A few years ago, a study released by the American Enterprise Institute concluded that teachers are overpaid.
Not so, writes CNN contributor LZ Granderson. In this wonderful article, he shows the every day courage of teachers–most recently demonstrated when a devastating tornado hit an elementary school in Moore, Oklahoma, and last December when teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, died shielding their students.
Here is the AP story about the Oklahoma tornado, showing how quickly teachers protected their children.
When the think tank desk jockeys have long been forgotten, we will still remember our teachers.
Author William Doyle has been observing the current “reform movement” promoted by people like Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg, Bobby Jindal, Rick Snyder, Rick Scott, and Michelle Rhee, and he has developed a theory about its true nature. Doyle thinks that the current movement is Soviet-style, with unrealistic targets and top-down control. What struck me as amazing is that I read an article in the Teachers College Record and blogged about it a year ago, in which the author argued that the current model of “education reform” is Stalinist. At the time, I thought this was perhaps extreme. I am not so sure anymore.
The currently dominant theories of education reform are being mis-labeled as “market-driven education reforms” or “corporate education reforms.”
Most of these theories would not last 5 minutes in a truly free market; or a profitable corporation; successful hedge fund or private equity firm, since the results have been so poor.
These sham reforms – - including turning schools over to political cronies and education amateurs and cyber-charters, the flagrant abuse and misuse of standardized tests, spending tens of billions of dollars on unproven reforms, unproven technologies and unproven testing schemes – - are actually the opposite of the free market or corporate models – - they are Soviet-style sham reforms.
Like Soviet models, they are based on top-down, rigid command and control; ideological orthodoxy and one-party thought; flagrant disregard for evidence; the brutalization of human capital; the disembowlement of unions; the crushing of dissent; and the massive misapplication of resources and data; all of which create massive inefficiencies and inevitably poor results.
They also rely on cults of personality created for false idols; and the creation of false miracles and Potemkin success stories.
Like the Soviet Union, they will collapse.
In the closing days of the Texas legislative session, an effort to create a so-called “recovery school district” or “achievement district” failed to pass. However, its sponsors tucked it into another bill, and its ultimate fate is uncertain. The article notes that the bill has the support of some of the state’s wealthiest lobbyists, including former Enron trader John Arnold, a staunch supporter of market-based school “reform.”
As always, it is important to read between the lines. The new district, under state control, would take control of low-performing schools, hand them over to private charter operators, and been free to hire uncertified teachers and create its own disciplinary rules. Proponents point to similar state-controlled districts in Louisiana and Tennessee, but neither has achieved notable improvements. The Recovery School District in Louisiana has been much hyped but has failed to deliver results; the Achievement District in Tennessee is relatively new, and as yet has no track record, certainly no notable success worthy of emulation.
The most certain result of these districts is to transfer control to private, unaccountable charter operators who have the power to kick out students they don’t want and who count on low-wage inexperienced teachers. To call this “educational reform” is a bad joke.
What these schools need is smaller classes, highly experienced staff, and the excellent wraparound services that support children and families.
Let’s hope that good sense prevails and Texas passes up the chance to privatize the schools whose students have the highest needs, it was the right decision.
Karen Lewis reacts to Chicago school board’s decision:
Karen Lewis Reaction to Chicago Board of Education’s Vote to Close the Largest
Number of Schools in an Urban School District in U.S. History
CHICAGO – Today, Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis released the following statement on the largest school closings in U.S. history:
“Today is a day of mourning for the children of Chicago. Their education has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children. Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy. Evidence shows that the underutilization crisis has been manufactured. Their own evidence also shows the school district will not garner any significant savings from closing these schools.
“This is bad governance. CPS has consistently undermined school communities and sabotaged teachers and parents. Their actions have had a horrible domino effect. More than 40,000 students will lose at least three to six months of learning because of the Board’s actions. Because many of them will now have to travel into new neighborhoods to continue their schooling, some will be victims of bullying, physical assault and other forms of violence. Board members are wishing for a world that does not exist and have ignored the reality of the world we live in today. Who on the Board will be held responsible? Who at City Hall will be held responsible?
“Members of the Board of Education, the school CEO, the mayor and their corporate backers are on the wrong side of history. History will judge them for the tragedy they have inflicted upon our students; and it will not be kind.
“Our fight for education justice has now moved to the courts, but it must eventually move to the ballot box. The parents are amazing leaders in their school communities and because of this administration’s actions we have all become closer and more united. We must resist this neoliberal savagery masquerading as school reform. We must resist racism in all of its forms as well as the escalating attacks on the working –class and the poor. Our movement will continue.”
Susan Spicka is a public school parent in Central Pennsylvania and a strong advocate for high-quality public education. She wrote this post after her daughters finished their NINTH days of state testing in elementary school. The sentence that bowled me over was when she said her fifth grade daughter was crying for fear that if she didn’t do well, her school might not meet AYP. Why should this burden be placed on the backs of little children? Should they be afraid that their poor performance will cause their teachers to be fired and their school to be closed? There is a touch of sadism in these federal policies, as well as child abuse.
Please join this important discussion about the corporate attempt to trick parents into handing their public schools over to private corporations:
The Parent Trigger from California to Florida
Sunday, May 26, 2013 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM Pacific Time
We will be hearing from Lori Yuan, a parent in Adelanto who fought the Parent Trigger at her school, and Parents Across America Founding Member Rita Solnet who, along with other organizations, defeated the Parent Trigger bill in the Florida State Senate on March 9, 2013.
To reserve your ticket, go to eventbrite.
This event is free.
This event is organized by Parents Across America.
Now that Commissioner Pryor has the go-ahead from Governor Malloy to apply the principles of corporate education reform, he has loaded up the payroll of the state education department with his fellow reformers. Here comes the privatization movement, prepared to bust unions, demoralize teachers, and generate profits for friends of the movement.
Naturally, there is a Talent Officer, a Turnaround Officer, a Performance Manager, and a bevy of Broad interns. This in one of the nation’s top performing states.
Monica Ratliff won by the same margin of victory as Steve Zimmer, 52-48.
Zimmer had the full support of the UTLA.
Ratliff did not.
UTLA gave her a contribution of $1,000, but endorsed both candidates.
On election night, UTLA leaders were seen at Sanchez headquarters.
How do you spell “egg on your face?”
Monica Ratliff just emailed to thank all of us for our help. She was rushing off to teach her fifth grade class. She never stopped teaching while running for office.
Dear friends, your contributions made a difference. Together we will turn the tide and restore American education to focus on children and learning and collaboration, not data and profits and budget cuts.
Thank you, Monica, for the lessons you taught us all: people matter more than money. Experience and knowledge count. Courage in the face of overwhelming odds is essential. Teaching is an honorable profession, and teachers must be heard and involved in decisions about schooling.
For your courage and Integrity, I add you to our honor roll as a champion of American education. And a Giant Slayer.
Anthony Cody has an excellent post that explains what you need to know about the massive data-collection program called inBloom.
The database will contain detailed personal information about students and teachers. The corporation cannot guarantee the security of this data.
Arne Duncan made inBloom possible by loosening the regulations of FERPA, the federal law that is supposed to protect student privacy.
Let’s just say that this whole project is an outrage. It is a massive invasion of privacy. As the grandparent of a public school student, I am furious! I don’t want Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and Joel Klein to have my family’s personal information.