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Beginning Sunday, Sept. 26, NBC will be broadcasting a national "Summit" on education, which it has titled Education Nation.  There will be panel discussions, an exhibit hall, and it will begin with an electronic town hall with Brian Williams, broadcast live at 12 Noon EDT (so much for people on the West Coast who might be attending religious services).  NBC hopes to have several hundred thousand teachers signed up for that town hall.

In theory, one might think what NBC is doing is good -  it is a focus on education as a national priority.  In practice there are some serious concerns which have already been expressed publicly as well as in numerous communications to people responsible for organizing the event.

Perhaps the most significant concern is this -  there are many voices being included, but the voices of parents and teachers are surprisingly not considered a significant part of setting the agenda.  

Please keep reading for more details.

On September 13, NBC issued a press release in which it announced the confirmed speakers to date.  Here is that list as presented:  

•    Maria Bartiromo: Anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" and Anchor and Managing Editor of "Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo"
•    Michael Bloomberg: Mayor, City of New York
•    Cory Booker: Mayor, City of Newark, New Jersey
•    Phil Bredesen: Governor, State of Tennessee
•    Steven Brill: co-founder of Journalism Online, CourtTV and American Lawyer magazine and author of "The Rubber Room" In The New Yorker
•    Tom Brokaw: NBC News Special Correspondent
•    Geoffrey Canada: CEO & President of Harlem Children's Zone Project
•    David Coleman: Founder & CEO, Student Achievement Partners; Contributing Author of the Common Core Standards
•    Ann Curry: News Anchor, "Today" and Anchor, "Dateline NBC"
•    Arne Duncan: US Secretary of Education
•    Byron Garrett: CEO of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
•    Allan Golston, President, US Program, The Gates Foundation
•    Jennifer M. Granholm: Governor, State of Michigan
•    David Gregory: Moderator, "Meet the Press"
•    Reed Hastings: Founder & CEO of Netflix
•    Lester Holt: Anchor, "NBC Nightly News," Weekend Edition and Co-Host, "Today"  Weekend Edition
•    Walter Isaacson: President & CEO of the Aspen Institute
•    Joel Klein: Chancellor of New York City Schools
•    Wendy Kopp: CEO and Founder of Teach for America
•    John Legend: Musician; Founder of the Show Me Campaign
•    Jack Markell: Governor, State of Delaware
•    Gregory McGinity: Managing Director of Policy, The Broad Education Foundation
•    Andrea Mitchell: NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Host, "Andrea Mitchell Reports"
•    Janet Murguia: President & CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
•    Michael Nutter: Mayor, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
•    Bill Pepicello, Ph.D.: President of University of Phoenix
•    Sally Ride: First Female Astronaut; Vice-chair of Change the Equation
•    Michelle Rhee: Chancellor, District of Columbia Public School System of Washington,D.C.
•    Edward Rust: Chairman & CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies
•    Gwen Samuel, CT delegate to Mom Congress
•    Barry Schuler: Former CEO of AOL
•    Sterling Speirn: CEO, Kellogg Foundation
•    Margaret Spellings: Former US Secretary of Education
•    Antonio Villaraigosa: Mayor, City of Los Angeles, California
•    Randi Weingarten: President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT-CLO)
•    Brian Williams: Anchor and Managing Editor "NBC Nightly News"

For many of us, that list was more than a little unbalanced, and illustrates much of what is wrong with discussions of education policy in this nation.  There are many corporate executives, there are people from educational policy organizations, there are politicians, there are foundations.  There are journalists.   Many of these lack any real knowledge about education, or are well known for pushing a particular view of education to the exclusion of any other.

There are more than 30 names.  Of these two are from parent organizations, and there is one representative from the smaller of the two national teachers unions.  

Where are the voices of parents?

Where are the voices of those actually teaching?

I have been privy to an exchange of emails between some notable people who raised these concerns and those responsible for recruitment and outreach.

I know that there were strong urgings to reach out to teacher leaders. As far as I can tell, most of those whose names were suggested - and emails were provided -  were NOT contacted from the side of NBC.  I know, because mine was a name on that list.  

I would not necessarily expect to be included on such a list.  My one recent teaching award is probably not of a great enough significance to justify inviting me, and my feelings are not hurt.

But why is the first name we see the head of a for-profit university, yet we see no current classroom teachers?  

Let's take the presence of the University of Phoenix, and several of the other people on that list.  Perhaps it can be explained in part by looking at the sponsors of the event.  You can find the list on the website, but let me save you the time:

University of Phoenix
Members Project American Express
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Eli and Edythe  Broad Foundation
W.K. Kellog Foundation
Marvell
BlackBerry
Microsoft
Raytheon
Scholastic
American Airlines

The commitment that NBC is making is notable.  The corporate and foundation commitment might be commendable.  But I cannot resist making some remarks about that list.

About the Members Project, they have funded two education initiatives this year, Donorschoose.org and Jumpstart for Young Children, based on the votes of those who have American Express Cards.  They do not have a person among the speakers, which is probably appropriate.

University of Phoenix is a SPONSOR -  and for this they get one of the speaking slots?  

The foundations of Gates and Broad have been putting a lot of money into education.  They have thereby become major players, able to shape many policy initiatives to their perspective.  Some of the efforts might be positive, but there has been a tendency for that point of view to crowd any that might be critical of their efforts, which include things such as Teach for America (note the presence of Wendy Kopp among the speakers, and remember that Michelle Rhee is a TFA alumna) and New Leaders for New Schools.  Diane Ravitch uses the term "Billionaire Boys Club" to question the influence of such foundations upon American educational policy.

Why is Stephen Brill one of about thirty speakers and no classroom teacher is?  

Why do we not have the voice of say the immediate past National Teacher of the Year, Anthony Mullen, or even the current National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling?  To be NTOY one is not only an excellent teacher, but expected to serve as spokesperson for the nation's teachers.  Surely one, or better both, of these fine teachers could have been included.  

For those who are teachers and want to participate in the Town Hall, you can go to this link to learn more and to sign up.

I have not yet done so.  I do not know if I will.  I am unwilling to serve as passive wallpaper that can be used to claim support for an effort with which I have serious problems.

One can submit a question to be discussed.  It is not clear to me how those questions will be screened.  I worry that those that might challenge the underlying assumptions of the summit will be excluded.

I looked at the mission statement for Education Nation.  It is appropriate to note our high dropout rate.  As I have written before, I think the emphasis on international comparisons demonstrates a misunderstanding of what those comparisons represent.  I find too great an emphasis on the economic purposes of education and a total lack of the role of education in preparing a person to be a citizen in a democratic republic.  Given the importance of civic participation in a functioning democratic system, I immediately wondered why Sandra Day O'Connor was not an included speaker, given how hard she has worked to raise the issue of civic education?

It is nice that there is a president of a teachers union, albeit the smaller one.  I know that the NEA president will be participating in one of the 11 announced panels.  But teachers are not their unions.  Some of us may even be union activists but feel that our unions do not address some of the real issues we believe need to be addressed.  Having one union president and so many corporate types does not allow even for the raising of many of the concerns of teachers, which go far beyond issues of teacher pay and evaluation.  I have read and heard that the presence of Randi may be to set her up as illustrative of teachers and their unions as obstructionist to real reform.

There are real issues in American education that need to be addressed.  We can read about them in the mission statement.  We can see that they are supposedly addressed in the panels.

Supposedly.   But too many points of view are not included.

Why is there no representation from people who do Montessori work, which has been proven to be very effective?

Some of the organizations and individuals present have supported the work of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.   Why is there no representation from that organization.  For example, why not invite Jolynn Tarwater, the current National Board Certified Teacher in Residence?

The National PTA organization should be included.  It is good that Mom Congress has a representative.  That is 2 there representing parents.  Against that consider there are four mayors and three governors; and top executives of Netflix, the Aspen Institute, and State Farm Insurance, and the former CEO of AOL.  Pray tell, why are these voices more important than those of parents?

Or perhaps we can look at those selected to represent the administrators of schools.  We see Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee.  They represent ONE viewpoint of how schools should be organized and run.  And by the way, the data does not support that either has been all that successful, and in the case of Rhee her approach was just fairly strongly rejected in the primary defeat of her boss Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington.   There have been superintendents with notable success who take a far different approach to educational reform.  Where for example is the likes of Carl Cohn, who had notable success in Long Beach, CA?

