Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Our schools are being starved into failure in order to justify mass privatization Timothy Meegan Chicago Sun-Times





Naomi Klein*: "In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as 'the shock doctrine'. He observed that 'only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change'. When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the 'tyranny of the status quo'. A variation on Machiavelli's advice that 'injuries' should be inflicted 'all at once', this is one of Friedman's most lasting legacies."
Tim Meegan, "The Shock Doctrine, Our Schools & Our Children", Reclaim Reform, Aug. 2014
http://reclaimreform.com/…/tim-meegan-the-shock-doctrine-o…/
David Sirota, "The 'Shock Doctrine' Comes to Your Neighborhood Classroom", Salon, Sept. 2011
http://www.salon.com/2011/09/06/shockreform/
Lance Fialkoff, "Shock Doctrine USA: The Urban School Privatization Script", Reclaim Reform, Aug. 2013
http://reclaimreform.com/…/shock-doctrine-usa-the-urban-sc…/
Adam Sanchez, "The Education 'Shock Doctrine'", International Socialist Review, Sept. 2011
http://isreview.org/issue/71/education-shock-doctrine
*Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine (2007) [excerpt from the introduction]
http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/excerpt

Gates gives $35 million to Obama's community college overhaul - CSMonitor.com

Gates gives $35 million to Obama's community college overhaul - CSMonitor.com:



Gates gives $35 million to Obama's community college overhaul

At the first ever White House community college summit Tuesday, President Obama announces new grants to help community colleges prepare Americans for new jobs.

President Obama announced the creation of two new competitive grants for community colleges Tuesday – a part of his continuing efforts to reshape community colleges to meet the changing needs of the American economy.
At the first White House Summit on Community Colleges, Mr. Obama said Tuesday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $35 million “Completion by Design” program will target schools in nine states over five years. In addition, the annual Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence will award $1 million to exemplary community colleges beginning next fall.
Obama's goal is to graduate an additional 5 million community college students by 2020. According to the Census Bureau, 15.2 million Americans 25 years and older currently have a community college degree.
“In the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate’s degree are going to grow twice as fast as jobs that don’t require college,” Obama said in his opening remarks at the summit. “We will not fill those jobs – or keep those jobs on our shores – without community colleges.”
Community colleges are also an integral part of America's economic recovery, said Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, who hosted the summit.
“Getting America back to work is America’s greatest challenge,” Dr. Biden said in her opening remarks. “And community colleges are critically important to preparing graduates for those jobs.”
The announcement of these two programs follows Obama’s launch yesterday of the “Skills for America’s Future” program, a partnership between community colleges and employers to assist students in developing job-based skills.
“The goal is to ensure that every state in the country has at least one strong partnership between a growing industry and a community college,” Obama said at a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Monday.
Obama announced that United Technologies CorporationAccenture, and The Gap, Inc. have signed on as supporters of the program, and he said he hoped that others would follow suit.
For example, Gap will offer development experiences in interviewing, resume writing, and job shadowing, with a focus on entering retail careers, said Eva Sage-Gavin, executive vice president of human resources and corporate affairs.
She added that Gap Inc. is currently providing all the funding for its $1 million program, aimed at 2,000 community college students beginning in January 2011.

An Insider's Look at How Standardized Tests are Really Graded Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:



3 Weeks In The Marking Factory: An Insider's Look at How Standardized Tests are Really Graded
By:  Anonymous Canadian BAT


