"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, October 29, 2016

Taking Responsibility for "Failure"


This October, while public school teachers across the country were engaged in the daily work of educating the nation's children, the U.S. Education Department released new rules governing teacher preparation programs which guarantee to continue the abuse and misuse of those same children's test scores.

The report on the new rules claims that some teacher preparation programs "report statistically significant differences in the student learning outcomes of their graduates." "Student learning outcomes" means, of course, standardized test scores. The new regulations, the report says,
...address shortcomings in the current system by defining the indicators of quality that a State must use to assess the performance of its teacher preparation programs, including more meaningful indicators of program inputs and program outcomes, such as the ability of the program’s graduates to produce gains in student learning (understanding that not all students will learn at the same rate) [emphasis added].
How does one measure "gains in student learning?" By standardized tests. The new regulations encourage states to grade teacher preparation programs on the test scores of their student's students. In other words, for example, Indiana University would have been held responsible for the test scores of my students throughout my 35 year teaching career.


Teachers, and now, the teachers of teachers, are held to a different standard than any other profession. Do Driver Education Schools get blamed for drivers who break traffic laws or have accidents? Do Dental Schools get evaluated on the dental health of their graduate's patients? Do Business Schools get graded on the number of widgets their graduates sell? Are Harvard and Columbia getting low marks because John King, the U.S. Secretary of Education, is making insane rules for public schools yet has minimal knowledge about teaching and learning in the nation's public schools?

This doubling down on the standardized testing insanity plaguing our students and schools is partially based on the false assumption that "America's public schools are failing." The last 15 years of federal legislation has put the blame for this "failure" on America's teachers and students through a series of test and punish programs which have destroyed the foundational institution of public schools in municipalities around the country. Only it didn't work. There are still "failing" schools.

Now, policy makers who have little to no practical experience in public schools, are frantically searching for a new scapegoat and have grabbed on to the teachers of the teachers.

The ultimate result of this will be that those schools of education which send their graduates to public schools filled with low-income students are the preparation programs which will be deemed failures.


There is a direct correlation between family income and student achievement. Students living in poverty come to school with a vastly different background than wealthier students. Economic and racial isolation, lack of resources, and lower parental achievement levels, all contribute to the differences in student achievement levels. No amount of blame assigned to teachers, or teachers of teachers, will change that.

Furthermore, using standardized achievement tests as the basis of grading these professionals – even when other factors are included – is inadequate because the tests themselves are flawed due to cultural and racial biases, and the limitations of the tests to measure that which is immeasurable.

For information about the relationship between poverty and achievement, see the following articles

Where does the poverty, which is the main cause of low student achievement, begin? It stems from the racism and economic polarization which is rampant in American society. "Failing" schools are not the cause of low student achievement, they're the result of a failing society. Eliminating poverty and inequity will improve education.
"...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.
We are one of only three nations in the O.E.C.D. to spend more money on our wealthy students than on our poor students. In the political arena partisan stubbornness rather than cooperative compromise prevents us from dealing with the poverty which overwhelms nearly one fourth of the nation's children.

Why isn't the label of "failure" branded on our legislatures? Legislators have failed to raise employment to 100%. They have failed to provide adequate food, shelter, and health care for all children. They have failed to ensure that all schools have sufficient resources. They send teachers "into congressional districts that are rife with poverty, rife with crime, drug abuse and poor health care," but never take on the label of "failure" themselves.

Why is the label, "failure," only reserved for teachers, schools, and now schools of education?

Who has failed to raise the achievement of our lowest achieving public school students? Teachers? Teacher preparation programs? Or policy makers who refuse to accept their own share of responsibility?


Holding Ed Schools Accountable For The Teachers They Teach

by Anya Kamenetz for NPR
...imagine that law schools were rated by states based on the percentage of their graduates' clients who won their cases in the first three years. Or imagine medical schools required to report the vital statistics of the patients of their newly-minted doctors.
Fed's Stupid Teacher Prep Program Rules

By Peter Greene
...we could also use test results to evaluate the work of officials who set education policy, and if test results fail to go up annually, we could simply fire all those officials, whether they are officially appointed ones like John King or unofficially self-appointed ones like Bill Gates. But that would just be crazy talk. Almost as crazy as doing an actual evaluation of tests themselves. Those holy instruments may be used to evaluate everything in sight, but the sacred magical tests themselves must never be questioned, remaining in place as the twisted foundation of one wobbly edifice after another.
John King Doubles Down on Importance of Standardized Tests; “Reformers” Cheer

by Diane Ravitch
Secretary of Education John King is releasing regulations that will punish education programs if their graduates teach students whose scores are low. “Reformers” are supposed to be aware of the power of incentives, but not Secretary King. He thinks he can scare education programs to focus more on raising test scores. More likely is that teachers will get the message to avoid teaching in schools that enroll students who are impoverished, and that their preparation programs will encourage them to steer clear of the neediest children.
The big problems with the Obama administration’s new teacher-education regulations

by Valerie Strauss
...the new regulations...require states to issue annual ratings for teacher-prep programs, an effort, supporters say, to separate the successful programs from the failures. They still also require each state to evaluate teacher-training programs based on student learning, but this time leaving it to the states to decide how to measure academic growth and how much it should weigh in an overall rating. That means that the department will permit states to use test scores for evaluation — a method that is not used to evaluate any other professional preparation program...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 Medley #26

Achievement Gap, Privatization: Charters, Politics: K-12, Politics: Indiana,
Politics: Teacher Stereotypes


Why The Academic Achievement Gap Is A Racist Idea

Here's an important discussion on the "achievement gap."

Policy makers are still trying to solve poverty by "reforming" schools. It hasn't worked...and it won't work. Students who are raised in middle and high income families do better in school. Do we change schools to try to overcome student poverty? Of course, but schools can't do it alone. Policy makers must take responsibility for the high levels of poverty in the nation.
At 100-years-young this year, standardized tests have come to literally embody the American doors of opportunity, admitting and barring people from the highest ranked schools, colleges, graduate schools, professions, and jobs. Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies. However, some of the greatest defenders of standardized testing are civil rights leaders, who rely on the testing data in their well-meaning lobbying efforts for greater accountability and resources.


NAACP calls for moratorium of charter schools until they stop acting like private schools

Charter schools are private schools.

Applause to the NAACP for calling out charter schools for what they really are – private schools taking public funds and rejecting public oversight.

The purpose of the public school system is to prepare the next generation of citizens. The responsibility for such an undertaking – costs, management, and upkeep – ought to belong to us all...for the benefit of the entire community.

If public schools are struggling to educate our children, then it's our obligation, as a community, to improve those schools...not privatize them.

"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.
On Saturday, the board of directors at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ratified a resolution passed this summer at its national convention calling for a moratorium on charter expansion and strengthening charter oversight.


What About The Children? Third Presidential Debate Offers No Insight On Issues Like Education

The most unpleasant political campaign in recent memory continues unabated. The level of discourse has dropped to a pathetic level, with one candidate in particular speaking and acting like a spoiled, bullying, adolescent.

The final (thankfully) debate for the presidential campaign took place last week and, like the two previous meetings between the candidates (as well as all the debates during the primaries), nothing was said about K-12 education in the US.

Is that because the two major parties agree on the corporate privatization of public education?
Public education also got overlooked. It’s remarkable to me that this issue, which touches the lives of just about all Americans, never received a full discussion during three debates. I’m sure many people would like to know more about each candidate’s view on what role the federal government should play in education. After all, 90 percent of American children attend public schools.

Trump plans to do away with public school systems

If you want to know where the two major candidates stand on K-12 public education you have to look on their web sites. It's something that's not generally discussed during interviews, news conferences, and debates.

Trump's education plan follows the Republican party line that public schools are "failing" and "choice" will solve everything. Clinton's plan follows the typical Democratic "support our public schools" and "love our teachers" philosophy (in order to get the endorsement of the two large teachers unions, apparently), but is short on actual, working policy.

Questions about child poverty and the test and punish policies of the last 15 years are missing. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog published a piece with each candidate's answers to a set of questions (Note: Trump didn't answer the questions, just said he favored "choice").
If there was any doubt, Trump surrogate Carl Paladino made it perfectly clear that if his boss [Donald Trump] is elected his goal will be nothing less than the elimination of public education and complete liquidation of the nation's teacher unions.