I cannot tell people how to approach this effort by NBC.  I only know that I am skeptical.  I may watch the town hall with teachers, but as of now I do not plan to sign up.   I am unwilling to provide that kind of validation for something I viewed as at a minimum flawed, and at worst destructive of really addressing the needs of our schools and teachers.

I'd like you to imagine the following.  Suppose we are going to have a national summit on health care.  Do you not suppose that a substantial number of the voices included would be from professionals in health care, including doctors and nurses?  Would you have 3 people with just the head of the AMA to represent doctors?

Or how about legal reform -  would not lawyers scream if such a conference were organized without a substantial portion of the main participants being members of the profession representing the range of opinions within the legal field?

Why then is it when it comes to education that people think it is appropriate to have major discussions about education without fair inclusion of the voices of those who bear the greatest burden for the education of our children, the parents and the teachers?

I hope that despite the flaws I see in the organization of this effort some good comes out of it.  I fear that it is yet another example of driving educational policy while excluding voices that should be a major part of the discussion.  Perhaps the town hall will at least provide some audience for the concerns of teachers, if the questions addressed represent the full range of views and concerns.

I hope I am wrong.

I fear that I may not be.

I worry that this event will yet again mean that teachers - and parents - are excluded from meaningful participation in the shaping of educational policy.

Starting next week, we will see.

And there is time for NBC to work to provide greater balance than what we have so far seen.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 04:30 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You had me at Maria Bartiromo! (34+ / 0-)

    Obviously it's all about running schools more like businesses.  We don't agree on much but we presumably do agree that's a dumb paradigm for any human services operation.

    The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

    by Rich in PA on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 04:53:23 AM PDT

  •  Yikes! (15+ / 0-)

    'Oiling the education machine': That's what we have here.

    Kids gonna come out like sausages.

  •  I was urged to write about this (25+ / 0-)

    by a number of people, including Diane Ravitch.

    I had been pondering since Monday whether I would.

    I saw the list of confirmed speakers.

    I should have felt outraged, but somehow instead I fel weary, that it was more of the same.

    I looked at the hoopla this week on the roll-out of "Waiting for Superman" (which is also promoted on the home page of Education Nation) and cannot help but wonder if behind the scenes there is a well-organized effort to drive education policy in a particular direction, already decided without including the voices of those who would point out the fallacies and weaknesses on which that direction is based.

    After following the extensive email exchanges of the past few days, and being urged directly both publicly and privately to write my reaction, this piece is the result.

    It may be ignored here.  

    It may be ignored by those to whom I have sent the link.

    At least for those who might care what I think, I am on record with my concerns.

    I will keep an eye on this should it gain any traffic, but my primary responsibility today will be to my students, to correcting and grading homework and assessments in order to decide how to proceed with shaping their learning experiences.

    Peace.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:01:29 AM PDT

    •  Did we (11+ / 0-)

      really expect anything better? Rehashing the same old thing is all I ever expect to see on TV news shows about education. Throw in some particularly sad story or some "success" story about kids standing in lines better, bubbling in tests for longer hours and passing -- hurray? -- and that's about all I expect.

      Nance -- who just had to discuss homeschooling with yet another pediatrician who doesn't get it; at least I no longer feel the need to really explain anything :)

    •  Thanks for writing this, Ken (16+ / 0-)

      I know the weariness of which you speak - I'm experiencing the same thing here in Colorado.  After all the fighting last spring over one of the more egregious examples of the "reformer" agenda being shoved down the throats of professional educators, when the list of Race to the Trough winners was announced, we weren't on it.  I have to wonder if the teachers from that "smaller association" you mention - the ones who betrayed the profession by announcing their support of the bill at a critical juncture - are now asking, "We sold our souls for this?"  I know as a taxpayer, I and a lot of others are wondering how we're supposed to deal with all the unfunded mandates created by this perverted attempt to bust unions and make Teach for America volunteers, not teachers, a ubiquitous presence in Colorado's classrooms.

      But, like you, my kids just finished Unit One, and now there's a bunch of tests to grade and notebooks to look over.  

      The historian's one task is to tell the thing as it happened. -- Lucian of Samosata

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:23:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the very beginning, America has (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL

        been fixated on servitude--subordination in exchange for survival.

        It seems to have been recently decided that what was wrong with "involuntary servitude" was that it was involuntary.  Ergo, if people could be convinced (via material privation, if needed) to voluntarily submit themselves, the moral problem is solved.  That material privation or deprivation of rights is morally suspect has been conveniently hidden behind the veil of money, which nobody knows for certain where it comes from and where it goes.  For all intents and purposes, money has become a mystery.  Which is why some refer to it as "the last tabu."

        Anyway, agreeing to be deprived is central to our military establishment (DADT and "stop loss"), as well as our judicial system where the "right to remain silent" is routinely signed away in response to some trick.

        The significance of the PR Administration is greater than we probably realized.  We may think it's all a waste of money, but spreading fear has kept the population pacified, on the whole. Imagine, 300 million people have been made more and more compliant and all it took was a far-off war, a little torture on an island and few Joe Arapaios running loose!  How else would you spell success?

        Never mind all our social welfare indicators falling.  Those are fact.  Who needs facts?

        The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

        by hannah on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:10:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps it can be argued (0+ / 0-)

        that a valid contract doesn't exist if the state didn't get anything out of it.

    •  We had "vendors" at my school to offer (9+ / 0-)

      tutoring for all of our students.  (This is a NCLB thing, for schools in school improvement.)  The vendors represent companies that will receive $1400 per student  from the Feds through Title 1 for tutoring services.  Title 1 money is going to private vendors with no accountability for results.

      I know that privitization and elimination of that welfare program, the public schools, is in fashion.  This was George Bush's codification of that.  

      The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

      by Desert Rose on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:13:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's one problem (10+ / 0-)

        the providers do not have to be certified in the subjects for which they offer tutoring.  

        another -  they do not even have to be in the US -  Sen. Jim Webb got angry went I pointed out to him that the providers of Supplemental Educational Services could legally be based in Bangalore India providing services over the internet.  Now in fairness, these might be highly qualified people, but there was another issue involved.

        another - it, like the idea of transferring to a more successful school, is a model that might work in some urban areas but is entirely irrelevant to most of the 20% of students who attend schools in rural areas.  Too much of our national policies - and not just in education -  are crafted with no idea of how they would or more likely would NOT be relevant to those in rural areas.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:22:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  thank-you for writing (6+ / 0-)

      "cannot help but wonder if behind the scenes there is a well-organized effort to drive education policy in a particular direction, already decided without including the voices of those who would point out the fallacies and weaknesses on which that direction is based."

      I too feel that we are institutionalizing some very bad policies for public schools in general, and teachers in particular, that will be come so profitable and entrenched that they will not be undone.

      For example, in TN we're paying TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement funded by The Milken Foundation to allegedly reform inner city schools.

      Remember the Milkins? Michael Milkin pled guilty to securities fraud in 1990 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $600-million fine; released after 22 months, he since made a second fortune.

      Wall Street fraudsters never die. They reappear to steal more of our money- this time from public schools under the guise of saving inner city children.

    •  Why do we go round and round and just (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL

      get further behind on this subject.  Is it that complicated...we used to do a decent job of educating people and now all we can do is argue over it.  Just like in health care we spent so much more than any other country and that money just does not show in our results.  Teacherken, why are we having such an incredibly hard time educating our children?

      "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

      by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:11:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh my goodness (14+ / 0-)

    Margaret Spellings: Former US Secretary of Education

    She, who would close the public schools and hand them over to "bidness men" like her pro voucher husband.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/206488-1 at 1:31:20

    by TexMex on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:07:10 AM PDT

    •  two sec eds - Spellings and Duncan (9+ / 0-)

      and here I remember Ravitch, after seeing some of what Duncan was pushing, describing him as Margaret Spellings in drag.

      In fairness, they are the two most recent SecEds.  We certainly don't need the immediate predecessor, Rod Paige.

