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The point behind the article was that charter schools do some great things too.
It reminded me of a middle aged executive who fell in love with his secretary, and had carried on an affair over years while maintaining his family status, buttressed with a wife and two sons. Who, now that the news was out was sitting with her on her bed, head in hands, looking at losing all in a divorce settlement, being banned from his kids, losing his job on a morality clause, and now, with no future in front of him, for the first time, accepting his responsibility in what he’d done…. Looking at the tears streaming down his face and through his hands, his young, voluptuous secretary tries to console him… “Well, it’s not ALL bad.. Look at it this way… At least the sex was good…”
Kendall Massett’s assertion that we must continue Charter Schools because some good may come out of it, in itself is a losing argument. It ignores the bad. When making decisions, one can’t ignore the bad.
I have found the best way to explain the “charter school versus public school problem” is with a parable. Go figure, but most people will grasp a parable when facts, figures and numbers roll off their eyes and out their ears.
“Once upon a time, there was a loving single dad. A dad who was blessed with one child. He was poor, still paying off the funeral bills for his former wife and the kid’s mother. But they got along ok. There was enough to live on and that’s what they did. However one thing bothered this dad. Being with only one child, the dad had nothing to compare that child to. He questioned himself. Was this dad doing everything he could for his child? So the dad, had a great idea. He would adopt another son of the same age, so they two could compete together. Which ever was the best, would get rewarded first and through the competition his son would eventually get the best upbringing he possibly could. What the Dad did not figure upon, was that feeding two kids cost more than one. He only had enough to feed one. So he came up with a plan that which ever son did better at running around the block each morning got to eat first, and the other got to eat what was left over. Every morning, rain or shine, at 5:30 am, the race would occur. Knowing what was at stake both sons tried their best. Sometimes one won. Sometimes the other. But the Dad began to grow concerned because he was timing the races. Originally he had to rush to get the food ready before the first one burst in. But over time, the found he had more and more and sometimes plenty of time to set the table before the first would come through the door. For some unknown reason, they were running slower and slower and slower. He invited an expert in to see why? The expert asked what he fed the first kid when they were alone. It amounted to 1000 calories. The expert said… “Ah Ha” You are feeding two people on what you fed one. No matter how much running they do, together they can never do what originally one was able.
Kendall Massett doesn’t cover this issue. Obviously common sense would decree that if we are going to have charter schools, we need to fund them independently and not take away the funds from public schools. Trying to make someone do better with less resources may be possible on a percentage scale, but the overall result, will be a loss. If charter schools want to experiment with private or parochial funding, and people want to go there, excellent. We have choice. Likewise, if we increase taxes on the top 1% just to pay the entire budgets of charter schools so that then we can experiment, great, let’s do it and have choice. But to expect better results on half the calories, is impossible. And that is the expectation of what charters will do.
This study of next door Philadelphia, shows that test scores in Philly were collectively higher when there were NO charter schools, then when there were. Meaning that allowing Charter schools to come in and compete with Philly public schools, lowered Philadelphia’s cumulative test score average…. Simply put, in any other venue when two teams compete, they both have independent sponsors. Splitting ones resources to fund two teams competing against each other, well… common sense tells you that when they go up against other teams whose funding was unlimited… they are going to lose badly…
Finally one other factor in Kendall’s piece that burns. When an scientist does experimentation, he throws out all those episodes where something goes wrong and his hypothesis doesn’t work. When you experiment in education, all that “stuff” you throw out, is our own children.
A quick comment on Rhonda Graham’s piece in the News Journal regarding Jea Streets outburst and the Christina School District.
First, the praise. The comment by Shirley was pretty weird, and Rhonda was correct to point that out. Jea Street is not going to turn into Adam Lanza. I believe though, Rhonda mischaracterized the board’s fear was of Jea Street when it was more, over whether his rabid followers would also lose track of reality since their cult leader obviously did in print. The posse were the ones who were feared. We well remember Henry II’s emotional outburst about the Archbishop of Canterbury…. Still, that fear should have been quickly put aside and not been pushed to the press which had the tendency to distract from the real essence of why RTTT is a bad idea.