I'm sitting in the marking factory with 3,000 other teachers from across Ontario where, for the past three weeks, I've been marking the Grade 6 reading component of the provincial standardized achievement test. Before the start of my first day here, a representative from the Ontario Teachers' Federation flagged down a group of us and adjured us to refuse to mark the test, since the Ontario Teachers' Federation doesn't support standardized testing. But, of course, neither do any of us. We're just here because we need the money. I might have been warned of what was to come by the coffee break that first morning: 10:30 by my clock rolls around and I make for the door, only to be barred by my group leader. We aren't allowed to leave until the chimes ring. So a group of teachers silently line up single file, waiting to be dismissed. Kind of makes me remember how I felt as a student and why I don't insist on this lineup bullshit from my Grade 8 students. The bell rings. The hallway floods with 3,000 people trying to get to the cafeteria. It takes 10 minutes to negotiate the line, another five to get to the coffee pots, then the chimes ring again. No time even to smoke. Some break.
The test is administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), supposedly to give parents concrete results on how their children are performing in school. At the elementary level, Grade 3 and 6 students are assessed on a four-point scale in reading, writing and mathematics with level one being 50-60 per cent and level four being 80-100 (notwithstanding those who just don't have a clue, who are marked NE1). There's no nuance; a high level two and a low level three may be a hair's breadth apart and separated only by the markers mood that day. It's probably important to note that, taking the Grade 6 test cold with no preparation, I -- an Honours Bachelor of Arts graduate, summa cum laude -- was graded a level two last week. Now, there's an important difference between assessment and evaluation. Assessment seeks to test learning in order to better direct it: find out what you need to teach, then teach it. The EQAO was established with this ideal in mind. Evaluation, on the other hand, seeks to draw conclusions and render judgments on the quality of the performance task: in this case, the test. This is how the tests are actually used. Originally, almost 18 years ago, they were going to be the first step in a complicated and flawed teacher effectiveness evaluation process.
The EQAO says the results mean nothing in the ranking of schools, as all schools in Ontario are delivering a quality education. Nonetheless, it publishes the ranked results every year, best schools to worst. The best -- surprise! -- tend to be in affluent areas and confer bragging rights, often precipitating a rush for optional attendance at the school. The worst -- surprise! -- tend to be in socio-economically disadvantaged communities. I teach in such a community.
Students and parents set great store by the results of this test. So do schools; at my school alone, tens of thousands of dollars have been spent to improve the comparative ranking of our school. This results in a hell of a lot of test-teaching. In Eduspeak, this is called "best practices." We are told to leave the Level 1s and 4s alone; just raise the Level 2 students to Level 3 work and the Level 3 students to 4.
Back to the marking site, where they are telling us to improve our daily tally of marked test booklets. Each test takes between five and 10 minutes to mark. By the fourth day here, I'm just skimming the tests looking for key words and going with my gut feeling. What Malcolm Gladwell called “Thin slicing,” is surprisingly effective. Other colleagues with whom I have furtive conversations also skim. Is the child obviously learning disabled? Give him a level one instead of NE1. Made you laugh? Level three. Real howler? Level four. I figure this is sabotaging a flawed process by removing some of its Badass Teachers Association:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing - The Washington Post

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing - The Washington Post:



Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing


 January 9  
As a new Congress gets to work to rewrite the 2002 federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration is drawing what Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a “line in the sand”: The federal government must continue to require states to give annual, standardized tests in reading and math.
In a speech scheduled for Monday at an elementary school in the District, Duncan is expected to insist that any new law retain the trademark of No Child Left Behind, requiring that every public school student be tested annually in math and reading in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and also be tested in science at three points during those years.
“He will outline the need to widen and ensure opportunity for all students — the original purpose of this landmark law,” said Dorie Nolt, Duncan’s spokeswoman. “He will call for quality preschool for every child, improved resources for schools and teachers, and better support for teachers and principals. He will also call on states and districts to limit unnecessary testing so that teachers can focus needed time on classroom learning.”
The administration’s position comes amid growing anti-testing sentimentfueled by an alliance of parents skeptical of standardized tests, teachers unions that say using test scores to evaluate teachers and schools has warped education, and conservatives who argue that the federal government should play a much smaller role in local education.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a former U.S. education secretary, university president and state governor who became chairman of the Senate education panel Monday, said he is weighing whether to ditch the federal requirement to test.
“Every parent, every teacher in 100,000 public schools is asking the question, ‘Are there too many tests?’ ”Alexander said in an interview Thursday. “I don’t know the answer. I’m asking the question. And the United States Senate ought to be asking that question as we think about No Child Left Behind.”
Alexander said the federal requirement appears to have created a cascading effect in states and local school districts, most of which now regularly test students during the course of the school year to make sure they are on track to succeed on the federally required exam at year’s end. And this year, as most states prepare for new tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the testing debate has gained new urgency.
“It’s a good, healthy discussion that the country is having,” said Alexander, who has scheduled a Jan. 20 Senate hearing on testing and set an Education Secretary Arne Duncan to outline education priorities and defend testing - The Washington Post:

Resolution to Support the “I Refuse” Movement -      NYS ALLIES for Public Education

Resolution to Support the “I Refuse” Movement -      NYS ALLIES for Public Education:



 Resolution to Support the “I Refuse” Movement



BREAKING NEWS!Across NYS, Parents and Educators are combining forces to push back against harmful “reform” policies and to preserve equitable and child centered public education in New York State. Parents and Educators will continue to insist to Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Tisch that our children and their teachers are more than a score and that we reject their attacks on public education.