      We would have to go back 18 years or more to get to the likes of Dick Reilly or his number 2 Madeleine Kunin.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:12:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even though I absolutely favor public schools, I (0+ / 0-)

      think we have to be open to the idea that public schools are not right for all children particularly at risk children.  I have a good friend whose son is in the seventh grade and performing third grade work because the public school is just not set up to help him.  They have done their best(tutors, special programs, now he has someone following him around taking notes for him) but he is sucking resources that they do not have and he(and the school) is getting nothing accomplished.  He needs to be in a private school dedicated to his learning needs and style and the best option would be to provide a voucher and let her put in that school.  

      "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

      by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:20:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  several responses (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexMex, sandblaster, cassidy3, chigh, Azazello
        1.  Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education.  If the school is not serving the child, either fix the school or provide an alternative setting.  This is a matter of law with respect to SPED kids
        1.  I don't believe in one model of school.  I live in a a community (Arlington VA) which offers a variety of alternatives.  That is not possible to do in every community.
        1.  The original idea of charter schools as proposed by Al Shanker and Ray Budde was that they would be teacher run meeting the needs of specific groups of kids not easily well served in regular public school settings.
        1.  Charters today rarely offer anything that is all that innovative in education.  Some of the chains use a cookie cutter model in all of their schools, whether or not it meets the needs of their children.  In fairness to KIPP, it is not a chain in the same way, and each school reflects in some way the vision of the founder of that school.
        1.  Charters today are NOT held to the same standards as regular public schools, despite those who would have you believe that they are. Most are not required to take the hard to educate, and far too many have a practice of excluding because of counseling out, or the parents won't make the commitment they demand.  An ordinary public school cannot exclude kids in the residence area by either of those methods.
        1.  I have no personal objection to parents choosing an alternative to public schools to educate their kids.  I do, however, think it is the responsibility of everyone to pay appropriately for properly supported public schools as a public good for the entire society, many of whose families have no meaningful choice other than public schools for the education of their children.  Those children should not suffer because of the lack of the parental financial resources or political pull.  

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:19:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I was so late in posting this (8+ / 0-)

    It is not unusual for me to crash at the end of the school week.  I only had 3 hours sleep Thursday night.  Our football game was yesterday afternoon (because of Yom Kippur today) so I stayed for the first half (it was lopsided -  we were up 27-0 after the 1st quarter) which meant I had to fight traffic going home.  I got home planning to work on this and simply collapsed.

    I did not sleep well because of some sinus problems, and did not finally get up this morning until after 6 - the cats actually let me sleep in, because spouse was up and about around 3 AM, which meant they had been fed.

    I began writing, and then posted this as quickly as I could.

    I hope it speaks to some.

    It was something I felt I had to do, regardless of how it might be received.

    Peace.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:08:48 AM PDT

  •  Next you'll be wanting to have... (11+ / 0-)

    ...the voices of the little people involved in corporate decisions.

    •  I'd settle for the voices of real persons (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, JanL, bess, airmarc, m00finsan

      carrying as much wait as the voices of corporations and the think tanks they fund

      oh, and on that I am referring to our elections in what is supposed to be a nation organized by We the People, not US the Corporations.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:20:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Classic shill media: panel of corporate trolls. (12+ / 0-)

    It's a classic Craven Corporate Media™ event. Lots of pretty celebrities and well known meat puppets, lots of corporate 'personalities', lots of folks who know basically nothing about the subject at hand.

    No actual, you know, experts on the subject who have no agenda beyond where the data leads us. No teachers in the trenches from grossly underfunded urban or rural districts.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  •  Oh God. (16+ / 0-)

    This will be a one-hour infomercial sponsored by the Univ. of Phoenix et al.

    You'd think a serious "Education Nation" would have educators as speakers, not folks so obviously in need of education on the teaching profession.

    I want to join this political party - where is it?

    by h bridges on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:30:58 AM PDT

  •  Anything w/ Brian Williams, Ann Curry or David (10+ / 0-)

    Gregory is going to be a waste of time.

    My guess is that their corporate and admin-stacked panel will agree that we need more charter schools and accountability for teachers in public schools.

    I play 11-dimensional Smess.

    by Menocchio on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:32:41 AM PDT

    •  David Gregory: Limp piece of silk. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL
    •  Accountability is fine (5+ / 0-)

      if they define it. Which they won't.

      It's hard to be accountable if you don't know what, if any, measurements you're being accountable for.

      Besides that, children aren't widgets. They don't all react the same. The perfect teacher for one child might be all wrong for another.

      Unless the school system is willing to look at the child's learning styles, personality, skill levels, etc. before placing them in a class, you're going to get mismatches. That doesn't mean the child won't learn, but it will be harder.

      •  Oh no....sometimes it does mean they won't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL

        learn.  Above, I noted a friend whose son is in the seventh grade doing third grade work.  Unless something changes, we all know where he is going to end up.

        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

        by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:23:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My take: the public in this country has already (16+ / 0-)

    been sold on the notion that schools have failed (and therefore educators are people to ignore, not to listen to), and therefore only some kind of radical reform originating outside the "educational establishment" can "save our children". Of course this is complete fantasy, driven by corporatists and MSM types who just happen to know almost nothing about education. But the average Joe and Jane hear this nonsense on their TV, don't hear any other side of the argument and so, naturally, favor "reform" - don't they want their kids to get a good education?

    I fear we are in the process of really destroying our educational system. We need strong, informed voices in this debate. Right now all we hear is one very questionable viewpoint.

    I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:35:52 AM PDT

    •  IMHO Schools Have Not Failed (12+ / 0-)

      I come from a family of doctors and PhDs. We could have afforded to sent our kids (and that would be me BTW) anyplace we wanted. We went to public schools. We could have gone to Harvard or Yale. But you know the University of Illinois and LSU was good enough.

      I'll put the education I got in public schools and at state colleges against anybody else.

      "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

      by webranding on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:47:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I completely agree - I'm talking about what the (6+ / 0-)

        news media have sold to the majority of the public - not what's actually true.

        I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:54:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is true if you come from a middle class (0+ / 0-)

          well, educated family and live in a community with high property taxes....try living in an at risk community with no property taxes to support your schools and you wouldn't have that same opinion.  In terms of schools...there are at least 3 Americas, rich/middle class suburban school districts, poor urban school districts, poor rural school districts.  The first category is doing very well because they have the resources but even within those we have subsets of the students that are being left behind(special needs) and the other two are failing to educate their students due to lack of resources, to be able to navigate in today's America.  

          Even Bill Clinton is of this opinion.  He noted recently, that their are 5 million jobs that are going unfilled because employers cannot find the people with skills to fill them.  About one third of our unemployment problem is from a skills mismatch and since employers no longer train, it falls to the schools to make sure people have the right tools. A poor strategy at best but an interesting fact to note.

          "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

          by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:37:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wait a minute here... (0+ / 0-)

            Privatized schools in at-risk and poorly funded communities are supported out of the same tax dollars as the public schools. If Repubs take over again, true that they may defund public schools in favor of vouchers, but the way thngs work now, a charter school in a typical inner city will receive funding out of the same pot that funds the public schools. So how is that a solution to the problem of too-little funding in some districts?

            I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:49:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did not say it was but I was addressing the (0+ / 0-)

              assertion that our schools are doing a decent job of educating our children and that is just not true.  It is true for the first group but not the others.  Vouchers are not entirely bad...there is a subset of students that have such special needs that public schools cannot help them, even by throwing lots of money at them.  Those students should be considered for exceptions to the general support of public programs.    

              "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

              by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:03:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  To me, the problems of schools in highly (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sandblaster, cassidy3, Azazello

                underfunded districts are a result of those communities (governments?) failing the schools - not of the schools failing the community. I don't claim that they're doing a great job at educating our children, but I do suspect that many of them are doing about the best job we can expect, given the lack of support they've been given. It may be a cliche, but you really do "get what you pay for".

                There are many dedicated teachers (and probably a few bad ones) in any school system, but I don't fault educators who work in schools with systemic violence not being addressed by administrations, buildings falling apart and not being repaired, students lacking books that were never ordered, etc etc, for those problems.

