This is hilarious! The Onion reports that Johnson & Johnson will produce a new baby shampoo called “Nothing But Tears,” guaranteed to make babies cry. This will toughen them up. In Valerie Strauss’s blog, “Nothing But Tears” is Common Core infused and endorsed by Emperor Bill Gates. “Because it’s never too early to grow the hell up! Guaranteed kindergarten ready! Extra grit!”
EduShyster’s guest blogger Patrick Hayes, a fifth-grade teacher from Charleston, South Carolina, asks a simple question: “If you could ask Arne Duncan just one question what would it be?”
Try this one: “what would you get Bill gates for Boss’s Day? The man has everything.”
But he actually has a bunch more questions, which Duncan can answer with pre-packaged non-responsive answers.
Like: why do you push states to adopt value-added measurement, when your own department shows it has a failure rate of 36%?
Or, why do you promote merit pay, when it has failed everywhere?
Or, why do you keep bragging about Tennessee and D.C. when the other 11 states “using the same playbook… had below-average, flat, or negative growth?”
Lots more good questions to ask Arne, but Patrick does give us the answer to his first question:
“So Arne…whaddya’ get Bill Gates for Boss’s Day? Maybe you could ask your chief of staff and deputy secretary.
They used to work for him.”
Patrick, by the way, is the Director of EdFirstSC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group working to empower people who care about public schools. If you live in South Carolina or care about it, join EdFirstSC.
Arne Duncan recently announced his plan to put the “best” teachers in low-performing schools. These would of course be the teachers whose students get the highest scores, and most of them teach in affluent suburbs or schools for the gifted. Unfortunately, Arne has not figured out that the “best scores” and the biggest gains reflect the student population and family income.
Peter Greene has a series of scenarios for Arne.
He writes, to begin:
“This aspect of school reform has been lurking around the edges for some time– the notion that once we find the super-duper teachers, we could somehow shuffle everybody around and put the supery-duperest in front of the neediest students. But though reformsters have occasionally floated the idea, the feds have been reluctant to really push it.
“Now that the current administration has decided to bring that federal hammer down on this issue, you’re probably wondering what they have in mind for insuring that the best teachers will be put in front of the students who have the greatest need. I’m here to tell you what some of the techniques will be.
“Before Anything Else, Mild Brain Damage Required
“Any program like this requires the involved parties to believe that teachers are basically interchangeable cogs in a huge machine. We will have to assume that a teacher who is a great teacher of wealthy middle school students will be equally successful with students in a poor urban setting. Or vice-versa, as you will recall that Duncan’s pretty sure it’s the comfy suburban kids who are actually failing. We have to assume that somebody who has a real gift for connecting with rural working class Hispanic families will be equally gifted when it comes to teaching in a high-poverty inner city setting.
“And, of course, as always, we’ll have to assume that teachers who are evaluated as “ineffective” didn’t get that rating for any reason other than their own skills– the students, families, resources and support of the school, administration, validity of the high stakes tests, the crippling effects of poverty– none of those things contributed to the teacher’s “success” or lack thereof.
“Once everybody is on board with this version of reality, we can start shuffling teachers around.”
Some day we might have a Secretary of Education who cares about research, understands teaching and learning, and has common sense as well. It looks like we will have to wait at least two more years, while hoping that our best teachers haven’t chosen to leave.
EduShyster explains the back story on the new team that has been assembled to eliminate teacher tenure wherever it still survives.
The lead player in this docudrama is Campbell Brown, a one-time CNN anchor who now works full-time to oust sexual predators from our classrooms. EduShyster says she will be rewarded with more airtime and media FaceTime.
Then there is the ex-Obama communications team, free from their D.C. duties to make war on teachers.
EduShyster reminds us that this will be a PR war, so get ready for the anecdotes about how “bad teachers” ruined someone ‘s life. This, of course, is the civil rights issue of our time, far more important than funding inequity, poverty, or budget cuts.
Best of all, Edushyster prepares us for mass confusion when the PR war begins:
“Is it pronounced *tenYEAR* or *tenYUR*? Why do teachers want to establish a caliphate in upstate New York anyway? Who broke the status quo? And when we fix it, will it still be the status quo? How many anecdotes does it take to make data? What exactly is the Levant? And is there any problem that *grit* can’t solve?”
