This article really got my blood boiling. To think that student promotion and teachers' livelihoods are in the hands of low paid temps that glance over 200 essays a day is a fucking insult.
Eventually, DiMaggio got used to not asking questions. He got used to skimming the essays as fast as possible, glancing over the responses for about two minutes apiece before clicking a score.
Every so often, though, his thoughts would drift to the school in Arkansas or Ohio or Pennsylvania. If they only knew what was going on behind the scenes.
"The legitimacy of testing is being taken for granted," he says. "It's a farce."
Farley now understood the reasons why, when he'd been a scorer, his team leaders would tell the room he wanted to start seeing more 3s or 4s or whatever. Supervisors were expected to turn the test scores into a nice bell curve. If his room did not agree at least 80 percent of the time, the tests would be taken back and re-graded, wasting time and money. The supervisor would be put on probation or demoted.
Far-right conservatives have been pushing vouchers for years as a way to dismantle public schools and fund parochial schools. But Scott's proposal may be the first to propose using vouchers as a way of also cutting taxes...
As soon as the state starts handing families $5500 a year, it's virtually assured that enterprising thieves will devise various schemes to help them part with those funds, including by starting "independent" for-profit virtual schools, charter schools, and other predatory "educational" institutions...putting that much taxpayer money out there without adequate oversight (i.e. bureaucracy) is a formula for disaster.
It's not just a hypothetical harm, as charter schools in many states have demonstrated. Charter schools get paid by the number of kids they enroll, and they are free from much of the bureaucracy Republicans like to bash so much. All that money mixed with all that freedom hasn't produced much in the way of an education boost: Charter schools perform no better and often much worse than traditional ones. But they have produced a bumper crop of fraudsters.
Even so, Scott appears ready to liberate public school parents to take their money anywhere they like, especially to online schools—a new cause célèbre for Jeb Bush, who recently launched an advocacy project called Digital Learning Now! to lobby against barriers to online public schools.
One of the hallmarks of Scott's education reform plan is the idea that many kids don't need to go to school at all; they can learn everything they need to in virtual classrooms. Online schools offer many cost-saving advantages, but unfortunately many of them are so bad that even the military won't take people who graduate from them. Online schools also seem even more vulnerable to fraud than regular old charter schools.
Cathie Black's only tie with education and Mayor Moneybags' "Poster child" of ed reform: Harlem Village Academy
1. 30%-50% teacher turnover rate every year.
2. 40% ELA pass rate
3. 78 students started fifth grade, only 19 left by the time they reached 8th grade
Why is it so popular with ed reformers?
The CEO makes $500k, much of it from public money, while only overseeing 450 students.
It doesn't get better than that for these modern-day carpetbaggers.
From the article:
Strict rules at Crown Heights charter school put 16% of students in detention every day
On an average day, one in six kids - about 50 - in the 300-student school stays after class, Achievement First officials said.
1. This school is trying to weed out needy students, so it can look good when test time comes around. (Those kids go back to public school by the way.)
2. When urban black and latino kids struggle, the latest educational trend is for outsiders to come in and bring "tough love" with mostly lousy results. Poverty pimps indeed.
Here is a link to the article:
Here is a link to the schools scores:
Here is a link to Achievement First's leadership team. Notice anything?
The Bloomberg administration short changes the students and parents of NYC by letting many schools deteriorate. Then it labels them failures and closes them.
Many of these "failing" schools are overcrowded, lack the basic tools of learning such as libraries and textbooks. Students learn in stairwells and closets. Some schools are infested with vermin.
It's a huge scam that in the end will hand over control of public education to private corporations. Watch the video. It's only 10 minutes and well worth it.
"I can't help but think that Dr. King (or Rosa Parks, Ella Baker or Bayard Rustin) would not sign up with Bill Gates, Goldman Sachs, and the owners of Wal-Mart for such a "movement". King once said, "the enemies of the Negro are the enemies of labor." We teach children that King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, but we forget that he was there to support black workers on strike, fighting for a union. We teach children to memorize his "I Have a Dream" speech, but forget that it was first delivered in a United Auto Workers hall."
From the New York Amsterdam News a local paper covering Harlem, New York City.
Charter school not making the grade
By Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News Editor and
By Cyril Josh Barker, Amsterdam News Staff
Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010 12:05 AM EDT
Who’d have thunk it? When Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrestled school control from the Board of Education in 2002, he said a near Nirvana would ensue in the New York public school system; thousands of parents – perhaps close to 1.1 million schools kids, may beg to differ.
The release last week of the report card for the city’s schools show a drop in the grades, which have the uber hyped charter schools doing even worse...
“Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein have failed,” said City Councilman Charles Barron, the former chair of the City Council’s Education Committee. “The test scores prove that we right all along. Scores dropped 26 percent in reading and 28 percent in math. This at a time when they turned our schools into test taking mills, with test prep every other period. There’s no arts, no music, no science labs, no extra curricular activities. Then they have the nerve to push charter schools, which the test scores show have not been as successful as they claim. Even the banner school – Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children Zone did not fair as well as they declared.”...
Of the schools that made a “C” was the famed charter school Harlem Children’s Zone/Promise Academy II, which had a higher grade last year.
On the school’s report card, the DOE said that while HCZ, which is ran by celebrated educator Geoffrey Canada, had superior performance in school environment and student performance, student progress received an “F” grade.
Student progress measures median student improvement from last year to this year in English Language Arts and math. HCZ received a score of 10.6 out of 60 in the progress area...
The grade has reopened the conversation on charter schools as a better choice for the city’s children. Mayor Michael Bloomberg aims to open 100 charter schools at the same time the report card reveals that charter schools underperformed district schools...
“These scores remind us that we should never believe the hype, that we should scrutinize what we are being told,” said Sen. Bill Perkins. “Our children deserve a state of the art education, and the results show that we are not getting this, even in the places that are bragging that superman has arrived,” said Perkins referencing the documentary film “Waiting for Superman.”
“Where there is success we should celebrate it; but we have those models in the public school system too. You have PS180 in Harlem, with Principal Peter McFarlane. But they don’t look at those types of schools to see what the leadership is doing there and try and to replicate it in other schools. The charter school movement is trying to undermine public schools. Superman may be coming, but in all fairness he’s not here yet, and there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
The charter school movement needs to stop misleading our parents that this is the answer then coming up short come test time. Our parents are desperately trying to give their kids a good education, so they will believe anything. Sometimes their faith is misplaced.”
According to the UFT, of the 60 elementary or middle school charters that were rated, 48 percent got As or Bs. By contrast, 61 percent of district schools got As or Bs.
Assemblywoman Inez Barron said that the grade is a clear example that the city should put the breaks on rushing to get charter schools off the ground and that they are no different from any other school.
She said, “I think that this is a blatant timely revelation that charter schools are not achieving at the level that have been widely reported by Bloomberg and company. With all of the support from large corporations, HCZ is demonstrating that they are no different than public schools.”
Read the rest of the article here:
Race To the Top and the Blueprint for Education just will not work.
The core agenda is based on Bloomberg/Klein's Children's first agenda in NYC. Just yesterday it was shown that testing madness, closing down schools, firing teachers and opening charters do not work.
The educational gains that were so touted and are now being used as a national model has been proven false. They were just grade inflation. NY state had progressively lowered the passing grade year after year.
The result? Students had been receiving diplomas without the necessary skills to enter college or the work force. Also, students on the cusp were promoted without the necessary support for improvement.
Now it is known that only 42% of NYC students are proficient in reading. And only 54% are proficient in math.
Non-educators have held the reins on policy decisions for far too long. They choose to assign blame to teachers for their own failings. They choose to ignore the input of teachers, parents and students. As President Obama basically said today in his speech to the National Urban League, "If you are not aboard the bus, move out the way."
It is a shame that President Obama is putting students at risk with these poor educational policies.
The house of cards finally topples.
This is really an indictment of the Bloomberg/Klein agenda to fix the system.
Top down prescriptions do not help needy kids. Maybe this will change the attitude of the "know better than you" administrators/non-educators when it comes to working with parents and teachers.
From the article:
"When it comes to firing people, the administration seems decisive... almost eager... let's say impetuous.
Instead of stepping back and looking at the facts, the administration immediately fired Shirley Sherrod. The decision was indicative of their anxiety of being accused by the media and public of racially motivated favoritism.
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina questioned the lack of black input in Obama's inner circle.
“I don’t think a single black person was consulted before Shirley Sherrod was fired — I mean c’mon...
I can't help but see the parallels in President Obama's education agenda.
When all the teachers working at Central Falls High in Rhode Island were fired, the White House applauded because the dismissal fit one of the unprovenschool turnaround models as outlined in the Blueprint for Education.
These models were based on school-choice and privitization agenda initiated by non-educators, like the Walton family of Walmart fame. They are now being pushed by other non-educators like Bill Gates, Wall Street hedge-fund managers, and former basketball player turned educational bureaucrat, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Despite the call of true educators, experts and civil rights groups to use research-based educational methods, like providing universal Pre-K, or stopping the "revolving door of untrained and under-supported novice teachers", it seems that the administration will continue to rely on school closings, takeover by charter schools, and firings as fixes.
