Public Education

The Assault on Public Education Continues in NC

from the Charlotte Observer, 1/10/13, in the Business Section
NC State Board of Education to vote on online schools

 

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 →

The Radical Right Roadmap – Paul Weyrich and his disciple, Eric Heubeck

To many of our readers, what you are about to read will put into words events and actions that you have watched unfold, but may not have connected all the dots to see the larger picture of what has happened—how it was planned and executed.

In a now out-of-print article from the (liberal leaning) American Prospect, picked up by the Yurica Report, uber-conservative Paul Weyrich stunned the religious right by calling for a retreat from temporal concerns. “Conservatives have learned to succeed in politics,” he wrote in an open letter which is no longer available on the Web site www.freecongress.org. “But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture.” The right no longer had a “moral majority,” he wrote. The solution? “To look at ways to separate ourselves from the institutions that have been captured by the ideology of Political Correctness, or by other enemies of our traditional culture.” In essence, he said, the religious right should espouse cultural and political separatism–by setting up its own schools, television networks, and even courts of law.

The rest of the country breathed a sigh of relief. No more silly Disney boycotts by southern Baptists. No more flaky school-board members pushing creationism. No more Paul Weyrich!

The whew, alas, was premature. It turns out that what Weyrich and his folks really had in mind was less separatism than guerrilla warfare–a “New Traditionalist” movement that, according to its manifesto, written by Weyrich protégé Eric Heubeck and bearing the grandiose title “The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement,” would seek “to advance a true traditionalist counter-culture based on virtue, excellence, and self-discipline.” The New Traditionalists–who sound a lot like the old traditionalists–will “reject the materialism, hedonism, consumerism, egoism, and the cult of self-actualization which permeate modern life.” Heubeck elaborates:

“We will not try to reform existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. . . . We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American.

And we thought you’d forsaken us.

A Time Magazine article added to this that;

“The Bush administration is apparently quite cozy with Weyrich.  Each Wednesday Rove dispatches a top administration official to attend the regular conservative-coalition lunches held at Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation. When activists call his office with a problem, Rove doesn’t pass them off to an aide. He often responds himself. When Weyrich heard a few weeks ago that Bush’s budget slashed funding for a favorite project called the Police Corps, which gives scholarships and training to police cadets, he complained to the White House. To Weyrich’s surprise, Rove called back. “We’ve taken care of it,” Rove said. “The problem is solved.” Weyrich, who says his memos to the Reagan and Bush Sr. White Houses were rarely read, was impressed. “That,” he gushes, “is what it means to have friends in the White House.” More →

Free Speech Is for Billionaires, Not School-Teachers

At an educational forum this week, Mitt Romney called for restricting teachers’ unions from participating in the political process.

What does a plutocracy look like? How about a leveraged buy-out artist who used his family connections – and gamed the tax code – to amass a $378 million fortune, and whose campaign is almost entirely financed by deep-pocketed conservative sugar-daddies, saying that while money equals Constitutionally protected free speech for his own donors, there should be limits on political spending by teachers making $75,000 per year.

That’s exactly what transpired on Tuesday at an education forum in New York. According to CBS, Romney said that “we simply can’t have” elected officials who may receive contributions from teachers’ unions negotiating with them. “I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said. “I think we have to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns.” CBS adds: “He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off,” but — as is typical with Romney — “he did not offer details.”

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of rank hypocrisy. The conservative view – now broadly accepted in our courts – has long been that money equals speech, that individuals and organization have a Constitutional right to donate to the politicians of their choosing. That was the rationale behind Citizens United – and a series of related cases – which allowed Romney to dominate the early fundraising race on the backs of a very small number of extremely wealthy donors

There is much more to read in this article, so “you people”, please click here to see it.  It furthers the ALEC objective of breaking unions, particularly public sector unions.

BTW, the end of the article states:

As billionaire industrialist David Koch – who’s bankrolled any number of union-busting politicians – recently said of campaign donations, “People can invest what they want.” What’s clear is that – in the rarified world inhabited by the Koch brothers and the Romneys — that’s simply not the case for You People.