So that was accurate. On the other hand, she fails to bring up these points in her support of Jea Street.
1) the RTTT and charter programs segregate and discriminate against blacks far worse than the existing system.
2) .Under RTTT and charter programs, test scores are plummeting to new lows.
3) Under RTTT and charter programs, Common Core is pissing off more students against learning than it is teaching.
4) Under the “Broad” trained Superintendents, the mess was made. The current crew is in the process of cleaning it up, and is doing nicely.
5) She neglected to mention that Jea Street is a joke, and is considered one by all who have to work beside him.. Demanding the firing of three of the most competent board members in this century’s history, is grandstanding pure and simple. Jea Street might as well call for Obama to step down, because he didn’t raise taxes high enough the first time… Poppycock and Rhonda should know this.
These absences from her story make her portrayal incomplete….
The reason she neglected to tell her readers that the Christina board was considering to refuse the money being offered by RTTT, was that the strings attached to that sum of money would cost the District more than the money itself.
It is like someone forcing a $20 bill on you that you didn’t need, and loan sharking you for a $50 when you had to pay it back.
Jea Street can’t understand Math. If Rhonda looked a little deeper, she might have realized it….
Eli Broad — the CPA-trained-billionaire-businessman-turned-public-education-reformer — informed Diane Ravitch, a distinguished education expert, about what needs to be done to education in America. . According to Ravitch, “We talked about school reform for an hour or more, and he told me that what was needed to fix the schools was not all that complicated: A tough manager surrounded by smart graduates of business schools and law schools.”
According to Slate quoting Vanity Fair, Eli Broad boasted back in 2006 that he “plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state’s legislature.” He backed the winning slate of candidates for the local board of education in 1999 and helped hire the superintendent.
Eli Broad trains Superintendents. Christina School District has been the unfortunate beneficiary of his largess. Joe Wise, followed by Lillian Lowery, followed by Marcia Lyles, all are from Eli’s School of Superintendencies….Dr. Joe Wise was selected as a Broad Fellow by Eli Broad Institute for School Boards (2005), was appointed to the Eli Broad Urban Superintendents Academy as a Fellow (2003), and serves on the Broad Academy’s adjunct faculty and advisory committee. Although Broad Superintendents come in highly qualified, they often leave disgracefully. Joe Wise, may have been one of the first. Recently, across this nation many Broad Superintendents have been let go. All trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady (class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island, as well as these others from before: Arnold “Woody” Carter (class or 2002), formerly of the Capistrano Unified School District; Thandiwee Peebles,( class of 2002), formerly of the Minneapolis Public School District; and John Q. Porter (class of 2006), formerly of the Oklahoma City Public School District.
Ms. Lillian Lowery (class of 2004), Wise's replacement after supposedly cleaning up Joe Wise's disaster, was put in charge of all Delaware's schools, and now, is in charge of Maryland's. Broad's influence has touched every Delaware Student… and is about to touch all those of Maryland.
Our current head of the Department of Education, Mark Murphy, hails from a group NLNS funded by Eli Broad
If this was a good thing, it would be good.
So, what is the Broad influence?
Here is one take. It is one of the three influencers of education. Along with the Gates Foundation and the Walton's, it exerts a powerful influence, good or bad. It calls itself a venture philanthropy, as in venture capitalist. Meaning it invests in philanthropy expecting to yield a return on its investment. As an example, it can fund a study that says computers will help inner city kids learn, then sell those recommended computers to that school district.
Here is how it infiltrates a school district. Christina School District to be exact…
The Broad Foundation plants one of its elements in a school district, it is then highly likely they will plant another one along with it, so their influence is maximized.
For instance, an element might be:
- The presence of a Broad-trained superintendent
- The placement of Broad Residents into important central office positions
- An "invitation" to participate in a program spawned by the Foundation (such as CRSS's Reform Governance in Action program)
- Offering to provide the district with a free "Performance Management Diagnostic and Planning" experience
The Broad Foundation likes to infiltrate its targets on multiple levels so it can manipulate a wider field and cause the greatest amount of disruption. Venture edu-philanthropists like Gates and Broad proudly call this invasive and destabilizing strategy “investing in a disruptive force.” To these billionaires and their henchmen, causing massive disruption in communities across the nation is not a big deal.
