, the public may agree.”

Some people in Connecticut want to keep Jon Pelto off the ballot. That is not democratic. Let the people decide.

Governor Malloy has NOT been a faithful friend to teachers. He has been a faithful friend to charters and plutocrats. Let them vote for him.

Pelto has been a faithful friend to public schools, to teachers, and to kids. Let him run.

Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant doesn’t think it is right to limit democratic choices at the ballot box.

He writes:

“Malloy, in the meantime, wants to erase signs of his ardent romance with state plutocrats — including his plan to have the state’s working people hand over more than $100 million in incentives to one of the nation’s largest and most prosperous hedge funds, Bridgewater Associates, to move a few miles from Westport to Stamford. The deal fell apart last week when Bridgewater opted to stay in tony Westport.

“A defiant Malloy declared that he will continue to fight to bring jobs to the state. The Bridgewater jobs, however, are already here. The governor’s scheme required taxpayers to foot the bill for a new waterfront office with a helipad. Luckily, Malloy’s misbegotten deal failed, but it’s not likely to discourage him from handing hundreds of millions of public dollars to his stable of the favored rich.

“The most unambiguous moment of the campaign so far came in these pages a week ago when left-wing lobbyist and Malloy ally Betty Gallo denounced the efforts of former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto, D-Mansfield, to petition his way onto the ballot for governor. She urged readers to join her in not signing his petitions.

“Those petitions include Pelto’s running mate, Ebony Murphy of Hartford. I don’t know what Gallo’s beef is with Murphy, an African American Stamford native, teacher and daughter of a Teamster. I know that if a Republican tried to limit candidates’ access to the ballot there would be a Democratic outcry. It doesn’t seem much different when it’s a Democrat.

Kevin Rennie is a lawyer and a former Republican state legislator. He can be reached at kfrennie@yahoo.com.”

I signed the petition to support Gus Morales, who was unjustly fired a few weeks after he was elected as head of the union in his school in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Gus spoke out vigorously against high-stakes testing and privatization. He opposed the posting of student scores on a public “data wall,” which he thought was humiliating. Let’s help Gus get at least 3,000 signatures, then aim for 5,000.

 

Here is the message I received after I signed:

 

Thank you for signing my petition, Teachers’ Voices Must Be Heard – Support Gus Morales.

As of now, the petition has received 2325 signatures! To really make a difference, we need a lot more people to join in. Can you share this petition with all your friends?

Click here to share it on Facebook:

Share on Facebook

Then, forward the email below to everyone you know.

Thanks!

—Erin DuFresne
Here’s a sample message to send to your friends:

———————————————————————————-
Hi,

Gus Morales was a highly rated teacher for two years. Then on February 3 he spoke out to the School Committee about data walls, many of which listed students by name along with their scores on standardized tests and many of which were posted in areas accessible to the public (illegal under FERPA). After speaking out at the School Committee meetings, Gus was observed and given his first problematic evaluation. These observations and negative evaluations escalated after Gus was elected president of his local.

Gus grew up in Holyoke and graduated from Holyoke High School. He is a veteran, bilingual, and a teacher who has the support of students and parents. He is one of the few Puerto Rican teachers in Holyoke even though the student body is over 75 percent Hispanic. Gus is a male role model for many students. In May, Gus was elected president of the Holyoke Teachers Association with overwhelming support from his fellow teachers.

Gus is being non-renewed because he is a leader in the union and a leader in speaking out in support of students and the schools they deserve.

That’s why I signed a petition to Holyoke School Committee, which says:

“To the Holyoke School Committee:

We urge you to investigate the non-renewal of the contract of Gus Morales. Gus received strongly positive evaluations until he became a leader in speaking out against illegal posting of student scores on standardized tests. Since then, and especially since he was overwhelmingly elected president of the union local, Gus has been targeted. He was given highly dubious negative evaluations and has now been told his contract will not be renewed. Gus is an asset to Holyoke and should be retained. He should not be punished for speaking up for students and the schools they deserve.

Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/teachers-voices-must-1?source=s.fwd&r_by=9722215

Thanks!