 

 

 

 

National Corporate Attack on Public Education

Why is a Kindergarten teacher in Nevada so interested in what is going on in Chicago?

Thousands of mile away – teachers are under attack by the same groups using the same legislative language.  I hear a very familiar argument – and it’s coming from Chicago!  I feel your pain – sisters and brothers in another city.  #Solidarity

Does this sound familiar Chicago?  In Nevada trusted government officials gave away my pay and benefits by implementing Student First/ALEC legislation, they busted my contract as Koch Brother Think Tanks told them to, they destroyed my working conditions while I watched billionaires cart off the Nevada gold, they replaced classroom instruction with testing provided by some very wealthy test-makers, and the unemployed tell me to be happy I have a job because theirs was taken by a crisis created by billionaires who were under-regulated.  Teachers are experiencing the same or similar – all over the nation.

It is a slap in the face to teachers in every city.  So you see Chicago – your issues are my issues.   #Solidarity

Privatizing schools is the new rage.  Teachers are an easy target – compliant, rule-oriented, and orderly.  As a good friend once told me – teachers are the low-lying fruit – easy to pick off.  Both sides seem to be participating in the tirades.  Both sides are involved in privatizing scams and creating hybrids to replace real public schools to make stockholders and/or themselves money.  It is necessary to fail our public schools, to get at the money.  The bullies are succeeding because teachers haven’t fought back on a national level- YET.

Big money looks at the education portion of the general funds in every state and just itches to get their greedy, little fingers into that pie.  CHARTERS!  VOUCHERS!  CORPORATE HYBRIDS!  Business knows how to run schools better than a teacher – and they promise to make extra money to boot!  Really?  Does that make sense?  Do you go to the dentist to buy groceries?  Why would you go to a corporation to teach kids to read?  And you are going to MAKE money teaching kids to read?  Really?

Vegas has its share of touted charters of supposed high scores and fame.  More costly and with little or no real improvement.  Charters cost.  Without the regulations and rules, these charters often go in directions that are scary to watch.  Yep, charters are costly with usually little to show for it.  They are a FAD.

How to do it?  How to convince the general public to actually pay MORE to privatize schools?  How to win hearts and influence people to give their own school buildings away and fund someone’s private school ideas?

ATTACK THE TEACHERS

1.  Publish teacher’s salaries.  Skew the data.  Make the average salary appear to be twice as large as most teachers make.  Include money that teachers will never see in hand – pump up the numbers.  Make it seem like the educators are on the government dole – taking money for nothing.  If public school teachers are lousy – no one will want to fund their schools. Win the public relations campaign by smearing costly educators.

2.  Starve the resources.  Repeat after me – the answer is NOT money.  Keep saying this over and over and over until you believe it.  Even though it’s a lie.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Common sense tells us that.  Teachers make head way with even limited supplies. Imagine what teachers would do if adequately supplied and funded.  The goal is to plead poverty.  It’s an elaborate shell game.  Hide, hoard, and stash the resources.

3.  Publish scores and declare failure.  Standardized testing is a snapshot in time – not an accurate reflection of the whole person.  Standardized testing is racially and culturally biased.  Research has shown that it is NOT a true reflection or authentic when used as a sole measure.  BUT, multi-choice tests are easy to grade.  AND, we have some test making corporations standing by to sell tests by the dozens to districts.  The real winner in the testing frenzy is the test maker – it has never been the failing students or the teachers who are trying to teach to the test.  Failing schools are easy to “take-over”.  If not failing – just make the test more difficult.  Everyone fails at some point.  Corporations are great at inventing numbers and data to reflect information that supports their own argument – an argument that leads to improvement in their own bottom line, which is not really the same as improving a student’s life, right?  Test to fail, not to improve.

4.  Blame.  Place the blame on teachers.  Nothing else could be affecting students of poverty or in need of additional support – it must be the teachers who are holding students back?  Really?  Teachers are the ones who have sole control over each student’s learning, right?  If you want to blame a teacher and you really believe that line – I have a bridge to sell you and I’m sure you will buy that too.  Pass the buck, distract from the real class and poverty issues in the fabric of America.