The Broad Foundation has spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.”
That sounds nice. So let us look closer….
The signature effort of the Broad Foundation is its investment in its training programs…The Broad Superintendents Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.
The Broad Superintendents Academy’s weekend training course provides an “alternative” certification process which has come to supplant or override the typical regulations in many states that require that individuals have years of experience as a teacher and principal before being installed as a school district superintendents….
The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a two-year program, during which individuals with MBAs, JDs, etc. in the early stages of their careers are placed in high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, or state and federal departments of education. The Broad Center subsidizes approximately 33 percent of each Resident’s salary.
The Broad Foundation founded the New York City Leadership Academy, which trains individuals to serve as principals in the city public schools, several of whose graduates have been accused of financial misconduct, as well as arbitrary and dictatorial treatment of teachers, students and parents. This was recently featured by Delaware’s WDDE reporting on Reshid Walker who is training in Cape Henelopen under the Delaware Leadership Project. DLP is an alternate certification program that this year is preparing six candidates to work as principals or assistant principals at public schools serving high-risk students in Delaware. Alternate Certification means it sidesteps requirements that a principal has to have stepped foot inside a school before. Through four days a week of on-the-job training, and no certification from an accredited college or university, he will soon be in command of your child’s education.
The Broad Institute for School Boards provides three training programs for elected school board members and non-Broad-trained superintendents conducted in partnership with the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS). The Institute trains new board members at a one-week summer residential setting…The Broad Foundation underwrites 80 percent of all program costs through a grant to CRSS.
The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools). In addition, the foundation offers free diagnostic “audits” to school districts, along with recommendations aligned with its policy preferences. It produces a number of guides and toolkits for school districts, including a “School Closure Guide,” based on the experiences of Broad-trained administrators involved in closing schools in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade County, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle…..
Closing public schools to open opportunities for charters seems to be it’s prime directive. Although not officially enshrined as such, it does seem to be the consistent pattern of each of its graduates.
The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization…
Eli Broad has said he “expects to be a major contributor” to Students First, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for the expansion of charters, vouchers, and an end to seniority protections for teachers. The pro-Rhee biography, The Bee Eater, was subsidized by the Broad Foundation as is mentioned on the book jacket.
Of course, there are campaign contributions (you will need to type in Broad, Eli) to facilitate the corporatizing of education… A quick look certifies that his coverage is a who’s who across party lines in Congress. Obviously there will be support for Charters streaming down from the top lines of government.
Ok, so how does all of this affect Delaware’s public school’s families?….
One of the tenets of his philosophy taught to his graduates, is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.
A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests. A long laundry list of Broad Supertendants run out of town can be found here, near the bottom. But you can get an idea of what to expect, from just this one: Robert Bobb (class of 2005), the Emergency Financial Manager of the Detroit Public Schools, recently sent layoff notices to every one of the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all its teachers, and said that nearly a third of the district’s schools would be closed or turned over to private charter operators. At a recent town hall which Bobb had called so he could go over his plan, angry students, parents, and teachers drove him from the meeting. He was escorted out by his six bodyguards….
Disruption and chaos indeed…..
Delaware is fortunate to have a large parenting network of watch dogs who communicate well with legislators. Whereas the Christina District has had a rough go with Broad graduates, the rest of the state has so far been unscathed…..
Without the oversight being provided by parents and teachers watchdog organizations, the fate of Delaware’s students might be that of Philadelphia, Chicago, or Detroit.
if you are a parent or know one, you probably feel this way as well. Parents Across America considers Broad’s influence to be inherently undemocratic, as it disenfranchises parents and other stakeholders in an effort to privatize our public schools and imposes corporate-style policies without our consent. We strongly oppose allowing our nation’s education policy to be driven by billionaires who have no education expertise, who do not send their own children to public schools, and whose particular biases and policy preferences are damaging our children’s ability to receive a quality education.
In fact, this entire philosophy of forcing change upon children, strikes every parent as coming from those types of people we all run across, … who hate children…. “Someone smack that kid who’s crying.”
