"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Business and Politics...as usual

The general public doesn't know this stuff. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (along with the Broad and Walton Foundations) donate billions to "help" schools in the US. Except they're not really helping. Their "good intentions" are destroying the public education system in the United States and President Obama along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (a former board member of the Broad Foundation) are letting it happen...going along with it...encouraging it.

In Race to the Bottom: Ravitch Says ‘School Reformers’ Scapecoat Teachers, Ignore Poverty, Diane Ravitch is quoted,
"[C]orporate reformers are pursuing a strategy based on ideology, not on evidence," she charged. "It is demoralizing teachers and setting up public schools to be de-legitimized, as they are called upon to meet impossible goals. This is not an improvement strategy, it is a privatization strategy."
And it's not just public schools -- it's the entire teaching profession. Blaming teachers for the failure of society is a convenient way to de-legitimize a profession, bust unions, and take the nation's education out of the hands of educators.

The Broad Academy takes business leaders, military leaders and politicians and with 6 weeks of training turns them into "Superintendents." Large urban school systems are run by politicians and business leaders…Chicago, New York, Washington DC. Even the nation's department of education is run by a non-educator.

Their business model is to take education out of the hands of educators, using the rationale that educators have failed, when in reality, it's society that has failed.

In Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools, Joanne Barkan writes
The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty.
Here in Indiana, the legislature made a sharp right turn in the last election, as did state legislatures throughout the country. These politicians are poised to "punish" the teachers (and teachers unions) in the state by moving money from regular public schools to charter schools, gut the collective bargaining law so teachers lose any leverage in contract negotiations*, introduce school vouchers to further drain money from public schools, and in a punitive and blatantly anti-teacher move, the House Labor Committee amended a bill to eliminate payroll deduction for teacher union dues**.

(* If negotiations do not result in a contract before the old contract expires, school boards can unilaterally impose a contract on teachers.)

(** Other payroll deductions are not being targeted. Donations to United Way, Insurance payments, Retirement plan payments, etc., would not be affected…ONLY union dues.)

A Clarion News Editorial, Conservatives' bull's-eye miss targets states,
Gov. Mitch Daniels talks a mean pro-education game, but we have seen how concerned he really is. Just down the road in Floyd County, we watched as four good elementary schools were closed last year. One of them, Galena Elementary, was considered one of the best in the region. And there have been other school closings across the state, as well. And Daniels' property tax initiatives and $300 million cut to schools have seriously crippled many school corporations and now even libraries are receiving less support and funding.

Daniels has been in office long enough to have really made some positive progress in the state's schools. But he hasn't shown even the slightest interest in doing so. Now, all of a sudden, he wants to rip the current system to shreds and make life miserable for every teacher in the state so he'll be able to brag about his fiscal policies during the next presidential election. And everything he does this year will be focused that way.
Here's one thing we can do...

Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action!
We, a collection of people from all walks of life and every corner of this nation, embody a mixture of ideas and opinions regarding how we can improve educational opportunities for all children. We stand united by one belief – it’s time for teachers and parents to organize and reclaim control of our schools.

As concerned citizens, we demand an end to the destructive policies and rhetoric that have eroded confidence in our public schools, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation.

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