Archives for category: Romney, Mitt

Idaho just recently approved Teach for America as a “state sanctioned vehicle for the preparation of teachers in Idaho.”

At first I thought this was an April Fools joke but it isn’t April.

The weakest aspect of TFA claims is its “preparation” of teachers in only five weeks. If that is all it takes, then teaching is not a profession but a job for temps.

Travis Manning, a high school English teacher in Idaho explains why this is a very bad idea.

In this article, a Massachusetts blogger points out that it is time to do something about those unionized police and firefighters who have failed to stamp out crime and fires.

It is time to unleash innovation and turnaround the police precincts where crime is highest: close them down and allow the cops to reapply for their jobs.

America could be a perfectly crime-free, safe nation if only we turned public safety over to bankers and lawyers and entrepreneurs.

The initiative–which is known as No Citizen Left Behind–requires the investment of billions of dollars for data collection, data analysis, turnaround specialists, and retraining of the current workforce.

Unfortunately this is so close to the insane reality of federal education policy that it is easy to think that it is real, not satire.

During one of the Presidential debates, the candidates were asked about gun control.

Then came the biggest non sequiturs of the season.

Jersey Jazzman shows how they both twisted their answers into a criticism of the public schools without ever addressing the question. If young people don’t have good schools, don’t have opportunity, they are likely to resort to gun violence.

Huh?

I received the following news release from the National Alliance for Charter Schools.

They of course were crowing about the passage of the ALEC-inspired initiative in Georgia, where the governor will be free to open charter schools everywhere across the state without consulting any local school board.

I knew Nina Rees when I worked in the George H.W. Bush administration. She is smart and personable and very, very conservative in her education views. She subsequently worked for the Milken brothers, who own K12, the for-profit virtual charter corporation.

Then she worked as Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation in the George W. Bush administration.

She was co-chair of the education policy committee for the Romney campaign, whose agenda was a flat-out privatization program for education.

And now she is praising President Obama for his leadership in the charter movement!

 
From: Nina Rees <Nina@publiccharters.org>
Subject: Public Charter Schools Win Big in Election

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Dear charter school supporter,The 2012 election is an important moment in the public charter schools movement.In two states, voters sent a clear message that they want public school options that are unique partnerships between teachers, parents, and students and that respond to the specific needs of their communities.Voters in Georgia rejected the status quo and created conditions that support the growth of high-quality public charter schools that are accountable for student achievement. Now, charter applicants who are rejected by school districts will have access to a fair appeals process.In Washington state, where votes are still being counted, voters are on the verge of making their state the 42nd with a public charter school law. If the results hold up, families and children in Washington will have the chance to attend schools that are as innovative as the companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing that drive the state’s economy forward.In addition, the re-election of President Obama maintains leadership for charter schools at the national level. In his first term, President Obama created an environment where charter schools could thrive through the incentives in Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, Promise Neighborhoods, and other reform programs. Over the past three years, almost half of states have revised their charter school laws to support growth and quality. Over the past four years, enrollment in public charter schools has risen by almost 1 million students. Today, more than 2 million students attend these unique public schools that serve the needs of students and their parents.

With the support of voters in Georgia, Washington and other states, and with the leadership from elected officials in state houses and Washington, D.C., the best days are ahead for the public charter school community.

Regards,

Nina Rees
President & CEO

© Copyright 2006 – 2012, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
1101 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 1010. Washington, DC 20005.
(202) 289-2700

An article in the Connecticut Post says that “Teachers Are Confused for Good Reason.”

The bottom line:

“If Democrats continue with their right-wing conservative educational policies, they will alienate the teachers and teacher unions that have traditionally been the party’s staunchest supporters. More importantly, these misguided policies and initiatives will deal a severe blow to public education and to the quality of the teaching profession as well as to the morale of our teachers. You cannot on one hand preach about the importance of teachers while implementing educational policies that are destroying public education in this country.”

It is indeed confusing and demoralizing to realize that Democrats have adopted Republican education policies of testing, accountability, privatization, and competition. No one expected that Barack Obama would abandon the party’s historic support of public education and equity. He has.

The Democrats–at least those in control of the party in Washington–have turned their backs on the unions, and most especially the teachers’ unions, which represent more than three million teachers. Since teachers have families, that represents many millions of votes.

President Obama is fortunate to be running against an extremist candidate, because had the Republicans put forward a moderate person (are there any left in today’s Republican party), teachers would be voting for him or her.

As I earlier stated unequivocally, I will vote for Obama, but it won’t be because of his disastrous rightwing education policies. Race to the Top is worse than No Child Left Behind. It takes the assumptions of NCLB (testing will fix everything) and applies them to teachers. Teachers will be fired, schools will be closed, and no problem will be solved.

I will vote for Obama because I fear the far-rightwing of the GOP. They will attempt to destroy public education, without delay or apology. And they will do the same to other social programs as well.

With Obama, there is some hope that he might change his mind once re-elected. There is some hope that he will no longer need the Wall Street hedge fund managers whose funds helped elect him and who demand testing and charters (but not for their children!). There is some hope that he will change course. There is some hope that other Democrats will hear the voices of parents and teachers and recognize that Democrats need their own education policies, not those of George W. Bush and Bill Gates.