Amen And Amen.
I agree with you. If we’re going to tie teacher’s salaries/job security to tests, the only two choices are massive test prep/teaching to the test (which is still no guarantee of higher scores) or cheating. When people’s livelihoods depend on high test scores, which they have no direct control over, they’re going to do what it takes because they have to survive.
The error is not something we can pull out of the tests. The tests are designed to differentiate between schools.
For example, if School A gets every answer correct on a standardized test, and School B gets every answer correct on the same test, which school is the better?
Therefore, the tests have to be hard so not all the questions are answered correct. Now if school A gets 60% correct and School B gets 59.5% correct, we can say School A is slightly better than School. B.
Using these very difficult tests to evaluate our students is just unfair. They are not designed for that purpose. Instead, tests which consist of all the requirements they need to know, should be given and easily passed.
To make a teacher’s job depend upon such a test, which truly as everyone knows is an event they have no control over, dooms American education to these two things:
One, either the test becomes the sole focus of all education, and the tests are not currently being used for that purpose, or.
Cheating is done, and all administrators look the other way….
There is no other alternative. Teaching broad based knowledge like we had has children, where we were allowed to ask questions, where the teacher can go off tangents if “a bird flies into the room”, where there is a bond between teacher and student built upon trust and respect, … may educate our children to where they need to be,… while getting the teacher fired…..
I’m not saying get rid of the tests. We have the systems in place; they are a great evaluative tool. As one example, they can pinpoint out groups of students who are strong in all math skills except for division… We can now fix it.
But let us divorce using these tools meant for another purpose; let us stop using them to become the sole reason we fire unionized tenured teachers….
We need to divorce all teachers performance from being evaluated from these tests… Let’s get back to teaching the things that are really important..
I’m not going to embarrass the pants off Jea Street by pointing him out… If you know him, or of him, you’ll know whom I’m talking about. If you don’t, he could be anyone, sitting in the audience of your districts Board of Education Meeting…
But, Jea Street just did a very dumb thing. He fires off a public letter calling for the firing of three Christina School Board members calling them super “obstructionists”…
Really. Super obstructionists? Is that like Superman? Wouldn’t it have been smarter to call them Spider obstructionists? Like Spiderman? Or Bat obstructionists? Like Batman? or Under obstructionists, “like little olde me,…….. Underdog”.
Look, Jea Street!…. It’s a frog….. A F-R-O-G?
This isn’t a “new” or “confused” Jea Street. This is the Jea Street from decades ago hammered Red Clay and who so concerned the Red Clay Board that they had rent-a-cops attend board meetings. This is the Jea street who hammered everyone within earshot about achieving racial equality. This is the Jea Street who never opened his mouth when the shining lights of state and district politics (were any minorities of note involved in this?) went for and obtained Charter, Choice, and Neighborhood Schools. This is the Jea Street I always considered racist and have not seen any change in his position on that. This is the Jea Street who had to be aware of what was happening to Warner and all the kids there in recent years – and said nothing. This is the Jea Street who watched as Red Clay designed and implemented a racially divided district – and said nothing. So, the only conclusion I can draw from this is: What’s in it for Jea Street? — Adam Smith, aka Batman.
Did the councilman really just invite any whack job in Delaware to seek out school board members and deal with them as if they were weapons of mass destruction? Line crossing? (Translated: show up at your efffin board of education with an AR 15 and whack the m–fu–ers.) Django aka Django.
I used to simply feel sorry for this guy until I saw him act in person worse than he acts with pen in hand at the GABMAAFWF govt School (not education) Choice event at Woodlawn Library a few months ago. Now I have a tremendous and somewhat fearful distaste for his self serving rants and sanctimonious rage. His is the most dangerous of several common actions of the all too common race pimp class of citizens. Peter Parker aka Spiderman.
And to think some thought The Jea Street was the latest dance. It’s the “Hustle” all over again. Clark Kent aka Superman.
This is the jea who watched high ranking 100K admins in RC and CSD help keep it quiet for years. some were paid directly by the districts, others had companies with contracts! it is disgusting at every level. What has happened in education in DE is comparable to the robbery the banks and defense contractors have done to the public. Alfred…. (Butler to Adam Smith.)