                I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:16:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It could be but even in country will fewer (0+ / 0-)

                  resources one of the things that makes a difference in length of time in the classroom. At risk students lives need more structure because they may not get it at home...longer school days and years would go a long way to giving these students a better basis for success.

                  I do not understand why we still think it is necessary for children to have so much time off, it is not done in other countries and it certainly should not be the case for our most at risk population.

                  "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                  by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:26:06 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  sorry, vouchers are pretty bad (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cassidy3, Azazello

                in most cases they do not pay the cost of education in a non-public setting. In far too many cases those receiving them were not enrolled or planning to be enrolled in public settings.

                If a private organization wants to fund charters that is not as bad as removing funds from public schools for such a purpose.  Even so, the way tax laws are often set up one can gain a tax advantage in contributing to a privately run voucher program and receiving a voucher back for one's own child.  

                They were proposed by Milton Friedman as a way of moving away - completely away - from the idea of having public schools.

                As matter of state law, using such a voucher, if publicly funded, in a religious school, may violate provisions of state constitutions.

                As a practical matter, the data on students who have used vouchers to go to non-public settings does not demonstrate a superior performance than they were making in the public schools, even by the standard of test scores, which ain't a particularly good measure to deal with.  And too many receiving schools since they are non-public and the voucher is given to the family as a benefit and not the school will not even participate in such tests, thus denying the ability to do meaningful comparisons on the basis of test scores.

                "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:24:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have to respectfully disagree. If a school (0+ / 0-)

                  allows a student to reach the seventh grade doing third grade work...what is a parent to do.  The school is clearly not meeting the child's needs and a parent needs the option of doing something different and since their tax money is involved...they should be able to leverage it and opt out.  

                  "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                  by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:36:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sorry to inform you (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sandblaster

                    but in some cases that is directly a case of parental pressure.  Trust me, I have seen it in high school as well.

                    Yes there are cases where that happens where it shouldn't.   The teachers might have too many kids to address the needs of all.  The child might have an undiagnosed learning disability.  Hell, in many school systems we do not check for vision and hearing issues that have serious impact upon how a child learns.

                    I don't think you will ever find me saying that simply passing a child through is an appropriate answer.  But there is overwhelming evidence that holding a child back does as much if not more damage to the long term academic success of that child.

                    The issue should be why the child is not able to read at a level appropriate to the task before her/him.   And then what can we do to address the needs of that child?  Such a problem needs to be examined in terms of the individual child, rather than merely using such examples as sticks to beat up on people to achieve a particular educational policy we favor even if does nothing to help that child.

                    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:22:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So my question is, are these stats still true and (0+ / 0-)

                      if so...how in world did this happen with all the money we have thrown at education.  

                      According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 37 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level; and on the 2002 NAEP 26 percent of twelfth graders cannot read at the basic level.

                      Does it make any sense to move students forward that cannot read.  Isn't it a complete waste of time and money.

                      "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

                      by lakehillsliberal on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 11:38:22 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  NAEP proficiency levels are problematic (0+ / 0-)

                        to begin with

                        but of greater importance, children develop at different rates.  Some children who are considered lagging middle elementary grades are simply developmentally behind.

                        That then raises a question not of whether or not they should be promoted, but whether the underlying problem is actually our insistence on moving children through a variety of subjects in cohorts when they develop at different rates for different subjects.

                        Some behind in reading are ahead in math, and similarly the other way.   That is not accounted for with the gross statistics you cite.

                        Further, a good chunk of those behind catch up, but others fall behind, even though they were on level on 4th grade.  Why?  

                        And even for those legitimately behind, how much of that is directly due to the kinds of programs we have been pushing at a national level?  In the case of reading, we spent millions on Reading First when in fact there was no data to support its purported success.  Eventually even the Department of Education had to agree with what a Congressional investigation clearly showed.

                        It helps to understand how statistics are obtained, and in what context, before attributing too much weight to them.

                        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                        by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 11:52:39 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (12+ / 0-)

        The echo chamber has been at work for 30 years drumming ad nauseum that the American Education System is an abject failure.

        I submit that it is a red herring; an attempt, largely successful,  by corporate lords to shift the attention away from the real failures of American capitalism; offshoring, capital investment squirrelling in offshore dodges, tax evasion, tax irresponsibility, naked greed, and royal entitlement of the upper 2 percent. They simply do NOT want to educate other people's children, and especially, other people of color's children. For the richest, most able Mad Avenue corporate puppetmasters, it's all about Their Tribe and its posture atop the heap.

        And despite all that, American Education is STILL superior to just about any other country, except for Finland, because we educate EVERYONE, test EVERYONE and are held accountable for EVERYONE. Very few other countries have a one track system until age 18, and the "low scores" we apparently have are completely due to the Comprehensive nature of our evaluations.

        Is is good enough? No. Is it abyssmal? Or even mediocre? Certainly not. We are better, on the whole, in the education profession, than ever before, and its time for some (Arne Duncan? Barack Obama?) leader to put the truth over personal ambition inside the moneychanger's echo chamber.

        When, and if, we finally recover from the fevered dream of corporate spectacle posing as "information," history will see us as completely the opposite as the current perception manufactured by those who have the golden axe to grind.  

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry... (0+ / 0-)

          it has failed to educate all children to the same level.  That is a failure.

          •  You can't educate all children to the same level (9+ / 0-)

            it's just not possible.

            Unless you make the level 2nd grade. And even then it would be hard. There are some children who, no matter how long they're in school, will barely learn to read. Their handicaps are that great.

            They still go to school. They still get educated to the level they can reach. But it's a very low level, and not what we should aspire to.

            You can offer all children the same opportunities - some will take them, some CAN take them, and some can't or won't.

            But they won't all reach the same level. They're human beings, not widgets.

            •  So you through extension... (0+ / 0-)

              do you think if we took all of the inner city kids and supplanted them in suburban schools and vice versa, there would be no measurable difference?

              •  That's been tried (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanL, m00finsan

                for years. Did you forget all the kids who were bused to other districts for integration purposes? If you moved the entire family, AND gave them counseling, sure, it would probably work.

                But just sending them to a school where they feel totally out of place and stupid? I don't think that's going to do much good - and I think there's probably years of busing statistics to back that up.

                •  I'm not talking about busing... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  esquimaux

                  and busing in most cases wasn't from one district to another...it intra-district.

                  You didn't understand my question and I think you make too much of "feeling totally out of place and stupid?"  I was among a group of black students integrating schools in the early 80s, intra-distict integration.  I didn't feel stupid or out of place.  

                  My question wasn't about letting a few in and dispersing...my question was if you made a school to school displacement..

            •  Yes, just look at George W. Bush. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JanL

              He never did learn, but he was a useful shill.  He memorized whatever the last person he talked to told him and repeated it like a parrot -- only occasionally garbled because his subconscious rebelled against the contradictions.

              The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

              by hannah on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:16:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Respectfully (7+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg, JanL, CParis, wvmom, BoxNDox, m00finsan, Azazello

            Seeing the progress of citizens in a larger time frame than the last three years is helpful.

            Not all children are educated to the same level. No country claims to even attempt that. Not even the 7,446 American school system(s). We do have differences, because citizens insist on "local control." There are differences in testing acheivement between black, hispanic, asian, men, women and certain areas. This is largely an artifact NOT of the "educational system" but of the unique needs of the corporate economy.

            And yet, if you look at any measure of the past 50 years, we educate more, as a percentage, of each of these groups than we did in 1950. There is simply no comparison to the alleged "Golden Age" of white cord pants and poodle skirts, when white suburban and urban children got the best, and everyone else, some training in how to work at the mill.

            Is this good enough? No. Is is on the uptick? Certainly yes. We offer more, go in more depth, inspire more, provide more support than at ANY TIME IN THE HISTORY of the US. To believe anything else is to be depressed by the Corporate Drumbeat Echo Chamber, who are only disappointed that some teachers won't kiss corporate butt when commanded. We still teach Liberal Arts, and how can that be useful to the Corporatocracy? Too many independent thinkers as it is for a lockstep, subdued population.

