Friday, March 27, 2015

The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education | Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé

The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education | Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education 



There are several forms of Capitalism in use throughout the world. Economics Help.org defines them and reports that Crony Capitalism is what’s used in the United States. The Age of Crony Capitalism says, “For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy.  For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand.”
In addition, Dr. Gary G. Kohls of Global Resaerch.ca says, “The 12 years of unrestrained crony capitalism during the anti-democracy mis-leadership of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tricked most of us into naively believing in their fraudulent ‘Trickle-down Economics’.”
Crony Capitalism is a term used to refer to the situation where business success is related to strategic influences with civil servants, politicians and those in authority. It could be used to refer to situations in early twentieth century U.S. where business leaders had to buy off politicians in return for favors (e.g. in popular media: Citizen Kane). Arguably a degree of crony capitalism occurs in countries like China, South Korea and Latin America. The power of the Mafia in Italy is also an example of crony capitalism.
The other forms of capitalism mentioned by Economics Help.org are: Turbo Capitalism (also known as unrestrained capitalism or free market capitalism), Responsible Capitalism, Popular Capitalism, Advanced Capitalism and State Capitalism. Visit the site to learn about the differences. I read them all and I think the two that are highlighted in this paragraph are the best choices for the most people.
Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education
In the corporate war against public education—known also as education reform leading to school choice, corporate charter schools and school vouchers—what reports do not support the Crony Capitalist reform movement?
The 1966 Coleman Report—Instead of proving that the quality of schools is the most important factor in a student’s academic success—as its sponsors had expected—the report written by the sociologist James S. Coleman of Johns Hopkins University found that a child’s family background and the school’s socioeconomic makeup are the best predictors. … A better summary of the findings, from Gordon M. Ambach’s perspective, is: Family and socioeconomic backgrounds are so important that it’s difficult for schools to overcome them.

In 1966, the Coleman Report highlighted the impact of poverty on student achievement. In this installment of the Mini-Moments with Big Thinkers series, policy faculty member Jeffrey Henig argues that it’s time to recognize that schools alone cannot ensure that all students succeed equally.
The 1983 report under the Reagan Administration known as A Nation at Risk was characterized by its authors as “an open letter to the American people.” The report called for elected officials, educators, parents, and students to reform a public school system it described as “in urgent need of improvement.” That need for improvement was based on numerous statistics listed in the report that the commission said showed the The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education | Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:


Standardized testing: I opted my kids out. The schools freaked out. Now I know why.

Standardized testing: I opted my kids out. The schools freaked out. Now I know why.:

I Opted My Kids Out of Standardized Tests

Then I learned a thing or two.



Young woman working on a standardized test
She's smiling because she knows taking the test may very well be easier than opting out.
Photo by iStock/Thinkstock




 Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren’t permanent Colorado residents—we’re just here for one academic year while I’m a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back when taking Pennsylvania’s standardized tests.

And honestly, given three things—that, according to what a school administrator told me, Colorado law allows parents to refuse the testing on behalf of their children; that the testing enrollment forms include an option to “refuse testing”; and that we currently live in Boulder, one of the most liberal, individualistic towns in America—we truly didn’t think this would be a big deal.
Boy, were we wrong.
On Monday, about 15 minutes after I sent an email to the guidance counselors at the public high school and middle school informing them that I was opting my two daughters out, I got a call from the middle-school principal. I don’t know about you, but I can never get anyone from school to call me back in under a day or so. But here was the principal herself, instantaneously calling me in response to an email that I hadn’t even sent to her. 
She started out very soft and calm. “Mrs. McElroy,” she said. “We’ve just received word that your daughter isn’t going to take the TCAPs. We are so disappointed. Won’t you change your mind?”
When I answered that I very much appreciated her call but was going to stick by my decision, she offered several reasons why my daughter should take the test. First, taking TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, the relatively new set of state standardized tests) would help my daughter on the ACT. Huh. Given that she’s only in seventh grade, I wasn’t buying that one. The principal then said that the test would show us how our daughter was doing academically. But we get a report card every six weeks, and we can follow her progress in real time through an online school portal that lists her grade on every assignment, so we’re all set in that regard. One more try. The test results, she said, reward teachers by showing them that they are doing a good job. My reaction: And seeing their students’ progress doesn’t?
But when the lawyer in me started pushing back, pointing out to the principal that none of her arguments was especially convincing, I got nowhere. Including off the phone. The principal kept going on. And on. And on. My daughter really should take it. She was the only child in the entire school who was opting out. She might feel weird, being different from all the other kids.
I told the principal that was a risk that I was willing to take. And then I told her that I was on my only break of the day, trying to have a bite of lunch, and I was going to have to go now. 
Next up: an email from the high-school principal. True, this one was not directed solely at me—it was addressed to all ninth- and tenth-grade parents—but I had to wonder about the timing, given that it arrived only hours after my email to the school. In the email, the principal said, “[P]lease know that I am requesting all ninth and tenth grade students participate thoughtfully in the exam and do their absolute best forStandardized testing: I opted my kids out. The schools freaked out. Now I know why.:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 3/27/15


Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 3/27/15


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