The Onion has created a new system for selecting charter students that is even faster and more effective than a lottery.
So much for those old-fashioned public schools that let anyone at all enroll.
Peter Greene observes that the Vergara decision has brought out a deluge of comments by anti-teacher trolls.
Read any article on the Internet about the decision, and it will be followed by an outpouring of vitriol towards teachers.
It is useful to read Greene’s classification of the teacher-haters. You will encounter them almost everywhere.
What accounts for teacher hatred? Maybe these are the people who got an F in school and never got over it. These are the people who don’t have a pension and think that no one should. These are the people who think that America can get by without teachers or think that teachers should work for free.
But Peter does it so much better. Here are a few of his troll categories of teacher-haters:
Sad Bitter Memories Troll
I hated high school. My teachers were mean to me. I remember a couple who picked on me all the time just because I didn’t do my work and slept in class a lot. And boy, they did a crappy job of teaching me anything. I sat in their classroom like a houseplant at least three days a week, and I didn’t learn a thing. Boy, did they suck! Crappy teachers like that ought to be fired immediately! And that principal who yelled at me for setting fire to the library? That guy never liked me. Fire ‘em all.
Unlikely Anecdote Troll
There was this one teacher in the town just over from where I went to school, and one day he brought in a nine millimeter machine gun and mowed down every kid in his first three classes. The principal was going to fire him, but the union said he couldn’t because of tenure, so that guy just kept working there. They even put kids in his class who were related to the ones he shot. Tenure has to be made illegal right away.
Just Plain Wrong Troll
Tenure actually guarantees teachers a job for life, and then for thirty years after they retire and fifty years after they die. It’s true. Once you get hired as a teacher you are guaranteed a paycheck with benefits for the next 150 years.
Confused Baloney Troll
If you really care about children and educational excellence, then you want to see teachers slapped down. The only way to foster excellence in education is by beating teachers down so they know their place. Only by beating everyone in the bucket can we get the cream to rise to the top.
EduShyster has figured out who were the real winners in the Vergara trial.
First, of course is the public relations firm behind Students Matter, which is now the go-to group for civil rights issues, just as if the Brown decision had a PR firm and was bankrolled by one wealthy guy. Then there are the lawyers, who will clean up as litigation to replicate Vergara moves from state to state. Also the Billionaires who love low-income children more than those who actually work with them every day. Lots of winners. Oh, yes, and students, although it is not so clear what they won.
This is one of the funniest YouTube videos I have ever seen (excluding a few about dogs and cats).
I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Watch it and forward it to your superintendent or your school board. Remember how I always say that VAM is Junk Science. Here is one of the world’s leading assessment experts, and his message mocks VAM as just plain Junk.
It features the great assessment expert W. James Popham as pitchman for a line of products guaranteed to raise your students’ test scores. Some of them are chewable, some are drinkable and last five hours (he warns that if the effect lasts for longer than five hours, call your physician at once).
Please watch this. You will never think about value-added assessments or rubrics the same way again.
Want to know more about Popham? Read this author bio.He is one funny guy.
Robert M. Berkman, veteran mathematics teacher in New York City, posted this graphic contrast on his blog, called Better Living Through Mathematics.
This is not a multiple-choice quiz.
Who is the Reformer? Who is the Deformer?
Peter Greene has determined that some people in the world of education are serious and some are very silly.
Serious people understand that words have consequences. They seek some congruity between their reality, their values, and their goals.
Greene identifies a number of people who are very silly. For example:
“The Hedgemasters backing the charter movement are not serious people. Charters are investment opportunities and educational rhetoric is just ad copy. They are no more serious about finding real educational solutions than General Mills is serious about researching what the most healthy breakfast would really include.
“The Data Overlords are not serious people. Or rather, they’re not serious about education. They are serious about data collection, but it really makes no difference to them whether the education delivered is good or not, just as long as it’s all tagged and bagged.
“The Systems and Government pushers are not serious people. They are sure that if they can get total control of the whole system, it will work the way they imagine it will, and they do not want to be distracted by any evidence to the contrary. The pursuit of excellence should never be derailed by facts, or by the puny lesser humans who get in the way.
“The corporate profiteers are not serious people. When Pearson believes their main problem is bad PR, they show such a disconnect from life on this planet that they cannot be taken as serious people.”
Why have so many silly people taken control of a very serious and important enterprise?