            It is time to understand that the American Education system still teaches independence, economic liberty, and the ideals of Locke and Jefferson, and is too liberal for the Reich Wing's ideal of a Corporate Command Economy with Replaceable Parts. This is politics, bare knuckle. Time to revisit your local high school and talk to some excellent teachers. They are everywhere in America, and we are as blessed by them as much as by the volunteers defending American Ideals in uniform. Patriotism at its best and highest, and they live near you, and work a few blocks away.  

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:04:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

              Seeing the progress of citizens in a larger time frame than the last three years is helpful.

              What's that mean?  I don't know if I'm following.  Please expand on this statement.  

              Your view is decidedly different.  You call upon the 50s when education presumably was more equitable for those who were being educated.  If that is what you are saying then I agree.  I do believe that the current state of our education system is a result of Brown v. BoE.  

              •  What? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slatsg, sandblaster, JanL, m00finsan

                If you think that the Current System(s) are flawed, and that this is a result of Equal Opportunity, then I guess we bitterly disagree at a fundamental level.

                As Winston Churchill once said, "Arguments such as that are simply below refutation." One cannot defeat a non-argument with argument.

                Good Day.

                Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:20:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yep, I do... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Philoguy, JanL, esquimaux, CParis

                  because the defunding of public education has followed a direct route from Brown.  Where white students go, goes the money and resources.  Its long and I really should address it in a diary but just as welfare was demonized when the "color" of the recipients were changed in the MSM so has public education when there was a mandate to integrate.  Anyone trying to understand our system needs to under this.

                  •  you are partially correct (5+ / 0-)

                    the defunding of public education in the South did follow Brown.  But one does not find a similar pattern in the North, even in most urban settings, until far more recently, starting during the Reagan administration - and note, that is just providing a time reference, and not placing that burden on federal policy, although Reagan's supporters wanted to defund the US Department of Education.  In a sense A Nation At Risk was Terrell Bell's way of keeping the department, which became a separate Cabinet department only under Carter, alive.

                    It is also not so much an issue of defunding as of redirecting resources in different directions.  Part of the problem is the voices listened to in that process.  What we see with the list of speakers for NBC with which I start is not a new pattern.

                    Nor is the deliberate demonization of public schools, and the concomitant attacks on teachers and their unions.

                    And in the context of this comment, it is worth mentioning again that even by the standards of test scores, if we compare states we find a general correlation of higher scores in states with unionized teacher workforces.  Now, this is also a correlation of higher incomes in states whose general workforce is more unionized.  And we do know that educational performance correlates very heavily with economic status.  

                    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:52:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Reagan... (0+ / 0-)

                      My schools in the NE were segregated until the 80s.  In a nutshell, when whites had to educate their kids with minorities they wanted out.  They choose private school and didn't feel the need to fund public school.  The same could be said of the older generation who have already educated their children.  So, in my experience, as NE schools were forced to integrate (this happened later because of course everyone knows only racist people lived in the South - snark), you can find a similar path.  In fact, education is so tied to economics that my city agreed to set-aside a public school for higher income people in a neighborhood that is not open to access by all in the city.  

                      I'm not disagreeing about test scores but honestly, TK we know we can't look at the systems on a state level.  That buries too many failed schools, honestly it does.  That helps no one certainly not the children designated to those schools.

                      •  schools in the "North" became (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        cassidy3, JanL

                        segregated due to residential patterns, not by law as in the South.  However, as Whites (and upper-income people of color) moved to the suburbs, inner-city public schools became more segregated.

                        As many public school funding is obtained through property taxes, as inner-cities became less attractive their tax base eroded - less local monies available for schools.  Some of the solutions to get businesses/residents back into the inner-city communities involve local tax abatements - so the local schools still end up with less financial support than suburban schools.  Then the state takes over - privitization/charters move in to extract $$ - downward spiral into 3rd world status.

                        If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

                        by CParis on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:25:10 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  sorry, but you are missing the point (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sandblaster, Blue Knight, Azazello

                        until Reagan, we went through a series of administrations, starting at least with Eisenhower, that say an increasing role for the Federal government in equalizing education and in improving it over all.  In Eisenhower's case, it was in part a response to Sputnik.   The biggest single push was under Johnson, whose first job after college was teaching in schools of high poverty and mainly minority students.  There was no real step back from that under Nixon and Ford, and Carter set up a separate cabinet Department.

                        Reagan and the people around him came in being critical of the federal government having a role in public education.  Many were supporting the ideas of Milton Friedman, not just about education, but in general about the role of government at any level.  

                        Bush 41 signed on to Goals2000, which was pushed by the National Governors Association, led at the time by the governor of Arkansas, one Bill Clinton.  It continued the economic arguments first forcefully propounded in A Nation at Risk in 1983.  

                        In a sense, at least since 1983, the status quo in education has been to drive the conversation on he basis of economics and the supposed risk to the future of this country.  We were supposed to have more "rigor" to be demonstrated by "higher" standards and proven by improving test scores.  Gee, here we are 27 years later and we still haven't learned that such an approach does not work?

                        In the process, those who have attempted to point out the fallacies with such approaches have been demonized and marginalized.  Teachers are blamed for test scores when a large portion of the results are outside of their control.  If their unions attempt to defend teachers they are attacked.  If scholars point out the fallacies being propounded they are accused of wanting children to suffer, when in fact it is the very proposals that almost 3 decades of 'reform' have been propounding that have made the situation worse.

                        Hungry children do not learn.  We have increasing numbers of students on food stamps, others who do not eat regularly outside of school.

                        Children who are not well do not learn as well.  We still have not fully addressed issues like lead-based paint in poor inner city neighborhoods, still damaging the brains and nervous systems of poor children.  We are not honest about the inadequate basic health and dental care available to poor children - and the latter is quite personal to me, both because of what I see when I volunteer in dental triage in places like Appalachia, and because Deamonte Driver, the 13 year old who died because the infection from his abcessed tooth spread into his brain, was a student in the district in which I teach.

                        We will not fix our educational problems in isolation from our larger social problems.

                        We will not even fully address our educational problems merely by beating up on teachers and testing more.

                        We have teachers we should not have.  Some are there precisely because of No Child Left Behind - if fully credentialed they meet the standard of "highly qualified" required under the law, while a provisionally certified or long-term substitute might not, and thus principals may feel forced to keep the certified but incompetent teacher.

                        We have many things we need to address in education.  

                        But we do not even agree on the purposes of education, which means sometimes our arguments about education are proxies for arguments about society at large and we will never come to full understanding until we are honest about our differences.

                        And we cannot be honest about our differences when a major portion of the spectrum of views and experience is systematically excluded from the discussion, as the voices of teachers and usually also of parents has been systematically excluded from recent discussion shaping the future of education in this nation.

                        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                        by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:39:37 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  You are confusing (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    m00finsan

                    causes with effects. Brown did NOT cause misapplication of funding. Racist legislatures did that AFTER they saw that equality was unpopular in local school districts.

                    Vacating Brown v. Board at the SCOTUS level, unlikely and undesirable as that would be,  would not CAUSE legislatures to suddenly fund the separate but equal school districts. That is the proof of the invalidity of your argument.

                    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                    by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:55:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No, I'm not confused... (0+ / 0-)

                      basically, we still have Brown in effect.  Everything, every metric says it.  

                      •  Let me see if I can understand... (0+ / 0-)

                        If Brown were vacated by the Supreme Court, then the Educational System (all 7446 of them) would recover and serve all students equally, with equal results.  

                        Is that a fair statement of your position?

                        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                        by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:08:06 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Nope... (0+ / 0-)

                          where did you get that, lol?  One falsehood is that I believe in equal results.  What I'm saying is that the defunding and demonizing of public schools in general is based on Brown.  You know shrinking in a bathtub...

                          •  You think Brown CAUSED (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cassidy3, Blue Knight, Azazello

                            the defunding of certain schools. That is absurd. The CAUSE of defunding was racist attitudes in local school districts. That demends more public education, not job training by corporate lords.

                            Once again, vacating Brown would NOT produce the results you want, and promoting ForProfit Schools only increases the venomous rhetoric against Public Schools by people who need education. To make a profit, they need an enemy, and the target, you, are guilty of falling for a Corporate Scheme to promote more venom and increase profits for... what benefit? Corporate conformity. Talk about drinking the kool-aid!  

