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View Diary: Ravitch:  The Death and Life of the Great American School System (90 comments)

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  •  It has been clear to me for quite... (11+ / 0-)

    some time that the NCLB act would be used by ambitious pols and unscrupulous "education innovators" to take public dollars and privatize them with no regard for the actual educational results. NCLB and the whole "charter school" movement has been a disaster in California, with questionable "metrics" and no clear benefit to the children being educated.

    The "California Distinguished Schools" program is more about test scores and "Average Daily Attendance" than overall improvement of safety, curriculum and teaching environment.

    This is not a financial calculation, it can't be viewed as a quantifiable cost per student problem, with children as inputs and test scores as outputs, always a ridiculous way to measure performance.

    I will read this book; however, I am not sure we can stop the MBA "quant" measurement bias towards education, it is too ingrained in the public mind.
    Until we view each child as a precious resource and not a public burden, the educational system will suffer. Every student should mean as much to each person as their own student, and every teacher should be as important to each person as their own teachers' were.

    This is my bias, children and students of all ages should have a safe, clean, well supplied, diverse, and interesting place to learn. Until we have achieved this, we have not done our jobs as a people.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 03:10:52 AM PST

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    •  Ravitch does not address it directly (7+ / 0-)

      but a number of advocates of NCLB saw it as a way to delegitimize public schools.

      Ravitch does point out it would not have passed without strong Democratic support.  Remember, at the time it passed Dems controlled the Senate, and Kennedy was chair of the relevant committee.  Had he opposed it, it would not have become law.

      One thing that somewhat concerns me is how much the White House is now committed to continuing aspects of NCLB that are bad, or even making them worse.  In one sense I am not surprised, because there is little in the educational policy of this administration that was not at least hinted at during the primary campaign.  And Duncan's track record in Chicago would not necessarily inspire one to hope for a major shift in policy in the directions I and others like me might appreciate.   I think we are a bit surprised by the emphasis on competition through things like RtTT, and the stupidity of expanding emphasis on test scores as an evaluating tool of teachers and expanding charters given the lack of evidence that chartering by itself makes any difference.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 05:15:28 AM PST

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      •  Do you have a hypothesis about why this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KJG52, miss SPED

        administration has embraced this approach and seems so dedicated to pushing it even further?  

        Organize at the local level, nurture solidarity, persevere through set backs, and remember to celebrate the incremental wins. Yes. We. Can.

        by bkamr on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:04:14 AM PST

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        •  because Duncan thinks he did good in Chicago? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          formernadervoter, bkamr, KJG52, miss SPED

          even though on NAEP Chicago was at the bottom among large urban districts, that those schools which had supposedly improved by being reorganized really were not the same kids thus comparison of scores were not meaningful?  I don't think Duncan understands education all that well.

          And despite having Linda Darling-Hammond as a chief education adviser during the campaign and sitting on Kennedy's committee in the Senate, I think Obama's understanding is somewhat limited.  I do not doubt that both men think they are doing the right thing.  Of those around them - both men - currently advising them on education, there are very few with any meaningful experience in public schools.  Obama's Senate staffer on education was a Ph. D. scientist who had taught in a high school for a number of years.  Most of the people around Duncan come from think tanks and the like.  

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:10:55 AM PST

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          •  Thank you. It just seems so very odd that this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KJG52, miss SPED

            president, whose SOP seems to be drill down for a comprehensive and personal understanding on other policy areas, seems to be so seriously clueless regarding education and so willing to trust others to just take this ball and run with it.

            Organize at the local level, nurture solidarity, persevere through set backs, and remember to celebrate the incremental wins. Yes. We. Can.

            by bkamr on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:52:39 AM PST

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            •  Obama is clueless on a lot of things. (0+ / 0-)

              Many of his policies are not reality based.

              So, for example, while the Vermont Senate is showing the way on radioactive energy production Obama is going the wrong way.

              When Andrew Bacevitz illustrates the foolishness of surge in Afghan, Obama mindless blunders on.

              When many point out the absurdity of the misnamed clean coal effort Obama soldiers on.

              and on and on.

              Gary Wills on Obama's Afghan occupation: "What really matters are the lives of the young men and women he is sending off to senseless deaths."

              by formernadervoter on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 09:02:15 AM PST

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    •  Charters a debacle in Ohio (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      formernadervoter, lilypew, KJG52

      in large part due to the flood of "for-profit" charters that virtually have state politicians on payroll. The White Hat Schools have infested this state with their failing properties, looking mostly to soak up hundreds of millions in state money to swell their coffers and purchase more politicians. So the Republican dominated state senate has our governor over a barrel: if he wants ANY of the educational reforms he ran on, he's got to expand these wretched charters (some of whose books are so poorly kept that even our Republican auditor has admitted they can't be audited.)

      Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:47:21 AM PST

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