(If you don’t now know who jea street is, he is the little guy driving the tank in the video linked above…….) Now, I don’t know Jea Street or care to really, after the ringing endorsements his actions have resonated, but since I have a hard time remembering faces, I use cartoons… In this case, Jea Street is close to “J Street” which as most know, is right beside “K Street” in Washington DC.
This is fitting. ”J Street” (which I will call him/her for the rest of this highly educational and scientific article) is carrying water for the Lobbyists of Pure-Profit Management of Public Schools (PMS)….. When “J Street” slips under the influence of PMS he gets wild and loose with facts. He gets emotional; PMS will do that to a person…..
This preposterous decision destines the resolution for failure and guarantees continuation of the District’s modus operandi of ongoing discrimination that I have been complaining bout since Novermber 17, 2005…
(Note to Reader: ”J Street” has forgotten with his temporary amnesia the two African American superintendents who PRECEEDED Dr. Williams and were in place during the OCR fiasco…one of whom is Maryland’s current State Superintendent of Education, Lillian Lowery.) PMS does make you forget important things…..
(Note to Reader: Mr. Evans had run for that position the previous election and had been thumped, repudiated, and badly beaten like a chump if I remember correctly, by a 10 to 1 margin. Upon hearing that his opponent had resigned, Mr Evans made himself the only person available for that position. The board felt that someone so rejected by parents of students in that district, could only do harm by being allowed to sit in that position for if he were allowed on as a voting member, it could set up court challenges in the future for everything the board did from that point onward..) PMS seems to have made “J Street” forgetful here as well.
(Note to Reader: Across this nation, many districts are opting out of RTTT because it simply costs more to achieve, than the funds one is given. Of all the districts in this state, Christina first recognized this, and in order not to be forced to spend far more than they get, they are negotiating with the Department of Education for leeway in using the funding in ways that wouldn’t cost the district more to use the money. Meaning it is actually cheaper, NOT to accept RTTT funding, and therefore NOT implement all the costly purchases required by RTTT, This frees up money which can be used on things like educating children inside the inner city, something which has been put on hold, since RTTT began.) This of course cannot be comprehended when one as PMS.
Apparently, “J Street” is being manipulated by “K Street” to intimidate the board of Christina. ”K Street” feels that refusing to buy products from only certain firms sanctioned by the state as official suppliers, and using that money to actually help children learn, instead of line their pockets, is an outrage. Unfortunately. For a rich man to scream… “I’m not wealthy enough! Buy my ‘effin’ product” turns people off. But that is no problem for them, as long as their neighbor “j street” will do it for them and …yes… blame it on race, even though those guilty, were all Afro-Americans…..
In case you missed it above…. “J Street” is the guy driving the tank..
It simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called reform movement. Indeed, to state that pervasive assumption out loud is to reveal how utterly idiotic it really is, and yet it is baked into almost all of today’s coverage of education politics.
I’m not sure if I got this right, but it appears with the shuffling of cabinet positions, something dropped through the cracks… Ie, that with the lashing out at certain high needs districts to maintain turnover, that turnover was cause by orders to fire certain teachers coming from the Department of Education itself….
John Young has more on his site…
Where do you draw the line? This piece will philosophically roam a little I’m afraid because there is no set answer, just an amorphous mess that defies confinement if that makes sense. If it doesn’t…. here is hoping it will near the end of this writing… :)
If you can’t guess what the image is in the heading, try imagining a horizontal volume control like what is displayed in most car radios these days. On it we have unlimited choices across the realm of what we can hear and we choose where we want to draw the line….
I was reminded of this by a soon to be famous video about Seattle’s schools standing up to Kafkaesque craziness the wealthy and corporate America are foisting upon education. The video starts out with a teacher giving this analogy….
It is as if a mechanic’s boss told his mechanic to put on an inferior brake instead of one the customer had requested. The customer will not take off the wheels to inspect. The mechanic says those brake shoes have problems, they fail. they could kill. The boss says, that’s just hype. They work in China all the time. Put them on….