                            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                            by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:42:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Who said anything about vacating Brown... (0+ / 0-)

                            you are totally missing the point and I know I'm not spending as much time with it as I should.  How you can say that racist attitudes are not the cause and ignore Brown is beyond me.  

                          •  Racist attitudes Pre-date Brown (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sandblaster

                            Brown was a remedy against racist attitudes. It was subject to a "go around" method of racism, called state by state defunding. But that doesn"t mean that Brown CAUSED racist attitudes or defunding. Brown, if ineffective as you say, which I dont agree with, is a VICTIM of racist attitudes. Not the CAUSE. Simple to me, but then again, what do I know? I have only been an educator for thirty years as a minority teacher for most of that time until I moved back to the Mainland.  

                            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                            by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:11:47 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, the thing about equality is that it can (0+ / 0-)

                    be achieved by making everyone equally deprived.  Equality does not guarantee high quality.

                    The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

                    by hannah on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:20:59 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg, JanL, m00finsan, Blue Knight

            but human beings are not all the same.
            Can't "train" them all to read  at the same speed anymore than we can make them grow or run at the same speed.   As adults, well educated, successful adults, we cannot not do all things at the same level of competence and never will.

            There is no test that can give people an accurate picture of all human beings and their abilities at all times.  Some children who are below grade level in one skill may be well above in another skill (perhaps that skill is not as appreciated).

            All children are not loved or supported in the same way and thus they all will not react the same.   All children are not the same when it comes to healthy, physical and mental, bodies either.  

            The nonsensical notion that there is some magical way to educate all children in a way that gets them all to the same level, regardless of all other factors in their lives, is laughable.  Two children with the same parents, going to the same schools, even having the same teachers, will not achieve the same levels of understanding and achievement.  

            Get real.

            •  Nice strawman (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              esquimaux

              The nonsensical notion that there is some magical way to educate all children in a way that gets them all to the same level, regardless of all other factors in their lives, is laughable.

              Who said that?  Please point to that person and then go over and box them instead of that poor little strawman at your feet.

              •  You said so: (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slatsg, m00finsan, Azazello

                [the school system] has failed to educate all children to the same level.  That is a failure.

                I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:43:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

                  but how do we get to educating at the same level to the result won't be the same.  If every child in my district received 14k educational dollars as other children in the suburbs do, then that would satisfy my claim.  Going on about all children are different, won't learn to the same level, etc. ad nauseam - the response I'm receiving is not what I said.  

                  •  I'm 1000% behind increasing $$$ for inner city (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cassidy3, Azazello

                    schools. And I hate the inequities in school funding brought on by typical urban demographics.

                    But what I'm really against is blaming the teachers in the inner city schools for this sad state-of-affairs and suggesting that replacing them and their schools with some sort of private enterprise is the solution to the problem.

                    Why can't the focus of our efforts be on getting more resources for our urban public schools and doing what we can to support them and their mission?

                    I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                    by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:34:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Okay... (0+ / 0-)

                      we can partially agree...

                      But what I'm really against is blaming the teachers in the inner city schools for this sad state-of-affairs and suggesting that replacing them and their schools with some sort of private enterprise is the solution to the problem.

                      I'm not because I'm sorry there are some really, really bad teachers in inner cities and no amount training is going to change their perceptions about their students.  A teacher can not effectively educate a child they deem uneducable and/or when a teacher has set low expectations for a child for things that are beyond their control.  I see this as a big factor that isn't nearly addressed at all and certainly not among teachers.  When studies and anecdotal stories show that children suffer when their teachers are unable to see their potential or relate to them.  But of course, the reason these kids don't learn is because of peer pressure as some would have you believe.

                      •  I agree with you that students do (0+ / 0-)

                        suffer when their teachers are unable to see their potential or relate to them. This brings me to the earlier point about class size. I suggested that large class size has a negative effect on student performance and you pointed out a study that said class size had no effect. It is impossible for teachers to relate to and see potential in all of their students when classes are so large.

                        •  Here I have to offer a caution (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          cassidy3

                          that by itself reducing class size is insufficient, and can on occasion be counterproductive.

                          Let me be slightly arrogant.  I have 36, 38 and 39 in my 3 AP Government classes.  I am viewed as an excellent or better teacher.  I have a track record of being able to handle such large groups and give them a chance of success on the external measure (AP exam), getting them all through another external measure (state High School Assessment in Government), having them learn a lot, and most of them enjoying the class despite the fact I work their butts off.

                          Suppose you mandate that the maximum class size will be 23.  That means you now have to address the needs of 44 of those students, the equivalent of two more sections.  But here are some of the ensuing problems

                          1.  There is no other teacher in building properly trained to do AP Gov.
                          1.  Even if there were, we have no space to put additional classrooms.  As bad as the result would be in AP Gov, it would be worse in AP Sciences where there is no lab space.
                          1.  I cannot simply add another two sections of AP, because that would mean I would not be teaching the regular level classes where I am also very much needed.
                          1.  If you say you cannot add the sections we then deny those 45 students the opportunity to take such a course.

                          Those are just a few of the problems that can arise from mandating smaller class size without addressing the issues that flow therefrom.

                          Would I prefer to have smaller classes?  You betcha.  I cannot get all the kids involved in each class discussion, which should be an important part of a college level class that should be far more than straight lecture.  I can get 39 student desks into my room.  I am unwilling to deny a kid the opportunity to take the class (and perhaps also because it is their one chance to experience the notorious Mr. B. as a teacher) so long as I can fit them in.

                          Which is part of the reason I am shortly going to have to leave this diary (less of a problem now that it has scrolled off the Rec list) -  I had 3 AP students out yesterday.  The rest took their first test.  That means I have 113 free response questions to read and score to get their exam grades in (already processed the scantrons for the 20 MC questions) before we run their progress reports.  I need to check what I will address on the debrief of the exam, which affects the planning I must do for Monday.

                          In general, smaller classes are good PROVIDED we have the physical facilities and the trained faculty so that students do not suffer merely because we are committed to some theoretical class size limit.  Unfortunately, too often we do not address the additional things we will need to make smaller classes effective.  

                          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                          by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:35:14 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sandblaster

                    depends where the money goes.

                    You cannot look at average per pupil spending, because that is deceptive.

                    How much goes for special ed, which is often much more expensive in inner city schools because of things like kids brain-damaged from lead-based paint, or insufficient nutrition damaging brain development?  If a system lacks the capability of meeting the needs of such children, under federal law they must pay for private placements often at far more than 30K per student.  In DC this has been one of the major cost loads on the system.

                    You also cannot expect districts without a tax base to spend money they don't have.  That was one reason for the Federal government getting involved back in the 1960s.

                    You also have the problem that tax rates are voted on by citizens.  What if you have a large chunk of population which does not have kids in public schools -  for religious reasons, or because they no longer have children of school age - and they refuse to pay taxes for something they have been convinced is not of benefit to them.  What then happens to the children of families for whom the only option is a public school?

                    You over simplify, you rely far too much upon your own understanding of your own experience.

                    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                    by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:45:14 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Funny (0+ / 0-)

                      You over simplify, you rely far too much upon your own understanding of your own experience.

                      And you don't?  And others don't in this thread?  Oh but since they agree with you, it must be universal.  We've been down this road before, lol.  About ten comments in, I can count on you to try and paint me as some subjective person lacking the ability to read and reasearch issues.  Wow.  Not everyone is going to share your opinion.  Fact.

          •  You do not admit (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, Blue Knight, Azazello

            or even mention, any factors outside the Education System as interesting or important to your criticism of American Education. Why?

            Do you see the problem as so simple, or do you have an golden axe to grind? Both perhaps.

            I can tell you of an experience yesterday. A 21 year old student came by to thank me for my Remedial Writing Course for 12th graders. She tested through Community College basic writing, cost: $1200.00 saved to her. She then tested through Writing 121, saving an additional $800.00. She was genuinely impressed that what I had said, I delivered. A Community College Prep writing course. Another student, who was Dakota People from the reservation, coincidentally from the SAME Class, was visting me at the same moment. He dropped out after half a year of his 12th grade.  He said, "You know, I wish I could go back and do it again. I would do everything, and be in college now." He chose. She chose. The results: Dramatic difference.

