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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jun 26th 2010, 12:08 AM
More and more schools are closing libraries as funding decreases. This is heartbreaking. I remember training my students, a few at a time, in 2nd to 6th grades to research in the library. The librarian would monitor as they followed a lesson plan.
It was a vital part of learning.

I read this today in the WP, and it is so sad.

Libraries fading as school budget crisis deepens

Students who wished their school librarians a nice summer on the last day of school may be surprised this fall when they're no longer around to recommend a good book or help with homework.

As the school budget crisis deepens, administrators across the nation have started to view school libraries as luxuries that can be axed rather than places where kids learn to love reading and do research.

No one will know exactly how many jobs are lost until fall, but the American Association of School Administrators projects 19 percent of the nation's school districts will have fewer librarians next year, based on a survey this spring. Ten percent said they cut library staff for the 2009-2010 school year.

A trip to the school library may be a weekly highlight for children who love to read, but for kids from low-income families, it's more of the necessity than a treat, according to literacy experts and the librarians who help kids struggling in high school without a home computer.


Viewing libraries as a luxury...how long has that been going on. I know we have fought in Florida so hard to keep public libraries open. Now they are closing school libraries.

But there is more than enough money for testing. Arne Duncan has seen to that.

Arne Duncan's goal for the stimulus money is for testing and more testing.

..."It turns out that Duncan, like the Bush administration, adores testing, charter schools, merit pay, and entrepreneurs. Part of the stimulus money, he told Sam Dillon of The New York Times, will be used so that states can develop data systems, which will enable them to tie individual student test scores to individual teachers, greasing the way for merit pay. Another part of the stimulus plan will support charters and entrepreneurs.

.."At the charter school, Duncan endorsed the core principles of the Bush education program. According to the account in the Times, Secretary Duncan said that "increasing the use of testing across the country should also be a spending priority."


So that is over 4 billion of stimulus money that will go to encourage testing.

The late great Gerald Bracey had some things to say about this administration and so much testing. He was said to have been one of the persons behind this cartoon. It is brilliantly said.



That was posted in a tribute to him last October.

George Schmidt followed:
Bracey was one of the authors on this cartoon
October 21, 2009

.."One other thing: Going through all the stuff Jerry wrote, I came across "Bill Gates, If you're so rich, how come you're not smart?" an Arizona State University Point of View Essay from 2005.

Brief, to the point, and pure Bracey.


At Huffington Post Bracey once wrote:

Obama and Duncan Champion Test Abuse

The President of the United States and his Secretary of Education are violating one of the most fundamental principles concerning test use: Tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were developed. If they are to be used for some other purpose, then careful attention must be paid to whether or not this purpose is appropriate. This position was developed jointly by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education in their document "The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing."

The President and his Secretary want to use existing tests, willy-nilly, to evaluate teachers. They should both be ashamed. The President should be chastised and Secretary Duncan should be fired on the simple grounds of incompetence.

From the American Psychological Association's "Appropriate Use of High-Stakes Testing in Our Nation's Schools": "It is important to remember that no test is valid for all purposes. Indeed, tests vary in their intended uses and in their ability to provide meaningful assessments of student learning."

..."States are rolling over and playing dead on this issue because a) they are desperate for money and b) it is unlikely that people like Bloomberg or the Governator -- or Duncan -- have a clue about the abuse they are permitting."


Another well-known educator, Alfie Kohn, also pointed out the dangers of, and also the reasons behind, so much of this testing.

Alfie Kohn's 2004 article.."Test today, Privatize tomorrow"..coming to fruition with Arne Duncan.

“FREEDOM” FROM PUBLIC EDUCATION

I try to imagine myself as a privatizer. How would I proceed? If my objective were to dismantle public schools, I would begin by trying to discredit them. I would probably refer to them as “government” schools, hoping to tap into a vein of libertarian resentment. I would never miss an opportunity to sneer at researchers and teacher educators as out-of-touch “educationists.” Recognizing that it’s politically unwise to attack teachers, I would do so obliquely, bashing the unions to which most of them belong. Most important, if I had the power, I would ratchet up the number and difficulty of standardized tests that students had to take, in order that I could then point to the predictably pitiful results. I would then defy my opponents to defend the schools that had produced students who did so poorly.


Alfie was right. Just what he said 6 years ago is happening right now. The assault on teachers and public schools never ends, and the amount of testing grows.

It is hard to get attention to the fact that a real depth of learning is being tossed aside as the shallow rote learning from teaching to the test comes to the forefront under this administration.

Our priorities are out of order.
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