"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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 Medley #18

Accountability, Teaching as a Career,
Won't Back Down, Education Politics in Indiana.


Contextual Accountability

John Kuhn, Superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD in Perrin Texas, has written a great article defining where we are in public education in the US. Quietly, while running a small school system in Texas, this man has become a leader in the quest for fair, community-based, adequately supported public schools.
I don’t write to argue that improvement in the education of American minority students isn’t necessary. The reformers are right at the beginning of the conversation—there’s an emergency in our urban schools. But they are consistently wrong about their monolithic, ideology-driven cause, and about how to fix it. They are also wrong to pretend that there isn’t a whole family of non-school emergencies in our urban areas, and to play-act that schools should somehow be immune from the general devastation around them. If an earthquake hits, should the school building’s pictures not move? If a wave of poverty, drugs, and obliterated families inundates a neighborhood, should the school float above the fray?


Does It Pay to Become a Teacher?

When I started teaching in 1976, educators had high job satisfaction. The act of teaching...of working with children, learning with them, and guiding them...was a fulfilling career that overshadowed the low pay (when I started teaching my own children qualified for the federal lunch program because of my low income) and difficult working conditions. Now, however, with the bipartisan war against public schools and the push for privatization led by presidents of both parties, teacher morale is the lowest it's been since A Nation at Risk.

What's going to happen to public education when the teaching profession is completely demoralized? What's going to happen to our neediest students when the supply of teachers is cut off because the profession has been degraded and debased to the point where no one in their right mind would choose it as a life's calling? What's going to happen when only the moneyed classes can afford to educate their children?

Our nation's future depends on an educated population. Where will the next generation of teachers come from if the work is unfulfilling, low paying, and micro-managed even more than it currently is?
The average primary-school teacher in the United States earns about 67 percent of the salary of a average college-educated worker in the United States. The comparable figure is 82 percent across the overall O.E.C.D. For teachers in lower secondary school (roughly the years Americans would call middle school), the ratio in the United States is 69 percent, compared to 85 percent across the O.E.C.D. The average upper secondary teacher earns 72 percent of the salary for the average college-educated worker in the United States, compared to 90 percent for the overall O.E.C.D.

American teachers, by the way, spend a lot more time teaching than do their counterparts in most other developed countries

...Given the opportunity costs of becoming a teacher instead of using your college degree to enter another, more remunerative field, are the psychic rewards of teaching great enough to convince America’s best and brightest to become educators?


“Won’t Back Down”: Why do teachers’ unions hate America?

Here's a review of Won't Back Down which says that, aside from being an obvious propaganda film for the school privatizers and union busters, it's not a very good movie either. 
...the movie is unbelievable crap and the whole project was financed by conservative Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz, also the moneybags behind the documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” which handled a similar agenda in subtler fashion.

...Most people still understand, I believe, that teachers work extremely hard for little pay and low social status in a thankless, no-win situation. But this is one of those areas where conservatives have been extremely successful in dividing the working class, which is precisely the agenda in “Won’t Back Down.”

"Won't Back Down" Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal

Who made Won't Back Down?
Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film "Won't Back Down" -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "Parent Trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

"EDUCATING MAGGIE" | The Real Parents #WontBackDown Against #ALEC |
A group called, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools has started a movement to educate the actors in Won't Back Down.


Indiana education: Tony Bennett wants to see accountability measures extended to Indiana school districts

Republican Tony Bennett, Indiana's Superintendent of Public Destruction Instruction claims that local control is not as good as state takeover of public schools.
Accountability measures for schools — including state takeover for those that consistently fail — have worked so well that lawmakers should consider extending them to school districts, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said Tuesday.

Democratic candidate Glenda Ritz responds to Bennett's State of Education

Glenda Ritz is running against Tony Bennett and his school-privatization backers (aka, the Walton Family, Michael Bloomberg, etc) for Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana. This is a nice little piece in which Ritz outlines her plans should she (by some miracle) defeat the moneybags bankrolling Bennett. However, I would have liked to hear her argue against specifics...like, are the schools which the state took over really doing better than they did before? Are they working with the same students or did the low performing students get "relocated" in a trail of tears so common when corporate charters take over so-called failing public schools?
The state of education in Indiana is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to assuring that quality teachers are in every classroom. Dr. Bennett is asking the State Board of Education to lower standards for teachers. Under his new proposal, teachers will no longer be required to have a degree in education to teach, but instead would be given licenses if they can simply pass a test by the Pearson Company. The profession of teaching is continually refining and expanding the ways in which teachers can better reach students with rigorous content. This is not the time to take a step back. This is the time to make sure teachers have the proper educational background, internships, and student teaching experiences that will make them highly qualified in the classroom.

Stop the Testing Insanity!


No comments: