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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Feb 07th 2010, 02:11 PM
The Indypendent has a summary of those involved in "reform" of the schools. It is like the free market system which Newt Gingrich dreamt of for years, and which he is finally seeing come to pass.

We should apply the free enterprise system to our education system by introducing competition among schools, administrators, and teachers. Our educators should be paid based on their performance and held accountable based on clear standards with real consequences. These ideas are designed to stimulate thinking beyond the timid “let’s do more of the same” that has greeted every call for rethinking math and science education.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, Dec 1, 2006

The Indypendent lists many of the faces of reform.

Led by a band of billionaires, the school-reform movement has gained increasing momentum during the past decade, spreading its reach into urban communities across the country. But instead of truly transforming public schools, private funders want to restructure them. They insist running schools like a business is the solution. At stake is not only control over hundreds of billions of dollars in local, state and federal funding, but also the future of the next generation of schoolchildren.

Faces of School Reform

Here's the boss:

Duncan led the Chicago school system from 2001 to 2008. He oversaw more than 60 school closings, primarily in people-of-color neighborhoods, while rapidly opening privately run charter schools. The Gates Foundation funneled $63.2 million into the Chicago schools during Duncan’s tenure and now Duncan is taking the “Chicago model” nationwide with the help of top aides recruited from the Gates and Broad foundations.

The writer says Arne is a Harvard trained lawyer, but I don't think he is a lawyer. I believe his degree is in sociology...correct me if I am wrong.

Here come the billionaires:

Bill Gates

..."During the 2008 presidential election the Gates and Broad foundations teamed up to spend $24 million to influence public education policy. Their shared message: Expand charter schools and tie teacher pay to student performance on standardized tests. President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has tapped top Gates Foundation officers to be his chief of staff and to head the agency’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. Foundation officers are also spearheading the $4.35 billion Race to the Top program, which promises aid to cash-strapped states that eliminate caps on charter schools and agree to place even greater emphasis on standardized testing. “It is not unfair to say that the Gates Foundation’s agenda has become the country’s agenda in education,” says Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Another billionaire, Eli Broad (rhymes with toad)

Broad, a Los Angeles-based billionaire who made his fortune in insurance and real estate, has been at the forefront of the school restructuring movement over the past decade. Using the foundation that bears his name, he has pushed aggressively for schools to be run more like businesses. The Broad (pronounced like “road”) Foundation has seeded charter schools across the country, including in New York. It has also developed a number of programs to train school administrators, including the Broad Superintendent Academy, which instructs business, nonprofit, military, government and education leaders in how to manage urban school districts. A number of top officials at the New York City’s Department of Education have received Broad training. Speaking at the 92nd Street Y in New York City last year, Broad summarized his approach: “We don’t know anything about how to teach or reading curriculum or any of that. But what we do know about is management and governance.”

And don't forget the Waltons.

The Walton Family Foundation of Wal-Mart is the single biggest investor in charter schools in the United States, giving a total of $150.3 million during 2007-08. In New York, the Walton group has provided $15 million in construction funding plus more than $1 million per year for operating costs in recent years to help the Brighter Choice charter school network establish eight new schools in Albany, according to the Albany Times Union. Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson has received contributions totaling $55,900 from Christy Walton, as he pushes legislation to lift New York’s current statewide cap of 200 charter schools.

The surprises.

Michael Milken and Larry Ellison

Michael Milken dominated Wall Street in the 1980s using junk bonds to fuel that decade’s merger mania before landing in federal prison for violating securities laws. Now, Milken has gone into the education business as chairman, co-founder and driving force behind Knowledge Universe, a multinational conglomerate that operates for-profit day-care centers and schools and makes interactive educational toys. Ellison, CEO of Oracle, co-founded the company with Milken.

The article continues with folks such as Michael Bloomberg who is using his mayoral control to shut down public schools and form charters.

I notice the writer does not mention the Bush family. Neil's Ignite software is truly something to behold. Watch the video.

The Perimeter Primate blogger has a very interesting paragraph to the right of an article called Linda Darling Hammond didn't play basketball. Good read with some great points made.

Here is the comment:

What Children Need

From Playing to Learn by Susan Engel (New York Times, 2/1/2010):

"Our current educational approach — and the testing that is driving it — is completely at odds with what scientists understand about how children develop during the elementary school years and has led to a curriculum that is strangling children and teachers alike.

…Simply put, what children need to do in elementary school is not to cram for high school or college, but to develop ways of thinking and behaving that will lead to valuable knowledge and skills later on."

Our current educational approach is becoming mostly about profits. Profits for billionaires, profits for EMO's, profits for testing companies.

Not so much about learning is geared to a test formed and graded without regulation or oversight.

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