...Contrast that with Hillary Clinton's likely approach -- continuing Democrats' expansion of privately-run charters, side-by-side with support for traditional public schools with a common-core standards/curriculum and unionized teachers -- and you get a clear picture of the choice available to voters on Nov. 8th. It's not a great choice, but it's a choice.


Indiana super proposes ISTEP replacement; state panel snubs presentation

Glenda Ritz, Indiana's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has been ignored, punished, and abused since the day she took office. Her crime? She's a Democrat in a state with a supermajority of Republicans. The Republican leadership in the legislature has prevented her from doing what she was elected to do and has doubled down on anti-public education legislation. The Republican governor, Mike Pence, has been blatant in his preference for private, parochial, and charter schools. The state Board of Education (whose membership has changed just recently) has also added to the mix by fighting her at every opportunity.

The legislature ordered a committee to oversee the adoption of a new state achievement test to replace the ISTEP for grades 3 through 8. The Governor insisted on assigning his own chair of the committee, bypassing the State Superintendent. The panel, led by members appointed by the Governor and Republican leadership, has prevented Ritz from even presenting her plan for new testing.

The obstruction continues.
Ritz shared the OnTrack proposal with members of the Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test, but she was denied the opportunity to formally present the plan to panel.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz Releases Details of Cost Cutting, Time Saving, Student-Centered Assessment System Proposal
This proposal was shared with members of the Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test prior to today’s meeting along with the results of the Request for Information from assessment vendors regarding the viability of utilizing a new approach to assessment. For the second time, the Superintendent’s request to formally present information to the panel was denied resulting in a sixth meeting of the panel with no substantial decisions made. [emphasis added]
The OnTrack proposal can be viewed HERE.


Donald Trump Jr.: if women can’t handle sexual harassment, they should be “kindergarten teachers”

Stereotypes surrounding teachers are still prevalent, apparently. Donald Trump's son, Jr., has essentially said that teaching Kindergarten is a job that anyone can do because it's so easy. When workplace harassment was brought up in connection with his father's misogynistic behaviors, he unsurprisingly blamed women for being harassed by implying that they ought to just accept it as part of being in "the workforce." If they can't, he said, they should go "teach kindergarten."

I wonder how long Junior would last as a teacher in a kindergarten classroom...
“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce,” Trump said. “Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.”


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Baseball Interlude: Random Thoughts: Cubs Win!


I saw my first professional baseball game at Wrigley Field in the summer of 1956 – or maybe it was '55...or '57 – in any case, it was sometime in the mid 50's. Ernie Banks was a newcomer, having joined the team in 1953 after playing professional baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs. Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Ferguson Jenkins were teenagers still in high school. Ryne Sandberg and Greg Maddux hadn't been born yet.

I watched games after school. I got on the 'el' after high school and rode to Wrigley. I followed the team in the newspaper when I didn't have TV or radio access. I joined the Die-Hard Cubs Fan Club in the 80s...and the Cubs Club when the former morphed into the latter.

Here, then, are some random thoughts on an occasion I always hoped to see. The Cubs have won the National League Pennant. "Next year" is now.
  • In 1969 I was in college and only followed the Cubs in the newspaper (IDS). There were TVs in the dorm (I even had a roommate with a TV for a while), but that was before cable or satellite and WGN didn't broadcast to Bloomington, Indiana. I'm glad I didn't see that season on TV or in person. It was too painful.

  • My dad saw (or more likely listened to) the Cubs win the National League in 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945, but never saw a World Championship. I was born three years after the Cubs' last trip to the World Series.
  • All the years the Cubs were in the post season for the National league pennant...and came up short...1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015..."Wait till next year!"
  • "So the Cubs haven't won a pennant in nearly forty years. Why not look at it this way? Take it in terms of eternity. That's not even a fly speck. Just tell yourself that sometime in the next thousand years the Cubs will get their share of the pie." – Jack Brickhouse*

  • Since 1876, and before 2016, the Cubs have won two World Series, sixteen National League pennants, and six division championships. The last pennant win (until last night) was 1945. The last World Series win was 1908.
  • Hey! Peanuts! Cubs peanuts here!
  • "I have always been an optimist and even though sometimes you lose more than you win with that type of attitude, still and all there are enough great moments, thrills and excitement to make it all beautiful. You know that tomorrow will be a better day." – Jack Brickhouse*