Now look at the scale above…… In a child’s world of right and wrong we would all expect the mechanic to say “that was wrong” and refuse to do it…. So what if he loses his job? A child would say he should still not do what was wrong and cause someone’s death… But how many of you have had to do what the boss wanted because you were in no shape to state otherwise?
That is where the sliding scale begins to come in play…. If the mechanic refuses, and boss comes out and says, “leave right now, You were insubordinate and I just fired you”…. his spouse is going to say…”What, now we have no money. Why didn’t you just put the damn things on!” His parents are going to say..” Kid, sometimes an adult has to make adult decisions. It doesn’t matter what right or wrong is; it matters what right or wrong is for you. Sorry, can’t help you”. His future job interviewer is going to say; “your former boss said he fired you for insubordination and you have a no re-hire attached to your name. Sorry, can’t hire you.” And your drinking buddies are going to say; ”Oh as soon as you left, he got Jacobson to put those cheap brakes on anyway. You lost your job for nothing…” The arbitrator at your unemployment hearing is going to say “We found the charges of insubordination substantiated; repeal denied.”…. No job. No money. Hungry family.
So standing up for what is right really doesn’t pay in today’s corporate controlled world, now. Does it? It is good story, but works lousy in real life.
So on the slider above, where would you fall? Where would you be? If you try to act like you would refuse to do wrong, you are probably a liar. If you swear you will always do the right and moral thing, you are naive, and probably also a liar. If you insist you would stand up to that boss, you are a simpleton who really doesn’t know much about life, and don’t need the job to survive.
So on the slider unit above, if the far left is standing up for what is right and immediately refusing and the far right is willingly follow the bosses direction right away… which would be you?
Probably for the most part you would be somewhere in the middle, you will say so if you are being true to yourself… You would probably argue once, twice, or maybe three times against it, and you might agree in theory, but in work, not follow through with that agreement, or you might just say “ok boss” and then still install the good brake pads.
But if you did, what about the next time. What about the discrepancy in inventory? Sooner or later it will catch up to you… And then you’ll be fired.
Or you could decided that you follow orders and if your boss made such an order, all results would have to fall on him and not you, and if anyone was to be liable and get caught up if any harm came out of it, it would be him; so you would follow his command and install the inferior parts…
If you are trying to figure out a way to win this, to come up with a perfect spot on this horizontal dial whether it is the far right, far left, center, middle right, middle left, sadly there isn’t a right way… For depending on which way you view the problem, both are right…. As you go to the right, you look bad from the left. As you go to the left, you look bad from the right. If you are in the middle, you look bad to both, just not as bad as the others at the far end of the spectrum…
There is no way to win.
Except to have the boss never ask you to substitute cheap parts instead of ones ordered by the car’s owner….
That is the trick.
Now here is what we are being asked to do.
- Lower our standards of education for all students.
- Eliminate tuition for all veterans returning from Afghanistan.
- 125,000 individuals and families put at risk of becoming homeless
- 100,000 formerly homeless people might be removed from emergency shelters or other housing arrangements
- Defer maintenance and leave highly necessary staff vacancies open.
- Because rents are so high, many of these families may, quite literally, find themselves out on the street.
- Significant cuts, including ones that deliver hot meals to the elderly and another that helps pregnant women.
- Cuts to the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children known as WIC, which provides food and baby formula for at-risk families. 775,000 low-income women and their children might lose access to or be denied that aid because of the mandatory cuts…
- Cuts to programs that aid children with special needs; job-training programs that help unemployed people find a new career; foreclosure prevention services; and programs that help 150,000 veterans every year make the transition into the nonmilitary work force.
- Reduction in jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed..
- Cut 20% of every military person’s pay.
And why are we being asked to do this? So the financier’s of the Republican Party like the brake business owner, can make more money……
But this time we do have a choice…. We hire and fire the boss…. Should we fire the Republican bosses? And replace them with those who have still carry American morals, and not third world ones?
Where do you want your children to see you, when they look at the sliding moral scale above?
Another hot button in both No Child Left Behind and the Race To The Top, is the teacher accountability piece as is related to the value added component.