Chicago!  The whole world is watching.  I feel your pain.  Brothers and sisters, let’s fight for our schools and our students.  This battle is fierce.  This war is necessary.  Let’s right the wrongs.  Enough is enough.

The corporations have lied.  The bankers have cheated.  The politicians have sold us for 30 pieces of silver.  Our cause is just.  The billionaires cannot win.

Let’s do it not for ourselves – but for our students.  We are American.  We are all better than this.  #Solidarity

 

Texas Schools on the Road to Privatization

When Will Public Schools in Texas Close Down?

The new AYP figures are just out in Texas, and only 44% of the schools in the state made adequate yearly progress.

Next year it will be a lot worse.

By the rules set out in the NCLB law, the schools that can’t make it in a five-year frame will have to do something dramatic.  Among the choices are:

They can turn into a charter school.

They can be taken over by a private management firm.

They can be taken over by the State Department of Education.

Or, they can do some other kind of major restructuring.

Well, folks, sorry to say that public education in Texas is heading for a cliff.

Remember that it was the “Texas miracle” that put the whole nation on the magic school bus to privatization.

Here’s an idea: If nothing changes (and it won’t), just don’t give the tests next year. If you want to keep public education, don’t give the tests.

Unless, that is, you want to give your public schools to some private company to run.

The ALEC M.O. for privatizing our public schools is nearing completion in Texas.  To read the complete article by Diane Ravitch, please click here

The Results of the ALEC plan for Education

ALEC’s Plan for Education = Romney plan for Education?

The Wall Street Journal Covers Up ALEC Link To Anti-Union School Privatization Law

The Wall Street Journal this morning failed to report ties between the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and controversial “parent-trigger” legislation that would allow parents to take over and convert public schools to charter schools. They also failed to report that the Journal’s parent company, News Corp, is a member of ALEC. The Journal’s treatment of the legislation also cited no criticism of the proposal, which has been described as an effort “to manipulate parents into letting [the charter school lobby] privatize more public schools.

In the July 23 article, the Wall Street Journal reported on legislation that, according to the article, “empowers parents to take control of a school if enough of them sign petitions” and convert it into a charter school. But the article failed to mention that the proposal is based heavily on model legislation developed by ALEC, a controversial right-wing group that was recently exposed as a significant influence in the pro-charter movement in Georgia.

ALEC has also been behind such controversial legislation as voter ID laws and “Stand Your Ground” legislation. After the group’s involvement in these efforts were made public, several of their corporate members left the organization. One of the corporations who remains a member of ALEC, however, is News Corp, the parent company of the Wall Street Journal. The article did not disclose the paper’s relationship with ALEC and similarly did not disclose their relationship even while shielding ALEC from critics.

In addition to not disclosing their conflict of interest, the Journal reported on the claims of “advocates” of the legislation, but made no mention of opposition by several parent organizations, including parents who wanted their initial petition signatures in favor of that legislation revoked, because “many parents said that they had been misled about what the petitions called for” as well as “harassment by some signature gatherers.” In addition, the nonprofit group Parents Across America pointed out:

Click here for the rest of the story.

School vouchers + unethical lobbying = bad policy for N.C.

A bill was modeled by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate interest group that makes no bones about its intent to starve public schools while moving public funds into the private sector. Subsidizing private education for a handful of children at the expense of public schools throughout the state will never lead to fairness for all. A strong, comprehensive public education system for all children is guaranteed by the state constitution.

Fact: Vouchers don’t work. Research shows no positive impact on student achievement. The National Coalition for Public Education, representing 50 national organizations, wrote a letter last week to Congress opposing federal funding for a similar program in Washington, D.C., because “the program has not been found to be effective in improving educational outcomes for participating students.” Sound policy must be based on fact, not anecdotal claims…

To read the entire op-ed about the impact of school vouchers on the students of North Carolina (and by extension, elsewhere), please click here

National Resolution on High Stakes Testing

This resolution is modeled on the resolution passed by more than 360 Texas school boards as of April 23, 2012. It was written by Advancement Project; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; Deborah Meier; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Tracy Novick; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education – Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From Testing; and United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

[quality education is not achieved by teaching to the test]

Please read this Resolution which will help improve the education of our youth by clicking here.