  • When Dexter Fowler walks to the plate in the top of the first inning in Cleveland on Tuesday, October 25, he will be the first African-American in a Cubs uniform ever to play in a World Series.
  • For decades I've said that all I want is a National League Pennant...even if they lost in the World Series. Now that the Cubs have finally won a National League Pennant, a World Series win would be nice...
  • Baseball is the perfect metaphor for life. Some teams, often those with the most money, win more times than others. But money doesn't always buy success just like money doesn't buy happiness. For that, you have to rely on family and friends (teamwork), hard work, a positive attitude, and some luck. Getting knocked down doesn't make one weak. Strength is better measured by the ability to get up after being knocked down. Courage is not the opposite of fear...it is being afraid, yet still persevering in the face of certain defeat. A hero isn't the one who wins the game, but the one who keeps swinging till the final out.

"Don't let anyone say that it's just a game
For I've seen other teams and it's never the same
When you're born in Chicago you're blessed and you're healed
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field
...Someday we'll go all the way, yeah, someday we'll go all the way" – Eddie Vedder

  • Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.
  • "Cub fans will take winning in stride. With enthusiasm, with tears of joy, perhaps, but in stride...When it happens you will find us, like our ancestors in 1908, sensitive enough to know how to be humble in the face of a miracle." – Jim Langford*


I wish you could have been here to see this...


*from The Cub Fan's Guide to Life by Jim Langford.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Election 2016: Meh! vs. Feh!

Last night's (October 19) debate epitomized this year's presidential campaign...

Two candidates spoke. There were some policies discussed, but mostly it was "Yes you are," "No, I'm not!" and "I know you are, but what am I?" back and forth with two, and sometimes three people talking over each other. Those listeners who had made up their minds weren't convinced to change. "He's a bigot, a misogynist, and unqualified." "She's a criminal and in the pocket of Wall Street." Nothing was said to change anyone's mind or give any beneficial information.


I didn't watch the debate last night. But I bet my description above is still accurate.


I admit that I'm a (nearly) single-issue voter. Public Education.

Before I vote for anyone I ask, "How will this candidate help public education in the nation (or state, or city, or county)?"

Of course there are other issues that are important, like which candidate will actually accept the reality of the Earth's climate (and do something about it)? Or which one blows his dog whistle so that white supremacists and anti-semites know that he will normalize their bigoted views? Or which one will hand over our economy to people who already have so much money that they could spend a million dollars a day for the next 20 years and still have more than I made in four decades of work in public education?

Those things matter, and they also come into my decision about who to vote for, but public education means the most to me. I've spent sixty of my sixty-eight years as either a student, a teacher, or a volunteer in a public school. It just makes sense that it means a lot to me. It makes sense for me to focus on the issue of which candidate will protect and improve the education of 90% of America's children. I figure that, if we do a good job of educating the majority of our nation's children, then we'll be building an educated citizenry who will make good decisions in the future.

[No, I don't want to get into a discussion about which issues are most important. There are so many important issues and all of us feel like "our issue" is the most important one of all. In my opinion, it's better to focus on one of them and do the best we can, than try to attack all of them and end up completely ineffective at any of them. Like John Lennon said, "we all doin' what we can."]


I'm not really excited about any of the candidates...at least not like I was about candidates in the 1960s. Maybe it's just my age. After decades of either "Meh!" or "Feh!" a certain amount of cynicism is to be expected.

And "Meh!" vs. "Feh!" is what we have this year, too. Neither of the two major candidates meet my criteria as a pro-public education candidate. There's a difference between them of course. One of them pledged to spend billions on a voucher plan. He supports unregulated charter school growth, and wants teachers to be armed in their classrooms. The other supports "non-profit" charter schools, but apparently doesn't understand that most of those still make a profit by manipulating the system. She is also suspiciously beholden to corporate interests who have brought us almost two decades of "reform" with its false "accountability" and false promises.

What about testing? The Republicans are all for it. More accountability!