I’m for the value added component. I recommended it be enacted decades ago. What that does is measure the ability of a child in September; and measure that child (through testing) in May, and if there is any difference, .. that child learned… The teacher gets credit for adding value or more to that child’s knowledge, It lets us know who is teaching well.
Because face it: personality polls by students don’t work: easy teachers get high marks. Administration evaluations don’t work: brown nosers get good scores. A final test doesn’t work. Those with good students coming in, look like great teachers; those with problem students coming in, look like problem teachers…
So to determine who was best at dicing apart knowledge in just the right way, so children could take the pieces and build them into structures of knowledge, one needed to test the beginning and test the end….
Of course, I developed this idea long before corporate entities had a stake in failing a district in order to print and sell more tests… Of course, this idea was up and running long before anti-unionists saw artificially low scores, could turn the public against their teacher and the teacher’s unions. And yes, this was before charter schools, or education for profit, was as big and as pushed for as it is today… ….
I saw it as a way of improvement…. There is a reason old teachers have better results than teachers coming right out of school… They learned tricks over time. Through trial and error, they developed their own best way…. Someone new and just out of the gate, has to take the theories they were given in class, and try them… some are worth something, other won’t be, but only time and coaching will give them, each new teacher, their own best way.
So for a new first year teacher to learn that they are very good in English, but not so good in Math, is indispensable for that teacher’s development!
It didn’t turn out that way!
We the theorists, approached the legislatures and what we thought were helpful corporatists, with this novel method of measurement that would require their funding to implement. Test for the value added by each teacher….
What we didn’t expect, was this would somehow be pirated by those whose goal was to destroy the public education system and replace it with a privately funded one….
So accountability or a tool to improve one’s teaching, somehow became subverted into a weapon one could wield to weed out any teacher who answered to a higher cause, other than improving the advancement of their supervisor….
Those supervisors tend to be a lot higher up than one’s principal……
So here is Mr. Principal’s Amorphous Catch-22.
Principals are caught in the middle: they want to offer frank feedback but are all too aware that any criticism is a black mark that can be used to deny a teacher’s contract renewal or tenure. In this case, killing two birds with one stone—when those birds have about as much in common as a penguin and a pigeon—is extraordinarily ineffective….
So the principal is kept from giving honest value added feedback to potentially a marvelous teacher, because if he does, she gets fired….
How does this move us forward in improving our children’s education, can anyone tell me?
There are ways around it. And good principals do it. As anyone in a corporate environment knows, a good boss is one who protects his good workers from the confusions up the ladder…
The best way to handle an evaluation in this environment is to bring in a teacher for a conference, tell her you already did the evaluations on paper for the state, and hand it too her. Most likely it will be favorable since you weren’t bent of firing her. Tell her the consequences pro and con of the evaluation, either a raise, or demotion…
And then, put it aside, and say, these very important words….” that was for them, and the rest of this is for you... This is strictly off the record… ” At this point the principal sincerely points to ways he thinks each teacher can improve, and listens to their frustrations and figures out his part in clearing away the obstacles beyond her control…. In other words together they have a good business meeting designed around developing ways tobetter improve the education of their charges..
Where you have principals who are good in this type of duplicity, you get good results. They form the team that works together, they constantly improve year after year, Guess who benefits the most? Kids.
Of course compare that to the Republican model of administrator, a person who is cursed with the fervor of accounting for everything, who fires half his staff every year because they aren’t prefect enough for him. Of course, … his student’s results plummet every year… There is no carryover year after year!
But ironically, in today’s mad state of affairs, this person is the hero because he is firing people who despite tremendous effort, simply weren’t absolutely and unequivocally perfect at that certain time and place….. I don’t know about you, but I think it is time we parents, teachers, and local citizen controlled school boards work to change the goals of who should be fired first, and instead, fire administrators based on how well kids aren’t learning and not based on how many teachers they can find to fire….
Are you not up to speed on what I’m talking about? Well then, I wasn’t either before a little while ago, but before you go further, if you haven’t read this article in today’s New York Times, you probably should. This is the background on the pros and cons affecting our schooling this upcoming decade…..
The second paragraph is where the hook punctured my lip…. .