It could be that the refusal to change course partly hinges on Obama's image in the business community. Recently the administration was called "anti-business" by corporate leaders. Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel quickly reacted by saying:
"business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts: his advocacy of greater international trade and education reform open markets despite union skepticism."
Regardless, like Rep. Clyburn said as a result of the Sherrod incident, "(Obama) needs some black people around him", Obama needs some real teachers around him.
Having experienced public school educators on his staff would give him better insight on the day-to-day realities of students and teachers, particularly those in the urban districts which his policies have the most impact. Maybe then we could move the educational agenda from the destructive paradigm of blame-and-fire to one of collaboration and success.
Civil Rights Groups Call for New Federal Education Agenda
By Michele McNeil on July 26, 2010 10:00 AM | No Comments | No TrackBacks Seven leading civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, called on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to dismantle core pieces of his education agenda, arguing that his emphases on expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools, and using competitive rather than formula funding are detrimental to low-income and minority children.
The groups, which today released their own education policy framework and created the National Opportunity to Learn campaign, want Duncan to make big changes to his draft proposal for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
What's even more interesting is that a big event planned to release the framework this morning in conjunction with the National Urban League's annual conference was mysteriously cancelled (or postponed, depending on whom you ask) after a lot of press releases went out last week trying to drum up interest.
It is about time!
This is in response to Donors Choose promoting the anti-union, pro-charter movie Waiting for Superman
Thank you so much for replying. I'd like to respond by asking you a rather simple question: Why do you exist?
I'm not being facetious--I am dead serious. In my view, you exist because of the sorry state of public education funding today. In NYC, public school teachers receive a measly $150 a year for supplies, which for many of us works out to less than a dollar a year per child. We don't get a pencil, or a piece of chalk, or a sheet of paper unless it comes out of our own pockets. Many of us work in dilapidated classrooms and trailers, with no air conditioning in the summer and not enough heat in the winter. We work in severely overcrowded classrooms--the highest average class size in the state--and we take on any and all comers. No child is ever refused entrance to a public school, even if they're disruptive and completely unmotivated. Public schools take on this challenge every day, and we do a damn fine job.
On the other side of the coin, we have charter schools--the kinds of schools being touted in films like Waiting for Superman. Charters are often given the most prime locations in their neighborhoods, frequently pushing out public school kids. I have never heard of a charter classroom being run from a trailer. Similarly, I have never heard of a charter school that didn't have more than adequate supplies. They are given the basics that are denied to public school teachers. Add to that the fact that many charters cherry-pick their students, and the ones that don't can kick out unruly children or even kids who don't perform up to their standards. When they are thrown out, guess where they go? Back to public schools.
Despite the huge advantage for charters, they show no better results than public schools nationwide.
Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein are pictured as the heroes of Waiting for Superman because they want to "reform" schools. By reform, they mean they want to eviscerate teacher contracts, eliminate seniority and tenure, and create charters where teachers are hired as will employees who can be fired at the drop of a hat. Check out any review of the film--this one by Roger Ebert, for example--and you will see that teachers and unions are cast as the villains in this script. According to the reviewers, teachers are seen as do-nothings who hide behind their union for protection. The truth is that all teachers are hired by the system, and the system has 4 years to evaluate whether a teacher is good enough. After that, if they believe a teacher is incompetent, there is a process to remove teachers by giving them a due process hearing.
What message does it send to teachers when an organization like yours, that claims to be working in the interests of teachers, accepts money from the producers of a film that casts public school teachers as the enemy?
Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm no Superman. There's no S on my chest--just a little chalk dust. I do my best to instruct whatever students show up in my room, in whatever numbers, and with whatever paper I can buy at the dollar store. I've been doing this for more than two decades. The vast majority of my 80,000 colleagues do the same thing, day in and day out, even when the roof is leaking.
So yes, DonorsChoose, there IS a superman, but if you're looking for red boots and a cape, you'll surely be disappointed. But if you peek into the typical public school classroom, you'll see dedicated teachers working hard every day. They are your members, and they want you to lend us a hand in a very difficult job--not to add another brick to an already far-too-heavy load.
If you want the support of teachers, reject the funding of those who want to see us lose our jobs.
I look forward to your reply.
more at http://www.accountabletalk.com/2010/07/ope...
“I think we sometimes go into knife fights bearing library books”
- Rep. Anthony Weiner on how Democrats approach political battles
I'm proud to have this guy representing NYC.
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