With Romney, there is none. As his wife proudly boasted, it’s time to “throw out” the public education system.

No, it’s not.

A year ago, Mitt Romney said that the federal government should not provide en
Emergency relief to victims of tornadoes and floods. He recommended that FEMA be privatized. Remember that when he talks about his concern for victims of the hurricane,

In a recent interview, Ann Romney was asked which issue she cared most about. This was her answer.

“AR: I’ve been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.”

We may safely assume that Mrs. Romney is expressing the views of her husband, the candidate.

This is the line of thought:

1. Charter schools–privately managed, deregulated schools–are the answer to the problems of American education.

2. Teachers’ unions are an obstacle to the privatization that the Romneys favor.

3. “We need to throw out” the American system of public education, the system that has evolved since the 1820s and is embedded in every state constitution.

Make no mistake: this is not a conservative policy, it is radical and extremist.

Will any major journalist notice the far-right extremism of the Romney campaign? If Michelle Obama had said anything so outrageous, it would be reported on front pages across America.

Has any member of the large Romney family ever attended an American public school?

Sometimes people complain that Mitt Romney can’t understand today’s schools because he went to an elite private school.

But don’t be too quick to judge.

EduShyster points out that his school had a lot in common with today’s “no-excuses” schools.

Just forget the part about small classes, ample athletic facilities, a gorgeous campus, lots of arts, no standardized tests.

The blogger known as Students Last usually writes parodies.

But the last Presidential debate made him turn serious.

Both candidates said they “love teachers.”

Yes, everyone really, really loves teachers.

Students Last couldn’t stand the fake love and wrote this:

We know you come to this site for a laugh but some things are just NOT funny. Here’s a non-satirical editorial from Students Last.
————
How nice to be told by the presidential candidates, during their last debate, that they “love teachers.” Too bad it’s bullshit, like the flowers a woman gets the day after her abuser gives her a black eye. And it’s not just the candidates who are “loving” teachers to death. America itself has, at least as of late, quite the abusive relationship with teachers – claiming to love teachers but repeatedly disrespecting them in a myriad of ways. What teachers need is fewer meaningless words and a helluva a lot more deeds of respect.

When teachers tell you that standardized testing is robbing instructional time, narrowing curriculum and encouraging cheating but you act like their concerns are a ploy to avoid accountability, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you hold education conferences and there are no public school teachers on the panel but there are five CEO’s, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When the solution to turning around a failing school is to fire half the staff, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you accuse teacher unions of protecting child molesters, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When teachers tell you that generational poverty hangs over the lives of their students like an impenetrable fog dampening desire, fostering anger, distracting young minds and you think they are making excuses, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you refer to teachers as “professionals” but then dilute their ranks with those who have ten-watts of enthusiasm and five-weeks of training, shoving them into the neediest schools where they cut their teaching teeth on defenseless children, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When the most well-known names in education today are people who taught for three years or….never, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When, despite teachers’ knowledgeable objections, your idea of measuring teaching and learning is to administer more and more flawed bubble exams to younger and younger students, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you laud the test results of charter schools that cherry pick their students, receive extraordinary private funding, create an aura of fear with high suspension rates coupled with the expulsion of under-performing students, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When those who make policy send their children to private schools while shoveling mounds of unvetted nonsense onto the overburdened shoulders of public schools, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

Perpetrators of domestic abuse tell their victims they love them and moments later clench their fists, preparing to strike another blow. So candidates, so America, hold onto your amorous bouquets and stop mouthing words you clearly do not mean or understand.

“Love” us less. Respect us a helluva a lot more.

My first impulse was not to write about the debate last night. But then a reader contacted me to ask why I hadn’t written anything. I oblige.

The debate was about foreign policy, supposedly, but the candidates still managed to restate their talking points about education.

I was hoping they wouldn’t mention education because neither of them says anything that is accurate. They are out of touch with what is happening in the schools and seem to have no clue about what is needed.

Mitt Romney still claims credit for the Massachusetts reforms, even though they were enacted 10 years before he was elected, and even though his own education platform today rejects the Massachusetts reform strategy of more funding, higher standards for teachers, and improved standards and assessments. His reform strategy today can be summed up in one word: privatization. Also, attack teachers unions and any certification for new teachers. And no new federal aid to reduce student debt in higher education. Also, he wants the banks to regain control of student loans because they were making huge profits before Obama took it away from them.

President Obama, thank God, did not mention the much-loathed Race to the Top, but he said that his policies were working, which is absurd. He talked about gains and results, and no one but Arne Duncan seems to know where those gains and results are. The biggest results of Race to the Top are the demoralization of the nation’s educators and the steady advance of privatization. The biggest result of the Common Core standards is an explosion of new testing, reaching all the way down to kindergarten and even younger. Our children shall eat, live and breathe tests, from birth to the end of their education, and the massive data warehouses will track their every move.

When educators vote, they will have to look at other issues, not the one they know best. Neither of the candidates has a realistic vision of the damage that their policies–actual and proposed–are doing to the nation’s schools and children.

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