"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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anthony Cody: "It's Poverty Not Bad Teachers"

On June 4, I wrote,
The point is, of course, that the link between achievement and poverty is not in doubt. We know better. The "new data" linking lower achievement with poverty just supports the "old data" linking lower achievement with poverty.


Now, Anthony Cody, author of EdWeek's Living in Dialogue Blog adds his voice (click the title to read the entire article. You should!).
Poverty is what’s crippling public education in the US—not bad teachers

...reformers [have] advocate[d] that we:
  • Test students more often...
  • Eliminate barriers to firing the “bad teachers”...
  • Create new evaluation plans that give significant weight to “value added” measures...
...new data shows that in the three large urban school districts where these reforms have been given full rein, the results are actually worse than in comparable districts that have not gone this route.

Some of the key findings...
  • Test scores increased less, and achievement gaps grew more, in “reform” cities than in other urban districts.
  • Test-based accountability prompted churn that thinned the ranks of experienced teachers, but not necessarily bad teachers.
  • School closures did not send students to better schools or save school districts money.
Most importantly:
  • The reforms missed a critical factor driving achievement gaps: the influence of poverty on academic performance.
Here are some other people saying the same thing...


...for the politicians and policy makers who have allowed so many of our children to grow up in poverty?

...for the Bush team who saddled us with NCLB based on the falsely named Texas Miracle?

...for the Obama team who saddled us with Race to the Top based on Arne Duncan's failed Renaissance 2000?

...for the Bloomberg team in New York City and the Emanuel team in Chicago? Close schools, fire teachers, shuffle children around no matter what it does to them?

...for all the "reformers" who are privatizing education and starving the nation's public schools?


From Susan Ohanian
"We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished." -— Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

"There are two major factors preventing teachers from being even more effective: (1) The high level of child poverty in the U.S., 23.1 percent, second among high-income countries; children who are hungry, have poor health care and little access to books will not do well in school regardless of teacher quality. (2) The unreasonable demands of the Common Core: a tight, inflexible curriculum that crushes creativity, designed by elitists with little idea of what goes on in classrooms, and a massive amount of testing, more than we have ever seen on this planet." -— Stephen Krashen, Seattle Times, Jan. 11, 2013

"16.4 million children living in poverty in this country. Solution: Blame the schools and take away teacher benefits and bargaining rights." -— Susan Ohanian, Twitter, Sept. 14, 2011

"The relationship between poverty and all kinds of academic achievement is one of the best-established and most replicated results in all of educational research. People keep "rediscovering it" and politicians keep ignoring it, or tell people to 'stop whining' (Rod Paige)." —- Stephen Krashen, e-mail, Aug. 10, 2011

"Let's blame
(1) teachers
(2) schools of education
(3) the decline of the US
(4) lack of a national education program
(5) parents.
But not
the real culprit:
-— Stephen Krashen, March 22, 2011

I mean this with all respect. I'm on my knees here, and there's a knife in my back, and the prints on it kinda match yours. I think you don't get it...It's not bad teaching that got things to the current state of affairs. It's pure, raw poverty. We don't teach in failing schools. We teach in failing communities..." —- Paul Karrer, Education Week, Feb. 2, 2011

"Thousands of studies have linked poverty to academic achievement. The relationship is every bit as strong as the connection between cigarettes and cancer." —- David Berliner, Our Impoverished View of Ed. Reform, Aug. 2005

"For many critics, teachers have become the villains in the wealthy elite's panic over educational accomplishment and foreign competition. But teachers don't cause financial meltdowns, home foreclosures, climate change, or hurricanes. And they don't invade countries or outsource jobs. Teachers don't cause mind-numbing conditions of poverty that limit children's ability to learn. However, teachers are the ones asked to cope with the poisonous effects of poverty. Why? Because most of society doesn't give a damn." —- Richard Gibboney, in Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality by Bracey


All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.


Stop the Testing Insanity!


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