The Democrats are against "too much testing." They even have it in their platform. Still, President Obama said that we shouldn't waste so much time testing our students...yet doubled down on high stakes testing. Why should I expect that this Democrat will be any different? Fool me once, shame on you...

Both of the major party candidates sent their children to private schools which were untouched by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. All their policies are for "other people's children."

The two main third party candidates aren't much better. One of them is a doctor who has pandered to the anti-vaccine movement, and the other is for vouchers and "school choice." I agree with one of their education platforms, but I'm one who believes that, if I'm going to vote, I want to vote for someone with a chance of winning...but that's just me. So I'm back trying to choose between the two major party candidates.

As someone quoted in John Oliver's piece on Third Party Candidates said,
315, 320 million people...and this is the best two that we can come up with?


This election season is possibly the most immature...the most disruptive...the most vicious...the most unpleasant since Thomas Jefferson and John Adams slandered and insulted each other during the campaign of 1800. I have had third graders who argued with greater maturity than the current candidates in the debates, at rallies, and on the evening news.

What these people need is a good primary teacher who can help them learn how to be polite. They need to learn how to take turns and listen – without interrupting – while someone else is talking. They need to learn to "stick to the point" and answer questions presented instead of spewing talking points over and over again no matter what the topic.

People of good will can disagree on the issues. Unfortunately, this year's election cycle, and our politics in general, has been poisoned by ill will.

I'm done with it all. I've made my choices for national, state, and local elections. I've decided who to vote for even though I disagree with some of their policies.

Between now and the end of October (or possibly the beginning of November) I'm going to spend my time watching baseball and cheering for my Cubs – for as long as their season lasts.

When I'm not watching baseball I'm going to read some children's books...the content will be more mature than the political discussion going on around me.

Let me know when it's over.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 Medley #25

Retention of Children with Lead Poisoning, Charters, SSR, First Amendment,
Teacher Shortage, Textbooks, Politics


If you are the state of Michigan, you damage the ability of children to learn by poisoning them with lead-tainted water which causes
  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • poor muscle coordination
  • damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • speech and language problems
  • developmental delay
  • seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)
Then you punish them for not being able to "pass the test."

It's not just Michigan, of course, although Flint, Michigan is the poster city for lead poisoning in children. Lead poisoning is still a serious problem for America's children.

In addition, many more states besides Michigan require retaining students in third grade because of their failure to pass a test.

But Michigan is just the latest. Governor Snyder, who allowed the city of Flint to be poisoned by lead through mismanagement and not-so-benign neglect, just signed into law a bill which would require third grade students to pass a test, or be punished with in-grade retention.

Calling this sort of behavior "child abuse" isn't nearly strong enough. When will policy makers and politicians take responsibility for their impact on student achievement?

Michigan to Retain Children with Lead Poisoning
Michigan has a lead problem with its children in Flint, and a governor who failed badly his own accountability test. Many wonder why he is still governor. Some wonder why he isn’t in jail. But yesterday he signed off on a bill to fail third graders. How many children in Flint will wind up failing third grade due to the leaded water they drank? I’m guessing many.

So children fail, through no fault of their own, while the governor gets a pass. Fancy that.

I know there are exemptions to failing in Michigan, but that doesn’t excuse a rotten bill that highlights retention as something good.

We know that the fear of failing a grade for a child is on the same level as losing a parent. Once a child is humiliated by this action, they will have a difficult time ever fully recovering.

And children who fail third grade don’t do any better than those who are socially promoted, especially if those promoted get extra help.

So children who the State of Michigan failed by not protecting them—permitting the poisoning of their water—will now get a double whammy and get blamed for their school problems.

Let’s not forget children who don’t have lead poisoning, but, who, also through no fault of their own, have dyslexia or other learning disabilities.

Retention is punishment to children and it doesn’t work. We can’t forget that.
Florida Update: Also see FL: Oh, Come On Now!

How lead poisoning affects children


U.S. Dept. of Education’s Own Inspector Again Condemns DOE’s Oversight of Charter School Grants

We need leaders who will stop the drain of public funds to corporate pockets. Elect state and local candidates who will direct public funds to public schools. Elect federal candidates not purchased by lobbyists for charter schools.

