"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

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Medley #7

An 8th Grader Searches for a High School, Double Standards, News Media Reports on Education, Poverty, VAM, Reform Ideas, Technology, Finland vs. Indiana, ALEC.

An Eighth-Grade Sports Encyclopedia Finds Himself Without a High School

This article left me stunned. Where is this child's neighborhood school? Competition destroys public education. Notice the way this is worded...the high schools select the students. This is "choice" at work.
That so many people know Omri became important a few weeks ago when the 69,000 eighth graders across the city learned what high schools they had been selected to attend next year. Of the 127 eighth graders at East Side, only five were not picked by any school, and Omri was one of them.

“Omri was up in homeroom crying hysterically, so we brought him downstairs,” Mr. Goldspiel said. “I found him sobbing, sitting on the floor outside the main office waiting for me.”

“I was speechless,” Omri recalled. “Everyone else was saying, ‘I got in, I got in,’ and I just felt dumb and stupid. I had anger in me I never really felt before. I didn’t know how to react.”

...started preparing for the next round in the high school lottery.

Is There Really a Point to Advocating Both Standardization and Choice?

A Double Standard: The public schools have to reform or be replaced by charters...but then, why don't the charters have to meet the same requirements?
...what we have here is a massive effort on the one hand, to require traditional public school districts to adopt a common curriculum and ultimately to adopt common assessments for evaluating student success on that curriculum and then force those districts to evaluate, retain and/or dismiss their teachers based on student assessment data, while on the other hand, expanding publicly financed subsidies for more children to attend schools that would not be required to do these things (in many cases, for example, relieving charter schools from teacher evaluation requirements).

Flunking the Test
The American education system has never been better, several important measures show. But you’d never know that from reading overheated media reports about “failing” schools and enthusiastic pieces on unproven “reform” efforts...

"The idea that we have a crisis in American education, that there is pervasive failure, starts with policy makers," says Pedro Noguera, the eminent education researcher and New York University professor. "This is the line we hear in D.C. and in state capitals. There are certainly areas in which we're lacking, but when you report it that way, it doesn't at all acknowledge the complexity of the situation [and] where we're doing quite well. The discussion is quite simplistic. I'm not sure why exactly. My suspicion is that the media has trouble with complexity."

Stephen Krashen Pulls the Rug Out From Under the Standards Movement
Poverty is, in fact, the issue. While American students' scores on international tests are not as bad as critics say they are, they are even better when we control for the effects of poverty: Middle-class students in well-funded schools, in fact, score at or near the top of world. Our average scores are respectable but unspectacular because, as Farhi notes, we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries. Only four percent of children in high-scoring Finland, for example, live in poverty. Our rate of poverty is over 21%.

Now I Understand Why Bill Gates Didn’t Want The Value-Added Data Made Public

Being a Billionaire doesn't qualify you as an expert in the education of children.
Nor do these educational Deformers think that value-added mysticism is nonsense. They think it’s wonderful and that teachers’ ability to retain their jobs and earn bonuses or warnings should largely depend on it.

The problem, for them, is that they don’t want the public to see for themselves that it’s a complete and utter crock. Nor to see the little man behind the curtain.

Krash Course #5: Reform We Need
Each time I publish or post a critique of the education reform insanity coming from the Corporate Reformers, I receive badgering responses asking what I would do instead. So here is a list of Reform We Need...
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan needs to resign...
  • Federal and state policies must address the lives of children...health coverage...Food security...
  • All aspects of the accountability era, including standards-based testing, must be dismantled...
  • ...[end] all aspects of perpetuating inequity found in schools—testing, tracking, teacher assignments, "no excuses" practices.
  • Teacher and schools must be afforded autonomy...

Testing Our Limits and Failing Our Students

Technology for the sake of technology (as opposed to technology as a tool for learning in and out of the classroom) is stealing time from real education.
Unless we stand together, erroneous computer data and educational officials detached from the realities of teaching will continue to determine our students’ futures.

Lesson from Finland: Everything Indiana is doing is wrong

There's an assumption that policymakers and "reformers" are well meaning and want to improve education. I don't believe that any more. The current debate about public education is not about education at all, but about who will control the pursestrings...the public, or the private sector. The same people who brought us the banking debacle and the economic collapse are working hard to take over public education -- the students, parents and teachers be damned. How much do Arne Duncan, Rahm Emmanuel, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Eli Broad really know about how children learn?

You want to know why other countries score higher on average than we do? It's because they care about all their children. There's more to educating a child than standards and tests.
Finland’s system, he said, could not work in the U.S. Factors of societal, economic and cultural differences must be considered and will always shape a country’s education system to make it unique....In short, he argued that several of the fundamental beliefs of reformers here — reformers like [Indiana's Tony] Bennett — were just flat wrong.

Who's Really Behind Education Reform?

Julie Underwood, the Dean of the UW-Madison School of Education, discusses ALEC's school privatization agenda.


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