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  •  Excellent comment, thanks. (7+ / 0-)

    You are obviously speaking from first-hand experience. I really appreciate that, since a lot of people involved in this debate, unfortunately, are pulling it out of their rear ends :)

    I've worked in and around public schools for a long time, too. I believe my opinions are worth something.

    For its many and egregious failures, here is a positive change to come from the latest round of "educational reform." No, seriously, I'm not being ironic: the notion that "any student can learn and achieve," given the proper circumstances, now infuses rhetoric about public education. It had been all but lost for some years.

    Wish I could tip you 1,000 times.    

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:31:20 AM PDT

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    •  I wish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      I could tip you 1,000 times for saying this:

      ... the notion that "any student can learn and achieve," given the proper circumstances, now infuses rhetoric about public education. It had been all but lost for some years.
      •  But that notion has been twisted into a weapon (7+ / 0-)

        It's come to mean "Any student, no matter how underequipped to do some, better achieve to the level of the students in the most resource-rich communities, OR ELSE."

        I think every teacher I have known forever has believed that "any student can learn and achieve." Those who didn't were often those on the right who don't think "certain people" are as smart as others. By raising their expectations without increasing resources, they can point and say they were right. Or they can blame teachers.

        But to "learn and achieve," those students born in poverty need to be given tool to replace the ones they don't have. Right now, we are asking them to compete with better-equipped children and produce the same results. That's not praiseworthy raised expectations – it's folly.

        If teachers are asked to sign a document asserting that they WILL raise test scores by a certain amount, something they have no control over and cannot justifiably promise, then the administrators should promise the teachers that none of the children will be homeless or hungry, or had a parent die or sent to prison, or change schools mid-year, or be a victim of violence or sexual abuse.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

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        •  Amen, to virtually everything you've said. (0+ / 0-)

          I am NOT vouching for the actual intent of corporate reformers who advance the notion that "every student can learn," given the right circumstances. Merely pointing out that this talking-point had been absent from the rhetoric of public-education reform--no matter what the dearly-held beliefs of the best teachers--for many years. Now, whatever the reasons for its re-emergence, I want to celebrate. Hallelujah :) It's rhetoric that may have been wrongly motivated, but it can be used entirely constructively.

          What's most needed to  improve public education? The mitigation of the horrible and increasing divide between the rich and the poor. Nobody wants to talk about this. There isn't political will on either side to change the status quo, and, indeed, some shadowy, influential elements in society actually LIKE a large and deprived underclass just fine, thanks.

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:57:32 AM PDT

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        •  I don't think it's folly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy

          to expect that reform could include better teaching methods when teaching methods in our country are clearly questionable.

          The resources described as essential for success, as I have read them during the years of this debate, appear to be parents who value education, parents who read to children and value reading, parents who provide private tutoring in the form of high quality preschools that teach listening, phonemic awareness, the alphabet, the sounds of letters, and the blending of letters, math skills with numbers and quantities, experience with working vocabulary in conversation, questioning, and answering, trips to museums, and an awareness of the planet and aspects of natural history.

          I think it's reasonable to expect the public schools to provide these things without increasing their budgets because I think districts are spending enormous amounts on bad teaching methods, failed teacher training in workshops, conferences, and in supervision by expensive specialists promoting private products that are failed methods of teaching.

          David Berliner calls for high quality preschools and summer enrichment programs for poor children. I get it that poor children don't have all of these things, or rather, that some poor children don't have all of these things. In fact some poor children have lots of these things from their parents, most especially the valuing of education. I also know that lots of higher income kids also have divorce, stress, substance abuse among parents, financial insecurity, and food quality and healthcare issues.

          What I'm saying is that the schools must be the providers of educational substance. They are also providers of shelter and security for children in all income groups facing all the problems our corrupt system foists on families. But schools are responsible for providing the skills and knowledge that too many parents are having to provide now where schools are not doing it.

          •  Interesting remarks. (0+ / 0-)

            Oh, aside from the funding issues, and political will to fund it adequately, there is LOTS of waste in public education. Believe me, there are plenty of "district administrators" who have jobs, who should not. They are dead wood, and protected by a culture of nepotism and cronyism. The money spent on their salaries could be much better spent on the classroom and on enrichment programs you describe.

            Diane Ravitch, the former Bush I official who helped pioneer the current wave of "educational reform," and has since walked-back her endorsement, has said as much.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:56:14 AM PDT

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            •  I should back up a little, to be quite fair. (0+ / 0-)

              I am in California. I have applied to teaching jobs also in Texas, so I have personally had fairly extensive, direct, personal experience with educational bureaucracies in two states.

              Of these two states, I would say California has a severe problem with bureaucracy--a worse problem than Texas, although Texas is fairly bad, too.

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:04:36 PM PDT

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