Letting the "marketplace rule" is inappropriate for public schools. When schools struggle – usually through insufficient resources – we need to help them improve, not close them.
  • “(W)e found that 22 of the 33 charter schools in our review had 36 examples of internal control weaknesses related to the charter schools’ relationships with their CMOs (concerning conflicts of interest, related-party transactions, and insufficient segregation of duties).”
  • (T)hese… internal control weaknesses represent the following significant risks to Department program objectives: (1) financial risk, which is the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse; (2) lack of accountability over Federal funds, which is the risk that, as a result of charter school boards ceding fiscal authority to CMOs, charter school stakeholders… may not have accountability over Federal funds sufficient to ensure compliance with Federal requirements; and (3) performance risk….”
  • “Further, the Department did not implement adequate monitoring procedures that would provide sufficient assurance that it could identify and mitigate the risks specific to charter school relationships with CMOs.”

How Charter Schools Bust Unions
“The initial idea of charter schools was that teachers and communities would have a say in how our schools function so we could better meet the needs of our students. They were supposed to be teacher-led and teacher-driven. But until we have a contract holding them accountable to their promises, they will not be held accountable.”


Sustained Silent Reading: The effects are substantial, it works, and it leads to more reading. A response to Shanahan (2016).

Allowing students to choose what they read and giving them time to read every day really works.
...fourth grade children in Taiwan and Hong Kong who reported doing more independent reading in their first language in school scored higher on the PIRLS 2006 reading test, controlling for students' reading attitude, parents' reading attitude, home education resources, the amount of outside school informational reading done, and the amount of in-class reading aloud done by students.


School board president in Texas defends students who refuse to stand during the national anthem

Here's a principal who understands the first amendment. The constitutional protections of free speech allow us to say and do things that others disagree with. It also allows those who disagree with us to respond.
During an on air interview with WFFA, Carl Sherman, Jr., president of DeSoto Independent School District’s board, defended members of the girls volleyball team and cheerleading squad, who refused to stand during the national anthem at games in protest over recent shootings of African-American men by the police. “Yes there are possibly greater ways to get that message across, however, we are sitting here in 2016 and the messages that were brought forth in the 60’s were somehow lost in translation,” explained Sherman. “Yeah, we can criticize the method but we have to listen to the message.”


The educator exodus: Indiana struggles to keep teachers in-state

Since 2005 the governors and legislators of Indiana have done everything they could to damage the reputation of teachers, remove incentives to become a teacher in Indiana, and make the profession of teaching less attractive.
“The stress that has come about due to high-stakes standardized testing is taking a toll on the retention rate of teachers in the state,” Tyner said. “The Indiana Department of Education needs to continue to work to find a solution to this problem.”


Some Guy In Texas May Be Influencing The Content Of Public School Textbooks In Your State
In one review, which drove me nuts, ERA criticized a book for “political correctness (e.g., anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian bias).” What do they mean by that? Well, they complain about books that supposedly highlight “Meanness Of Whites To People Of Color.”

Under that heading, they list "The People Could Fly,” an acclaimed short story that some Texas 8th graders read from a textbook titled Elements of Literature. ERA’s beef is that this story has an anti-white bias because it’s a “Folk tale about oppressive whites, mistreated slaves in Old South.”

So, this group was offended that this story was being “mean” by misrepresenting white slave owners! According to ERA, it’s “mean” to accurately portray history through literature. Can you imagine? People being “mean” to others because of the color of their skin? Slave owners knew nothing about that, right?

This is merely one example, but there are hundreds of awful reviews on that site that hold up conservative Christians, whites and men as superiors.


At This Point, if You're Still a Donald Trump Supporter, Here's What You Really Are

What would Republicans say if Hillary Clinton had been caught on video saying, "...when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you want. Grab them by the balls."

"What if Barack Obama had five children by three different women?"

When did it become ok for candidates for the Presidency of the U.S. to act like this?
At this point, there’s not even a shred of sane or rational logic anyone can use to defend Donald Trump. While I don’t feel sorry for those who continue to do so, I do pity the fact that there are millions of people who are so deplorable that, even after Friday’s stunning story where he more or less said he believes he has the right to sexually assault women, they still think he should be president.

If these comments don’t drive away a good chunk of his support (which time will tell if it will), then almost nothing is going to.

