"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

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2020 Medley #20

The US is broken, Privatization gets money,
Vulture capitalists, Fake news,
Reopening gamble,
Educational decisions without teachers


Trump exploits Biden’s charter school silence

Margaret Fortune of the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools calls out the President for lying about former Vice President Biden's plan for charter schools. The comment by the current occupant of the White House that Biden wants to close all charter schools has been debunked over and over again, though this will hardly stop him lying about it...nor will it stop his base from believing him.

In any case, Fortune continues by making a misstatement of her own when she talks about public schools in Black neighborhoods being "broken."

It's true that public schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, especially neighborhoods filled with Black and Brown children, are generally not as successful as schools in higher-income areas, but the problem is the larger society's inability (or unwillingness) to overcome poverty. The problem is the racism and classism inherent in the social structure of the US. Why is it that test scores in low-income schools are lower than in wealthy schools? Are all the schools in low-income neighborhoods bad and all the schools in high-income neighborhoods good?

No. It's because...
  • standardized testing which we use to "grade" our schools are culturally and racially biased (see here, here, here, and here).
  • poverty affects children's ability to learn and achieve (see here, here, here, and here). 
Children of color in the US have been denied equal opportunities compared to their white counterparts for more than 400 years. Diverting much-needed funding from the public schools for their inability to solve the centuries-old problem of racism isn't going to make the issue go away.

From Politico
Before an audience of nearly 24 million viewers, Trump said during his Republican National Convention speech that Biden has vowed to “close all charter schools, ripping away the ladder of opportunity for Black and Hispanic children.”

The president's claim is not true, and Trump has not been a reliable charter school ally himself. But Biden isn’t making a big show of countering that accusation or bearhugging the charter community either, after support for the schools took a beating during the Democratic presidential primary. Boxed in by that progressive tide, the former vice president may be creating an opening for Trump to woo parents of color — and on an issue considered part of President Barack Obama’s legacy.

“I could never believe a Donald Trump on the television, trying to exploit the desperation of Black families who need a better option for their kids because the public schools in their neighborhoods are broken,” said Margaret Fortune, co-chair of Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools. “But it also moves me to deep concern that Joe Biden would hand him that narrative, by being silent on the issue.”


Private and Charter Schools Receive Approximately $5.7 Billion in PPP Loans, Raising Questions About Equity in Education

While public schools are threatened with cuts, private schools (mostly parochial) and charter schools get more than five times the funding from the CARES Act.

From COVID Stimulus Watch
Our review revealed that approximately 1,200 charter schools and 5,400 private schools received an estimated $1.3 billion and $4.5 billion in PPP loans, respectively—averaging $855,000 per school. In contrast, other parts of the CARES Act allocate only $13.2 billion for all of the 98,158 public schools in the country, or $134,500 per school. In other words, private and charter schools are getting six times more per facility than public schools.

This gap will likely widen, as charter and private schools are also entitled to a portion of federal funding for public education. Additional analysis will be needed to determine the exact size of this gap, but there is clearly a significant disparity in CARES Act funding for different kinds of schools.


Ed Tech Cashes In on the Pandemic

When the pandemic hit, the vultures moved in. If you've never read The Shock Doctrine, now is the time.

From The American Prospect
Ed tech companies lost no time moving in. “When the pandemic hit, right away we got a list of all these technology companies that make education software that were offering free access to their products for the duration of the coronavirus crisis,” said Gordon Lafer, political economist at the University of Oregon and a member of his local school board. “They pitch these offerings as stepping up to help out the country in a moment of crisis. But it’s also like coke dealers handing out free samples.” ...

For the past two decades, ed tech has been pushing into public schools, convincing districts to invest in tablets, software, online programs, assessment tools. Many superintendents have allowed these incursions, directing funding to technology that might have been better spent on human resources, teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians (up to $5.6 billion of school technology purchased sits unused, according to a 2019 analysis in EdWeek Market Brief). Now the pandemic has provided ed tech a “golden opportunity,” a “tailwind” (these are the terms we hear): Michael Moe, head of the venture capitalist group Global Silicon Valley, says: “We see the education industry today as the health care industry of 30 years ago.” Not a happy thought.


91 Examples of Americans At Odds About Covid-19 as Students Start School

The US is a post-truth society. We no longer have facts common to us all. We only have the facts of our own little bubble of news and information. Republicans have one set of facts. Democrats have another. Even the health of the nation suffers from partisan bickering.

From Nancy Bailey's Education Website
  1. Schools are not safe. Students should learn remotely.
  2. Send students back to school; it’s more dangerous if they stay home.
  3. Make sure students wear masks.
  4. I would not want to wear a mask if I was a kid.
  5. Teachers who make children wear masks are sheep.
  6. Forcing us to wear masks is tyranny!
  7. Masks are disgusting!
  8. Teachers don’t realize that Covid-19 is a hoax.
  9. Covid-19 is real, but it is not as bad as they say. It is over-reported.
  10. Covid-19 is worse than they say. It’s under-reported.


The School Reopening Gamble

America's schoolchildren and their teachers are the pawns in the political games of adults.

From Jersey Jazzman
In the next week or so, school districts all over the country will reopen their buildings as their new year begins. During our pre-service training, a teacher colleague of mine described the process as a “grand experiment.”

But he’s wrong; it’s not an experiment. It’s a gamble.

An experiment, by definition, is a controlled, scientific procedure designed to gain knowledge. When a researcher conducts an experiment, they try, as much as possible, to control for outside factors that may affect an outcome. The goal is to see relationships between causes and effects, and better understand how the world works.

A gamble, on the other hand, is a risky action taken with the hopes of getting a favorable result. A gambler isn’t trying to learn anything – all they want is a win.


“Teachers Can Turn This Thing Around” – Not Billionaires, Private Interests, Or ALEC-Aligned Stooges

Educational decisions are being made without the input of educators. Does this surprise you? It shouldn't. It's been going on for years.

From Caffeinated Rage
It’s kind of like re-imagining health care without input from health care professionals or receiving marital advice from someone who has never been in a long-term relationship. It’s like getting counseling from someone who cannot even empathize with your situation.

But with the end of the traditional school year coming and the need to start talking about how we will proceed with fall, it is apparent that the input of teachers is paramount.

Why? Because “Teachers Can Turn This Thing Around.”

And don’t forget to vote this November.


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