60,000 students who opted out plus a changed cut score (see here) equals one thing—an invalid and unreliable test. As someone who has studied and analyzed different psychometric assessments over these last thirty years, it is obvious what John King has done. He has created a score that has no basis in reality except to attempt to score a political point or two.
I had all intention of writing about something else until I read the great blog by NYC Educator today. Here is Gotham Schools and Ms. Campbell Brown who feel that everyone should have the right to due process except us teachers. Listen, we live in a democracy and no system is perfect. What was it that Mr. Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Many believe there was a miscarriage of justice done in Florida, but no one is talking about ending all jury trials in cases that will be similar to that of Zimmerman vs. Trayvon Martin. It does not mean that because a jury may have made a wrong decision, we should do away with jury trials for all such cases. For someone to accept a judge’s decision in a bench trial, one must have complete faith in the honesty and integrity of such a judge. Unfortunately, our Department of Education reflected in the personage of Chancellor Dennis Walcott does not even come close to Solomon’s standard. Here is Bloomberg’s lackey—a man who has a symbiotic connection to our little corrupt dictator.
The real world is finally intruding into the Tweed fantasy that most New York parents are sheep that can be easily manipulated and fooled. I am lucky enough to work in a diverse middle class district in New York City. Most parents in my district truly value education and want their children to achieve. What they do not want is a school system that wishes to destroy the self-esteem of children because a test is of more value than a student’s affect.
Today I received a call from one of my colleagues who unfortunately works in a high need middle school in another part of the city. Unlike my district, high need parents in New York have to deal with multiple challenges, but many also want the best for their children. She told me an interesting story. Her principal received a letter from a high needs parent of a mildly disabled child. The letter basically said that the parent has reviewed the SIRS manual (this is a manual from the New York State Education Department which I call the accountability bible). The parent referred to a page which states that a child can refuse testing. The parent went on to say that she feels that this test serves no instructional purpose except to punish schools, teachers and disabled children. Any test that her child has to take should serve the purpose of developing appropriate IEP goals which will help her child acquire the skills needed to eventually master an appropriate curriculum that will enable her child acquire a high school diploma. The parent stated that on the day of the testing, the child will refuse to take the examination.
Mann, Jefferson, Dewey and others had a very simple view of public education. To these men, public education in America would be the great equalizer. It would create a common American culture and an educated citizenry that would make decisions that would benefit the whole nation. An educated citizenry that could think for itself would preserve democratic institutions and create a nation that would give opportunity to all.
However, in the warped view of Gates, Zuckerberg, Duncan, Broad, Bloomberg, Rhee, et al., public education has been nothing but a failure. It is preventing the achievement of high need students and is the main if not the "only" cause of poverty in America. There is only one solution. A standardized national curriculum will enable every child to become college ready. All you need is a super bright Ivy League college student who can efficiently teach this curriculum to 40 to 60 kids at a time (according to Emperor Bloomberg) or a computer program that has enough artificial intelligence to differentiate instruction. It is a curriculum that is teacher proof and student proof. The only thing standing in our way are these reactionary unprofessional unionized public school teachers who only teach kids to line their pockets with public money and who work less than six months out of the year. It is only the private sector that can implement the magic curriculum in such an efficient manner that it will save the public money while at the same time create the most literate nation in the world. Only market forces can create the type of efficiency that will enable everyone to master this common national curriculum that will put a college degree within grasp of every child--no matter their socio-economic status or disability. According to these "experts in education," all this can be efficiently measured by testing and more testing to see if teachers are successfully implementing this magic curriculum which will get every student a college degree in America.
On July 10th, The New York Times had an interesting article by Michael Winerip about a disabled child forced out of a charter school. This charter was founded by a woman named Eva Moskowitz who founded her Harlem Success Academy to supposedly give high need students a choice. Well, this charter school gave this child little choice but to leave and ended up treating the child like a leper. You can read the story here. However, when I read this article it came as no surprise to me. I know a special education teacher who works during the summer for one of the city’s ten Committees on Special Education. These offices are in charge of holding IEP meetings for students who attend private schools, parochial schools, charter schools, and New York State approved nonpublic schools that provide services to the disabled. Many of the private/charter schools have students who receive special educational services paid for by the Department of Education. Therefore, they need a special type of individual educational program which allows parents to find a provider that serves the child either at home or within the school itself during the day. It should be noted that several charters do provide minimal special educational services, such as Harlem Success, but because they do not have IEP teams within their school, the meetings must be held in these CSEs.
It is now time to put our radical right wing friends to the test. The American people should allow Texas, Alaska and Georgia to develop a legal process to secede from the United States. Based on historical precedent, the fairest process would be a plebiscite (remember that from the Treaty of Versailles). For such a important act, you really cannot expect that a simple majority would suffice. It would have to be two thirds or three fourths. However, knowing my right wing foes, they would never agree to such a referendum "because they might lose." Thus, some powerful minority in their respective states would create secessionist governments.
It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
Who made this quote? Was it some wide-eyed radical socialist? Was it a liberal egghead who is indoctrinating young innocents on some college campus? Was it a communist? Who would dare preach the redistribution of wealth? I want to send the name of this person to Mr. Limbaugh or Mr. Hannity, so they can denounce this individual on their respective radio shows. But when they realize who said this quote, they might be a little embarrassed. His name was Adam Smith in a book called Wealth of Nations.
"I look around me and see many groups that have a common objective--to remake America. They want to turn America into something else." Recently, I saw this statement in a right-wing blog referring to those "horrible" left-wing blogs and organizations. I wrote in response that he is absolutely right. This is exactly what we on the left want to do. And I told this blogger what this is called--"politics." It is when people who have a common interest and world view get together to gain control of a government (through democratic and constitutional means) to change things.
The last few weeks have given me entertainment, but has also frightened me when reading right wing blogs or when I silented visited right wing chat rooms. The right is beginning to put together a conspiracy of a left wing coup d'etah (a legitimate presidential election) and its 28 year plan to turn America into a "socialist" state.
In one chat room, a group of wingnuts were discussing how Drudge is planning to publish this Sunday (10/26/08) a "secret" document from the "Democrat" party outlining their plan to destroy capitalism and turn the United States in a "Socialist Islamo-fascist" state. Of course, it has never occured to them that the term "Islamo-fascism" is a term that our right wing friends just recently invented or that "fascism" and "socialism" are mutually exclusive.
I think we really have to listen to what our GOP friends up on that stage are really saying. There was a consensus up there that the problems we face was caused by a drunk GOP Congress spending too much money during the last six years. What was some of their solutions? One candidate said we must rid ourselves of the Departments of Homeland Security, Energy and Education. Another candidate says that the only purpose of government is defense and nothing else. It was stated that America can no longer afford the trillions spent on entitlements. Of course, those FOX propagandists will never ask the follow up questions that really had to be asked about all this. If true follow-up questions were asked, the American people would begin to understand the consequences of these statements.
This so-called Republican hate-fest in California the other night should really not be a revelation to most Americans. Each and every question was loaded by Mr. Matthews to showcase his expertise in being a GOP sycophant. At least he stayed away from some his real hardball questions, such as asking each candidate which type of tree they would like to be or which superhero represents their patriotic nature? And look at those impartial questions he asked--especially the ones about Big Bill and evolution.