education reform

How Are Corporations Undermining K-12 Public Education Through These ALEC Bills? – ALECExposed

Courtesy of CMD’s ALECExposed, here is a great 2 page flyer about ALEC’s position on Education.  Perfect for handouts at teach-ins, rallies, protests, etc. More →

Walmart and the School Reform Movement

Now on Sale at Walmart, Education Rephorm

Diane Ravitch referred to this blog today which wryly makes some excellent points.
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Walmart is leading the effort to give low-income Americans more ¢hoi¢e in education, while insuring that they remain low income.

It is a well known fact that students who attend our union-stifled public schools are ill prepared for their future careers—at Walmart. That is why Walmart is leading the effort to fix our failing schools by introducing some much needed competition into the public education monopoly. Much like shoppers at Walmart have a choice of many different Chinese-made goods, education consumers will soon have a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of edu-choices. All this is thanks to the efforts of the Walton Family Foundation, which has plunked down a cool $1 billion worth of Walmart profits to transphorm public education.

In this cool new video, the Waltons lay out their ambitious vision for education rephorm:

…So reader, when you rush to your local Walmart to enjoy Black Friday bargains, ignore the protests taking place at 1,000 different stores across the country and be sure to give a friendly shout out to Low Income Stick Figure Mom. Sure her life sucks: she’s not getting a raise, AND she had to work on Thanksgiving. But thanks to the efforts of the Walton family, she and her kids have a bright, rephormy future to look forward to.

Please read this entire blog from EduSchyster.com (keeping an eye on the corporate education agenda) please click here

To read Diane Ravitch’s comments, please click here

Bad Timing? Jeb Bush Gloats About Ed Reforms

“Jeb Bush picked a bad time to engage in some freelance gloating.

“The former Florida governor wrote an op-ed piece last month for The Washington Times to point out how his educational reforms in Florida have led to such impressive gains by minority students that the state hasn’t had to resort to redefining success.

” ‘Instead of merely adjusting expectations for different demographic groups, educators should set the same high standards for all children,’ Bush wrote. ‘They then should adopt a plan that emphasizes the progress being made by all low performers, regardless of demographics. For more than a decade, Florida has taken this approach.’

“A few weeks after Bush’s piece was published, Florida abandoned that approach. Like I (Frank Cerabino, author of this post) said, bad timing.

“Florida’s State Board of Education revised its strategic plan by acknowledging for the first time that its carrot-and-stick, high-stakes testing approach to education reform has left an achievement gap along racial and ethnic lines that’s too big to close in the next six years.

“So rather than cling to the notion that all Florida public school students are being held to the same expectations, the state board has set goals for achievement based on race, ethnicity, economic standing, English language proficiency, and disabilities.”

To read more about FL dealing with reality in regards to its education goals, please click here

Lifelong Democrat ready for fight in Charlotte over school reform

With the Democrats, alas, are coming some of the most powerful voices in so-called education “reform” — purveyors of policies whose failures we and other Charlotte parents have experienced first hand. They bring not the patience and determination required to build up struggling schools and students, but rather a sharp critique of teachers and a steamroller philosophy that the Broad Foundation (which funds many of these groups) calls “disruptive” change.

Here in Charlotte, we are all too familiar with the damage such “disruptive” policies have done to children, schools and communities.

photo of Pam Grundy by Peter Wong

In the fall of 2010, despite pleas and warnings from students, parents and community members, our board of education voted to abruptly close a set of “failing” schools, most of which served low-income neighborhoods. As students were crowded into other schools, discipline infractions rose and test scores fell. The deep damage done to school system-community relations has yet to be repaired.

* A few months later, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) unveiled a battery of 52 new standardized tests, with the goal of testing every child in every subject, from kindergarten through high school, and then using the scores in teacher salary calculations. Our schools quickly became testing factories, and learning ground to a halt. Community protest managed to stop that madness, but we now face a similar barrage of state exams, mandated by our president’s Race to the Top initiative. Fed up with all the testing, more parents are abandoning the public schools for private institutions.

* Finally, two weeks ago, a pair of longtime CMS employees spoke out about the “crisis of heart” our district is experiencing, describing a stress-filled, dehumanizing atmosphere whose results include “too many fine educators, both novice and veteran, deciding to leave their beloved profession or questioning how much longer they can endure the stressful madness.” Statistics on principal and teacher departures from our district bear out their words.

Yet despite such on-the-ground experiences — as well as a stunning lack of evidence that these “disruptive” measures do anything to improve teaching or learning — the “reform” bandwagon rolls on, dragging federal policy along with it. The programs of the president I worked so hard to get elected have become just another obstacle.

I know many right-wingers want to dismantle our nation’s public education system, using charter and voucher laws to fragment education into a plethora of privately run institutions. When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held a summit here last spring, it felt good to be outside, protesting their attacks on public schools. It’s much harder to watch members of the party I support strike equally devastating blows, seemingly unaware of their effects.

We here at the grass roots face quite a challenge. Groups like StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) spend a lot of money…We hold home-printed signs and yellow pencils crafted from pool noodles.

The difference says a lot. There’s big money in many of the endeavors these “reformers” propose: money for testing companies, for charter school management firms, for computer and software producers.

To read this entire article and sign on to their very important petition, please click here