“He has written two books on classroom practice and at one point helped train new corps members for Teach for America. For years, he was a proponent of the program, albeit one with the occasional quibble.”
“Then, in 2010, Mr. Rubinstein underwent a sea change. As he grew suspicious of some of the data used to promote charter schools, be became critical of Teach for America and the broader reform movement. (The education scholar Diane Ravitch famously made a similar shift around this time.)”
“Mr. Rubinstein, who knows how to crunch numbers, noticed that, at many charter schools student test scores and graduation rates didn’t always add up to what the schools claimed. He was also alarmed by what he viewed as misguided reforms like an overreliance on crude standardized tests that measure students’ yearly academic “growth” and teacher performance.”
The article then goes forward to explain that just as we divided politics into two camps who now don’t talk to each other…. we are doing the exact same to education.
I’m incline to believe it.
So did this researcher…
“Michael Petrilli, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a pro-charter education analyst with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, worries about this lack of exchange. He recently conducted an analysis of Twitter and the tens of thousands of followers of Ms. Rhee, who is pro-charter, and Ms. Ravitch, who is anti-charter, and discovered that only 10 percent overlapped. Just as conservatives gravitate to Fox News and liberals to MSNBC to hear their preconceived notions and biases confirmed, Mr. Petrilli speculates that those in education are now preaching solely to the converted, a phenomenon known in the media world as “narrowcasting.”
“Worse, in Mr. Petrilli’s view, those who follow Ms. Rhee tend to describe themselves in their Twitter profiles as policy makers or otherwise removed from the immediate realities of the classroom, while Ms. Ravitch’s devotees are typically self-identified practitioners: principals and teachers on education’s front lines. Surely these folks should be talking to one another, but in Mr. Petrilli’s experience, they often aren’t.”
And therein we have the core of our problem. Just as we currently have division within our Federal Government where both sides talk only to their own camps, then yell across a chasm at the opposition, we are getting to that same atmosphere in the field of education….
Rhea versus Savitch. Just like a presidential race. In politics the immense amount of loose money keeping the Republican Party alive comes from a very few people. The Democratic Party can only effectively compete because of its massive large numbers of human beings who work the front line. It is very similar now between corporations versus teachers/principals. It was only a matter of time before the contamination of money permeating inside the House and Senate, would spill over into the field of education.
It obviously has… Teachers are being tagged as liberals and being attacked with bad ratings if they work in conservative states, and Charter Schools as well as teacher evaluations, are being killed before birth in states that are far more progressive and unionized…
What if, both had strong possible options that they could bring to the table? What if, the combination of the best of both camps was the one way to lead us to a very good educational system?
It is not that hard to envision. If we developed a common curriculum, let teachers teach those items using their personalities, used corporate investment money to fund the constant upgrading of computer power and access points, and then tracked the results in a fair way free from subjective interpretation, Delaware definitely would improve upon the path we’ve taken.
We need to use the talent of teachers in our race to the top. The obvious thing that is holding us back, is that piece of the arbitrary rating system which appears not to accept that in the field of education, things often happen that are beyond a teacher’s control, like not enough computers to take ones tests at the proper time…
Education is too important to have it go the way of politics… Education IS our national future.
Which is why I still think that over these next two weeks, every teacher needs to fill out the survey being asked by the DOE. This appears their critical moment to make a difference in the outcome. But for it to be believable, it needs to be filled out by every teacher, and then a copy needs to get surreptitiously sent to the DSEA for verification purposes…
After all, when it comes to children, teachers are the experts. They know their kids. And monetary investment is sorely needed. Very much so. The Republican decade of starving our schools to keep taxes low, has left no meat on the bones at all….
We need both. We need input from both… And the next step to progress is very simple…. Fill out the survey, take a screen shot of it, then email that attachment to the DSEA… We need every teacher in every Delaware classroom to follow suit.
If Delaware can show the rest of America that teachers and corporations can work together, that it can be done, then despite the bickering going on elsewhere, here there will be one example or proof positive of how it can be done. There is hope for the entire country.
But right now, just think of your classrooms. Make that step to reach out in a positive way and fill out the DOE survey…… It will only matter if every teacher does it…