As Trump said a few months ago, most of his supporters really are mindless sheep who’ll support him no matter what.

However, at this point, if you’re still a supporter of Donald Trump, here’s what you really are: You’re someone who’s cemented your place in history as an individual who we’re all going to look back upon with disgust and shame because you were ignorant enough to support one of the worst presidential candidates in United States history.

This is a man who’s:
  • Mocked a man with disabilities.
  • Attacked the parents of a fallen American hero.
  • Belittled POWs and the war record of Sen. John McCain.
  • Lied about how much money he raised for veterans.
  • Called a former Miss Universe “disgusting” and fat, telling his Twitter followers to find her non-existent sex tape.
  • Accused an American-born federal judge of being unfit to do his job because of his Mexican heritage...
  • ...Re-tweeted anti-African American propaganda created by a white supremacy group.
  • Played dumb about knowing who former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke was...
  • ...Feels he has the right to sexually assault women.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

No bias, No spin, No jargon...sometimes

Chalkbeat, "a nonprofit news organization," says of itself...
Everyone has an opinion about how to fix education, especially for the poorest children. As a nonprofit news organization, we at Chalkbeat offer you solid facts about what is actually happening and what it means, from local reporters who really understand.
No bias, no spin, no jargon.
That self-assessment is true, sometimes. In its daily newsletter, Rise and Shine, Chalkbeat reposts articles focusing on education from a variety of sources...some pro-public education, some pro-"reform."

It's own news stories, however, are often different.

In July, for example, on the occasion of Mike Pence's elevation to the position of V.P. candidate on the Republican ticket, Chalkbeat posted an assessment of his "education record." On Wednesday, following the national debate by the two vice presidential candidates, they reposted the same article in Rise and Shine...
Mike Pence faced Tim Kaine in the only VP debate last night. We've got the story on his (somewhat surprising) record on education.
Here is, in part, what they wrote...
As governor, Pence has supported expanding charter schools and voucher programs. But Pence’s signature education initiative was a push to create the first state-funded preschool program. Despite opposition from many Republican allies in the state legislature, Pence was a staunch advocate for the small preschool pilot program that launched in 2015. [emphasis added]
What is surprising is that Chalkbeat neglected to mention that in 2014 the Indiana Department of Education, under State Superintendent, Glenda Ritz, had applied for a federal grant to fund preschool education which Pence stopped dead in its tracks. He rescinded the application for the $80 million grant which would have brought preschool programs to low-income students. Pence, instead, opted to push for a preschool "pilot" program which would serve students in only 5 of Indiana's 92 counties.

In another move, Pence created a new agency to support his privatization plans, in direct opposition to the State Department of Education. He closed the agency after some political fallout, and then went after the State Superintendent.

Ten times Pence didn’t make Indiana great again
...Pence disenfranchises State Superintendent Glenda Ritz (ongoing)

Before Pence got settled into the governor’s chair, he created the Center for Education and Career Innovation, which became a mirror agency to Ritz’s Department of Education. CECI was just the beginning of the rift between Pence and Ritz. Although he dissolved CECI in 2014, Pence supported the state legislature’s push to weaken Ritz’s office, including attempts to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed position instead of an elected one and removing the superintendent as chair of the Board of Education.
It seems to me that his "signature education initiative" during his term as governor has been to support private education at the expense of public schools, and to disrupt the work of the elected state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz.

And Pence's education plan isn't surprising at all. When he ran for Governor he told the citizens of Indiana that he wanted to privatize public education...and he's worked hard to do that. Since Glenda Ritz ran on a pro-public education platform, the fact that Pence has done everything he could to stand in her way isn't surprising either.

What is surprising about Pence's education record in Indiana? Not much.

And Chalkbeat? It's not surprising that they claim that his "signature education initiative" is a preschool program yet don't mention his thumbing his nose at an $80 million grant which would have done more. They get their support from some of the most powerful "privatizers" in the business...
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Gates Family Foundation
  • The Anschutz Foundation
  • The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • The Walton Family Foundation
Chalkbeat tries, and often succeeds, at being an objective news source for education. Sometimes, however,  the deep pockets of Gates, Walton, and others, show through.