"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, March 20, 2015

Random Quotes - March 2015


Vouchers - The Defunding of a Public Trust

Why should you pay taxes to support public schools when you have no students who attend the public schools?

Our founders understood that an educated populace was a benefit to everyone. Thomas Jefferson called for federal support of public education in his 1806 State of the Union message. John Adams declared that the public should support public education at the public expense. James Madison called for the federal government to "take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the union..."

We all benefit when our fellow citizens are educated. Just as we all support police departments, public parks, roads, libraries, and fire departments, for the public good, we must all support public education for everyone. Part of the responsibilities of a government is to provide essential services to the people. It is the people's responsibility to support that effort through their taxes.

If you choose to send your children to private school you should not expect to be relieved of the responsibility to support the public schools which benefit everyone.

...from Lead Your School
There are parents in our community that are also school tax paying homeowners that elect to not send their children to the local public school. This is their choice, and there is no negative consequence for exercising it. They simply pay tuition to a private provider to educate their children. If at anytime they change their mind, the local public school will accept their children.

From a taxpayer perspective, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between the private schooling parent and myself. We both pay into a public trust that neither of us uses.

Except, there are now people who advocate the breaking of this public trust. They argue that if a parent chooses to send their child to a non-public school, they should be allowed to remove money from the public trust and spend it to subsidize their choice. If my private schooling neighbor were allowed to take his tax dollars and use them as he chooses, this would mean that he IS NOW DIFFERENT than me. Effectively, his tax bill has been reduced.

Crisp: Ideology must not trump education

Here's a not so subtle comment about the selfishness, and the lack of foresight we Americans have. We're not against stepping all over our fellow citizens if it means more for us. Give me mine...I don't care what you get...just get your hands off mine.

We have lost the concept of working together for the common good (if we ever actually had it) and sacrificing for the good of the community or nation as a whole. If we did, then we would understand that a fully supported, free, universal, public education system benefits us all, and that a 25% child poverty rate is unacceptable, unsustainable...and threatens our future as a people.

...from John M. Crisp
..the first and most obvious beneficiaries of a school voucher program would be the parents of children who are already enrolled in private schools and the schools, themselves, which would have an incentive to raise their prices. These are the people who want voucher programs most of all.

We already know how to produce excellent public schools. I went to one, and if you’re reading this paper, you probably did, too. The problem is that we’ve never been willing to produce them for everyone, regardless of race or economic status.


Arne's Dumb Expectations

Blogger Peter Greene has some advice for Arne Duncan, who, like other test-and-punish privatization advocates, is all about accountability -- for everyone else.

...from Peter Greene
Imagine how different education would reform would play out if we just changed half of the following sentence. Instead of
Where we find failing schools and students, we must hold teachers and school districts responsible for their failure to properly teach those students 
we could instead say
Where we find failing schools and students, we must hold politicians responsible for their failure to properly support those schools with needed resources.


Why Do So Few College Students Want to Be Teachers?

The kindergartners who entered school in the first years of No Child Left Behind, in 2002, are graduating high school now. Is it any wonder that those children, whose academic lives have been focused on gaming the system and testing, testing, testing, should reject the idea of becoming a test-and-punish practitioner? The privatizers and testepreneurs have soured the taste of learning for an entire generation of children. Our nation will live under the deleterious effects of NCLB for many years.

...from Jan Resseger
...why would we be surprised when fewer young people seek careers as school teachers? They are getting the message. Our society now conceptualizes teaching merely as adding value by pouring into each child’s head the big publishers’ canned curriculum that is coordinated with the standardized tests they also publish. Our law makers adopt policies that ignore what teachers do and describe teachers’ work in business-school terms. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests $45 million to develop teacher evaluation systems based on econometric formulas that are blind to the human part of teachers’ work with children. We pay teachers less, and state governments seek to destroy their unions and thereby undermine due process and career protections. Our lexicon seems even to be losing the words that would value the time and energy and expertise school teachers expend day after day to help our children realize their promise.

Losing Good Teachers? Hooray!

We've invested in the "education sector" and have seen a proliferation of privatization schemes -- charter schools, vouchers, test-and-punish practices. The money flows from board room to political campaign accounts...and law-makers then return the money to the board room via tax payments supporting privatization. The "education economy" is booming, but the most important investment opportunity, the investment in our children, is being squandered.

...from Richard Sindall
I doubt that the money saved by destroying the teaching profession will, in the main, go back to taxpayers. It will go to the investors in “the education sector.” It will go to the test makers and test-related curriculum peddlers. It will go to those who invest in charter schools and for-profit universities. It will go to the software and hardware developers who will deliver the standardized lessons and standardized tests coordinated to give the illusion of successful learning. And then it will go to the re-election campaigns of politicians who enable corporate reform for the investors in the education sector.


DIBELS Raises Common Core Cut Scores to Show More Students Below Grade Level

If enough students aren't failing simply raise the "cut scores" and the crisis will continue.

...from Lace to the Top
There is no money to be made in labeling children as successful, but labeling them failures has continued to fuel the perceived crisis in education and increases profits.


To Stop the Opt-Out Movement, Start the Opt-In Movement

...from John Kuhn
Parents aren’t just opting out of tests. They are opting out of an entire fouled ecosystem of which tests are an integral part. They’re opting out of a punitive game of Mousetrap with their kids’ scores as the snap-off pieces, wherein political shakers (who may have something to gain or who may sincerely believe in the “failing schools” gospel) have set a trap not just for some bad teachers, not just for this or that neighborhood school, but for the entire constitutional vision of a publicly-funded, publicly-accountable, democratically-operated, free and open-to-all-students system of schools.


The failure of Renaissance 2010 in Chicago has been replicated throughout the nation with a similar lack-of success, unless you consider profits for Pearson, K-12, Charter USA, etc. as success.

...from Bob Herbert, Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America
"In 2004, Gates was one of the prime movers and the lead funder of a citywide initiative called Renaissance 2010, a program that was supposed to transform Chicago's public schools in just six years. Lousy teachers would be fired, failing schools would be closed, and charter schools would blossom. . . . And the school system's CEO, Arne Duncan was responsible for designing and implementing the initiative, which was popularly known as Ren 10.

The enthusiasm was misplaced. Like Gates's 'transformative' small high schools initiative, Ren 10 was a flop. . .The architect of Renaissance 2010, former schools CEO Arne Duncan, is now the US Secretary of Education--and he's taking the Daley-Duncan model national as part of his Race to the Top reform plan.

Renaissance 2010 never delivered the promised goods, but Duncan was not hurt by its failure, and neither was Gates."


The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

Stop the Testing Insanity!





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