            It is not my responsibility to have forced that student to remain in school, but I did beg him to stay at the time. I think he could see the tear in my eye three years ago.  He left. He suffers. No job, no college and no hope. I did offer to tutor his writing for free, and have him help me build a fence for horses, at minimum wage,  which he has experience with from Dakota. These stories happen to me routinely, at least a dozen times a year.

            I do not know of a For-Profit school or teacher who could do as much. Your frame of reference is so flawed as to be useless.  

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:31:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So true! (5+ / 0-)

          The majority of K-12 public schools are doing a fine job, but people are being bombarded with scary scenes of failure (mostly occuring in poorly resourced districts).  The privatizing & charter school movement are just about grabbing onto the gravy train - as Unitary Moonbat noted above "Race to the Trough".
          Who will be the Educational Industrial Complex's version of HalliburtonBlackwaterKBR?

          If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

          by CParis on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:50:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It has failed too many... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, CParis, blueoregon

        I agree, there are some wonderful public schools.  The problem is they aren't avaialable to all children.  I see this essentially at the heart of the issue that no one is really addressing.  The suburban schools in my area are NOT being privatized.  Only schools serving poor and minorities.  

        •  In urban areas with very underfunded schools, do (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m00finsan, Azazello

          you believe that the schools have failed the children or do you believe that through underfundung and gross mismangement the communities have failed the schools?

          I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:29:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmm... (0+ / 0-)

            It depends....there are some really, really good public schools in urban areas.  They receive the same funding.  Should some schools receive more resources, yes.  Arlene Ackerman is changing the system to do this so that money follows the student based on their needs.  Needless to say, it is controversial.  I think that underfunding is a huge issue but I also think that where we find kids who are deemed collateral damage, more funding will not solve the problem.  If teacher perceptions don't change about expectations and potential for these children, money won't solve the problem.  In other words, I think there are some advancements that could be made without more money.  Significant, maybe but certainly I don't see the issue as just a funding problem.  I think it goes a lot deeper than that.

    •  PTA has a CEO? (5+ / 0-)

      Who knew?

      As far as I know, our parent association is not connected with any corporate umbrella organization.  If we are, then after having three kids in public schools for eleven years and paying the yearly PFA fees, etc., I've never heard of any type of corporation that represents our interests or takes our input.

      So what is this PTA corporation that has a CEO and who do they speak for?  Do they claim to speak for all parents with students in public schools in this country?  What authority do they have?  We don't even have anything called PTA in our large school district.  It's called PFA here.

      Disclosure: I'm working as an unpaid citizen journalist covering the Sestak campaign/ PA Sen. race for Huffington Post's "Eyes and Ears 2010" project

      by joanneleon on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:01:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It seems a million years ago I attended (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        Westchester County, N.Y.'s really excellent public schools. They were among the country's best. Lots of the kids' were very PTA active. Nothing corporate about it back then. Despite all that, in 6th grade, my Republican parents decided a public education wasn't quite good enough for me. This was the early 60s--the Republican meme that public schools aren't any good is an old one. Some of my folks' friends had kids a bit older than me in places like St. Paul's and Andover, so off I went. I spent 6th - 12th in New England boarding schools at God-knows-what-expense. No girls in the place, but hey, they started us on Latin & Greek in junior high! Private college after that for a while, before burning out on it. Went back later and finished my degree at a public university. Heh. I've made a great living at my hobby, flying airplanes. Must admit, I got a helluva education in those places, despite disliking them. But the diff between public school and that, who's really to say? Afterward my dad always ribbed me about how a pilot's knowing the classics is vital to preventing aircraft accidents. At least he was good-natured about it; for what they'd spent on snobby schools they could have had a vacation home or something. Can't help chalking at least some of my private school attendance off to plain ol' country-clubbish snobbery. But nowadays it's increasingly corporate and RW political. The goal is indoctrination and circumventing church-and-state separation. It's become quite an ugly thing for sure.

        As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

        by Wom Bat on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:38:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mamaroneck HS, 1963 here (9+ / 0-)

          I remember in one of the two (out of four) elementary schools that lacked real diversity of race having classmates from very wealthy and connected families.  When we got to high school, many of them were off to St. Grottlesex  (shorthand for several prestigious boarding schools) or commuting into NYC to places like Horace Mann and Miss Spence's and the like.  Or the Catholic boys were at one of the nearby Jesuit prep schools, Fairfield or Fordham preps.

          My hs was about 1/3 each Jewish, Protestant and Catholic, but my AP classes were heavily Jewish with most of the rest Catholic girls.

          I probably received as good an education at Mamaroneck as those friends who went to the private or Catholic settings (my next door neighbor started at Fairfield and finished at Fordham, and I had to tutor him to get him through physics).   I know that at places like East Coast Model UN conferences I got to interact with kids from those settings, and I had a number of Haverford classmates who came from such schools.

          But compared to much of the nation, we were a wealthy community.  People paid a premium for houses in our community to be in our schools.

          That choice is not available to all people, in part because of economic disparity.

          The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of the Great Society program was the first serious national attempt to address that.  We are now talking more than four and half a decades.

          The issue cannot be addressed solely within the classroom.

          Until we equalize nutrition, bring medical and dental care up to some acceptable minimum, address the legacy of lead based paint, and provide out of school access to important resources, we will never fully address the issue of our failure to educate many of our young people.   We have a budget crisis and we close public libraries -  what then do those without personal or family resources do to be able to keep up with the resources of the upper middle class?

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:57:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pelham, here. Would've been PMHS 1968. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joanneleon

            Haverford, great school. Went to Trinity (Hartford, CT) in prelaw for a while, but then took off. Didn't wanna be no lawyer, I guess. Jet airplanes more fun than dour old senior partners and billable hrs. Finished at UNC-Asheville, a little liberal-arts school that's among the country's best buys in education.

            As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

            by Wom Bat on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:18:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  had a classmate who was '67 at Trinity (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon, Wom Bat

              and whose mother was the first female president of a Jewish Congregation in the US.   We were a very liberal community.

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:53:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  We have a budget crisis and seriously underfund (6+ / 0-)

            schools and the inner cities, while at the same time we waste countless billions (trillions?) on foreign adventurism... and then we blame teachers for failing to educate our children. Only in America.

            I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:34:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  In other words... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxNDox

      teachers, teachers' unions and administrators have lost credibility.  I can't say that it is all one way.  Honestly, this has been underway for a long time and I can't say that those in education haven't in part opened the door for it take root.  It was fine and dandy when the kids were being blamed or their parents...they have been demonized for years and continue to be...but I think people are reacting to the fundamental belief that we can do better.  It's true, we can.

      •  So if people believe that "we can do better", (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandblaster, JanL, blueoregon, m00finsan

        what's the magic formula for doing better? Do you believe that punishing teachers and corporatizing and privatizing schools is going to produce a better education for even one child? All the evidence from objective studies so far shows that just about the opposite is true.

        It's easy to say "schools can do better". And "in theory", sure they can. But I'd suggest that if schools are going to do better, maybe people should consider what people who are actually in schools doing the job need in order to do better. And it isn't what this so-called "reform" movement is offering.

        I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:55:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you want schools to do better (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassidy3, JanL, CParis, OregonOak, m00finsan

          you have to treat each child as if they're a 'special' child. Because they are.

          They need an education plan. They need to work with a specialist to find their strengths and weaknesses. They need to be matched to a teacher who will resonate with them or has the skills to build on their strengths and help them improve their weak areas.

          That's not going to happen unless there's a LOT more support staff in the schools. And smaller classes. And specialized help for those who need it.

          •  So then we just give up? nt (0+ / 0-)
            •  How about providing the required (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JanL, CParis, BoxNDox, m00finsan, Azazello

              resources. I have classes with 38 students. Should I be expected to teach 6 classes of 38 students, provide meaningful and timely feedback regarding their strengths and weaknesses, and remain dynamic, energized, and personally committed to the success of each student?

              •  Who is advocating for that? nt (0+ / 0-)
                •  The folks who cheerlead for (6+ / 0-)

                  "accountability". My school board approved a policy that allows them to fire me for low test scores. Yet, my classes are overcrowded and students enter my class reading two or three grade levels behind. This is how accountability shapes up in my district.