New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), NY BATs, Lace to the Top (LttT), STCaucus, Long Island Opt-Out (LIOO), and the Port Jefferson Station Teacher’s Association (PJSTA) have collaborated to write the following Test Refusal/APPR Resolution. The above organizations are in full support of this document and encourage education leaders and local union chapters across NYS to adopt this resolution. By adopting this resolution, local unions pledge to oppose high stakes testing, to advocate for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum that is student-based and supported by research; and to ask that their members refuse the NYS tests for their own children in grades 3-8.

Please share this resolution widely and show your support and solidarity for this action by displaying the “My Child is Refusing the NYS Tests” or “Less Testing, More Teaching” bumper sticker. These stickers and magnets are available in the NYSAPE Café Press store. We will also send the image files upon request to anyone interested in printing themselves or purchasing in bulk from the vendor of their choice. 

Resolution to Support the "The I Refuse Movement" to oppose High Stakes Testing:

WHEREAS, the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely prepare that populace for college and career; and

WHEREAS, instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students; and

WHEREAS, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice; and

WHEREAS, high quality education requires adequate resources to provide a rich and varied course of instruction, individual and small group attention, and wrap-around services for students; and

WHEREAS, the state assessments are not transparent in that–teachers and parents are not allowed to view the tests and item analysis will likely not be made available; and

WHEREAS, the assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards – including the political manipulation of test scores – are used as justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the (insert union) opposes standardized high stakes testing that is currently pushed by the Federal and State governments, because this testing is not being used to further instruction for children, to help children, or to support the educational needs of children; and be it further

RESOLVED, the (insert union) advocates for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum that is student-based and supported by research; and be it further

RESOLVED, the (insert union) will embark on internal discussions to educate and seek feedback from members regarding standardized high stakes testing and its impact on students; and be it further

RESOLVED, the (insert union) will lobby the NYS Board of Education to eliminate the use of high stakes testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, the (insert union) will ask that all of its members have their own children refuse to take the Grade 3-8 assessments: and be it further

RESOLVED, the (insert union) will organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to high stakes testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution will be sent to the NY State Board of Education, the Governor of NYS, and all members of the NYS legislative branch; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that after this resolution is passed by the (insert union) Representative Council, an appropriate version will be submitted to the American Federation of Teachers for consideration at the AFT July 2016 Convention and to NYSUT for consideration at the 2015 RA.

Please encourage your members to purchase/replicate these bumper stickers/magnets to support test refusal as a way to stop corporate education reform.    http://www.cafepress.com/nysalliesforpubliceducation
- See more at: http://www.nysape.org/resolution-to-support-the-ldquoi-refuserdquo-movement.html#sthash.vK0YFKq1.dpuf

EXCLUSIVE: Rich, poor school funding disparity hits record - NY Daily News

EXCLUSIVE: Rich, poor school funding disparity hits record - NY Daily News:




EXCLUSIVE: Funding inequalities between rich, poor school districts reached record levels under Cuomo: report

Overall, schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 per pupil less in 2012 than those from wealthier ones, an inequity that grew by nearly 9% from before Cuomo took office in 2011, according to the study by a coalition of education advocacy groups opposing many of the reforms pushed by Cuomo.

 
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


Funding inequities between poor and rich school districts across the state has reached record levels under Gov. Cuomo, says a new report.MIKE GROLL/APFunding inequities between poor and rich school districts across the state has reached record levels under Gov. Cuomo, says a new report.

ALBANY — In the opening salvo of what promises to be a heated battle this year over education reform, a new report says funding inequities between poor and rich school districts across the state has reached record levels under Gov. Cuomo - and has soared 43% in New York City.
Overall, schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 per pupil less in 2012 than those from wealthier ones, an inequity that grew by nearly 9% from before Cuomo took office in 2011, according to the study by a coalition of education advocacy groups opposing many of the reforms pushed by Cuomo.
While the 100 wealthiest districts spent on average more than $28,000 in state and local funding per kid in 2012, the 100 poorest districts in the state spent closer to $20,000 per student, the report found.
The report, obtained by the Daily News, is set to be released Monday. The coalition includes the Alliance for Quality Education, which is backed by the powerful teachers unions, the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, Opportunity Action, and National Opportunity to Learn.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said that the state provides three times as much per pupil in high-need districts than it does in low-need ones.
State education aid per pupil actually went up 9.3% during Cuomo’s first term, with a significantly higher percentage going to poorer districts, he said.
“It’s ludicrous that some special interests are seeking to create a false choice between closing the achievement gap between rich and poor districts and the Governor’s efforts to protect taxpayers, while also injecting accountability and innovation into the system,” Azzopardi said.EXCLUSIVE: Rich, poor school funding disparity hits record - NY Daily News:

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