Thomas Jefferson advocated for a system of public education. He proposed “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.”

Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes; And whereas it is generally true that that people will be happiest whose laws are best, and are best administered, and that laws will be wisely formed, and honestly administered, in proportion as those who form and administer them are wise and honest; whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those person, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or other accidental condition or circumstance; but the indigence of the greater number disabling them from so educating, at their own expence, those of their children whom nature hath fitly formed and disposed to become useful instruments for the public, it is better that such should be sought for and educated at the common expence of all, than that the happiness of all should be confided to the weak or wicked:…

Note that one of the chief functions of education was to arm the populace with knowledge to protect themselves against the potential tyranny of the powerful. Note also that he recognized that most parents would not be able to afford to educate, and that education “should be sought for an educated at the common expense of all…”

Jefferson had his limitations. He was a slave owner. He did not advocate for the education of black children. But he understood that education is a fundamental institution in a society that hopes to be democratic and that it must be public education, paid for by all.

Reader Lloyd Lofthouse submitted this comment:

“The U.S. public schools are part of the infrastructure of the country. They are as vital—if not more so—than the highways, bridges, waterways, airports, electric grid, water and gas lines, etc.—-infrastructure built mostly by hard working Americans and not by billionaires, who often take credit for what they never sweated or toiled to build.

“Regardless of the cherry picked misinformation and lies of the greedy, power hungry fake education reformers and the fools who believe this swill, history and facts prove that the public schools were the foundation and are still the foundation, the first steps in life of almost every citizen, that made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet, the country that helped tip the balance in World War I and win World War II.

“And those public schools have improved steadily for more than a century as they evolved along with the country into a super power.

“In fact, the only way the fake education reforms could make the public schools appear to be failures was to pass unjust, impossible laws that demanded the schools be successful with 100% of the children—something no other country on the planet in recorded history and into the future has ever or will ever achieve. To make sure the new private sector Charter schools would look successful, they created a double standard where only the public schools were transparent and had to achieve the impossible. The new charters hide behind an opaque wall and are not held to the same impossible standards, but even then the failure and fraud of these new Charters is so obvious that they can’t hide the truth and it is coming out—-the word is spreading. In time, there won’t be enough fools left in the country believing the fake education reformers for them to continue their charade.”

Mary G. of Connecticut offers the following insight into the charter mutual support network. Jennifer Alexander of ConnCAN was quoted in this post extolling the superior performance of charters as compared to public schools. In this post, Jennifer Alexander said that the scandal surrounding Jumoke and FUSE should provide an opportunity to discuss not only accountability and transparency but funding and flexibility.

 

Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN wrote a letter of support for the Booker T. Washington/FUSE charter school in which she said that one of the 2 key factors in her support was that the Booker T. Washington charter school was collaborating “with a proven high-quality provider, FUSE… FUSE has a track record of success.”
Alexander forgot to mention that ConnCAN has a track record of success in receiving grant money, not least from the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck (Subway sandwich vendors) Foundation ($500K commitment in the past and promised for the next two years)–this Buck foundation provided $100K (approximately) for the writing of the Booker T. charter school application, and it also promised $250K to Jumoke; in addition, this Subway foundation gave $360K to the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, whose director, William W. Ginsberg, also wrote a letter of support for the Booker T. application; not to mention the millions the Buck/Subway group has donated to Achievement First, the charter management organization co-founded by CT commissioner of ed. Stefan Pryor and Dacia Toll, wife of Jeffrey Klaus–he, too wrote a letter of support for the Booker T./FUSE charter. In Hartford, a new Achievement First High School opened in 2012–with a pipeline of students directly from Jumoke.
Here’s the PCL Buck most recent tax filing; see pages 108-117 for most of these donations, plus myriad others to TFA and Northeast Charter Schools, etc., etc.: http://www.pclbfoundation.org/docs/2012-990PF-PCLB.pdf
Starting on page 273 you can read the letters of recommendation
http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1099724-booker-t-washington-academy-charter-school.html

 

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