                  •  I cheerlead for accountability... (0+ / 0-)

                    you missed my point.  Why aren't the unions advocating for this as forcefully as they advocate for tenure or against pay based on assessment?  They would have natural allies in parents and students.  However, it has been shown that lower class sizes may not be the answer.

                    •  Anytime I hear someone say (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sandblaster, JanL, esquimaux, m00finsan

                      that lowering class size is not the answer I want to puke. Is it the ONLY answer? Of course not. But nobody should be surprised when little Johnny can't write well if he is mixed in with another 210 students on his English teacher's roster. maybe you missed my point so I will attempt to clarify.

                      There are many factors that contribute to a student's ability to succeed in school. Some of the really important factors are outside the teacher's realm of control. Thus, accountability based on test scores is unfair to teachers. As for unions and their focus for advocacy - I believe tenure was originally put in place to protect teachers from the political whims of a particular body of leaders. Yet, as I stated before, in my district, a teacher, tenured or not, can be fired for low test scores. As for creating a salary structure that is fair for teachers - I am all for it. Paying teachers for high test scores would not be fair.

                      •  Puke away... (0+ / 0-)

                        I read a study that said it didn't.  That was contraintuitive to me as well.  It was posted on one of the diaries here.  

                        We will agree to disagree on how much is within the teacher's realm of control.  

                        •  I don't know what there could be to disagree (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sandblaster, Azazello

                          about.

                          If a student does not get proper nutrition, sleep, or emotional support, it impacts their performance. I really can't control how much nurturing and support a kid receives at home. You may disagree. Go for it.
                          peace.

                        •  and so you universalize from one study (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sandblaster, cassidy3

                          that agrees with a position you already hold?

                          Have you read possible responses to that study that maybe point out how it has a flawed methodology, or systematically excludes data that would counter its conclusions?

                          Reducing class size from 30 to 28 really does not make a difference  Reducing it from 40 to 28 usually does.

                          If attempting teach reading or writing, having more than 30 students in one class is very ineffective.

                          Oh, and if class size is so unimportant, why do so many private schools advertise directly on their class size?  Why is one key factor in the US News rating of colleges/universities the percentage of class with less than 20 students.

                          Merely decreasing class size without providing appropriately trained teachers for the additional classes thereby created is of course not effective.

                          But if one is able to provide quality teachers, most studies on reduced class size demonstrate increased learning and on task behavior.  That has been true for many years and through many studies.

                          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                          by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:50:54 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Tennessee STARS (0+ / 0-)

                            Over 7,000 students in 79 schools were randomly assigned into one of three interventions: small class (13 to 17 students per teacher), regular class (22 to 25 students per teacher), and regular-with-aide class (22 to 25 students with a full-time teacher's aide).  Classroom teachers were also randomly assigned to the classes they would teach. The interventions were initiated as the students entered school in kindergarten and continued through third grade.

                            A significantly larger percent of small-class students (52.9%) versus students who had attended regular (49.1%) and regular/aide (48.0%) classes passed the TCE Language requirement at grade 8.

                            The same was true for the mathematics requirement, where 36.4% of the small-class students passed versus 32.3% of the regular class and 30.3% of the regular/aide class students.

                            http://www.heros-inc.org/...

                            For about 50% more money in four years of regular education one can get 20% more pass grades in math and 10% more pass grades in language skills.

                            The somewhat better language skills have some economic value, but I suspect better math skills probably have very little economic or even practical value to society in the age of debit/credit cards and tax software programs.

                            The average young American might be better off given the increased cost per student in a trust fund.

                            A man in Chattanooga once asked me for money. I thought he was crazy. After a minute I realized he simply lacked teeth. I think he said false teeth would cost $300.

                          •  I am quite well aware of STARS (0+ / 0-)

                            having referred to it in one of my first published pieces about a decade ago

                            there are limitations to the study, and to generally apply the results without regard to the limitations is simply wrong.

                            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                            by teacherken on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:05:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Say what? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanL, m00finsan, Blue Knight

            Are you suggesting that this can't be done on the cheap?
            /snark

        •  Your framing is off... (0+ / 0-)

          Do you believe that punishing teachers and corporatizing and privatizing schools is going to produce a better education for even one child?

          Should read:

          Do you believe that HOLDING teachers ACCOUNTABLE and privatizing schools is going to produce a better education for even one child?

          In some cases, Yes.  In some cases, no.  It depends on the organization that manages the school.  Just as some public schools are great and some are horrid.  I don't think the horrid schools should continue to exist.  I think horrid teachers should be fired.  

          •  Funny - I thought teachers were always (7+ / 0-)

            accountable. When I taught in a public high school (I'm now a college professor), what I saw were alot of extremely hard-working teachers, often working 50, 60 or more hours per week, underpaid, struggling to do everything they could for their students. And then in the newspaper (Washington Post) I'd constantly read editorials about how the "schools were refusing to teach our children". Frankly, I didn't know what they were talking about.

            I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:11:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No I do not think I should be held (6+ / 0-)

            "accountable" when I have some students who for various reasons reject opportunity, lack prerequisite skills to succeed, or require interventions that are grossly under-resourced.

            In reality, that is not accountability. It's scapegoating.

            I don't see these lazy incompetent teachers in my building. The people I work with are committed and capable.

            •  So scapegoating kids... (0+ / 0-)

              is your answer?

            •  "reject opportunity" (0+ / 0-)

              A salesman doesn't get the commission if the customer rejects an opportunity.

              Teachers sometimes have sales-related responsibilities.

              "lack prerequisite skills to succeed"

              Someone along the way had to add a skill. You might do the same.

              "grossly under-resourced"

              You are a human. You are the resource.

              Under modern management methods goals are often very ambitious. There are goals and reality. Management must judge the results and its goals in a realistic manner. Management terminates a good worker at its peril. That is the danger and problem management must face.

              Goals are set because the results are normally better. But if the goals are too ambitious and workers become demoralized or are mistakenly sacked then management has failed.

              Goals are a tool. Tests are a tool. But it takes more than tools to build a house or run a school system. Good workers and good management are required.

              •  I should not be fired (0+ / 0-)

                if I have students who do not attend school regularly. If parents do not require kids to come to school but instead allow them to sit home and play games or watch TeeVee, the teacher should not be fired for that kids lack of growth. I have students who use illegal drugs. That affects performance yet I have little influence or control over that choice. There are many folks involved in the "reform" movement who would agree with your sales job analogy. The business model has great appeal among them. Those of us who are working in this field usually see things differently.

  •  P.T.A. died a quiet death some time ago, just (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, akeitz, esquimaux, NCgrassroots

    about the time when households began to have two income earners become the "norm".  

    Sad, very sad that we as parents do not (did not) have the time to sit down and partake in shaping of the educational path with the teachers who are responsible for the education of our most precious resources, our children.  After all, who better than the daily educator to give you a solid perspective of just what needs to be accomplished by both parties involved for the preparation of sending our next generation out into the world?

    Thank you, once again, President Reagan as it was his destructive economic policies coupled with the "need" to "have more" perceptions and realities that ushered in the beginning of the end of many things, and the P.T.A. interaction was but one of those quiet responsibilities of parents that fell by the wayside.

    "I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean I love the country but I can't stand the scene." - Leonard Cohen (Democracy)

    by LamontCranston on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:38:31 AM PDT

  •  Maria Bartiromo? (11+ / 0-)

    What could she possibly have to offer on the subject of education?  She's not even particularly knowledgeable on her field of expertise -- Wall Street.

    Disclosure: I'm working as an unpaid citizen journalist covering the Sestak campaign/ PA Sen. race for Huffington Post's "Eyes and Ears 2010" project

    by joanneleon on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:39:38 AM PDT

  •  University of Phoenix does a lot of distance and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello

    online education.  So in that sense, it's probably on the panel as a corporate voice not because it's a "sponsor" of someone else's initiatives, but because it is, itself, a corporation specializing in providing a certain kind of "educational product" for profit.

    •  Their product is wildly uneven (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxNDox, m00finsan

      I'm sure some courses are well done, and offer a lot. But many of them don't.

      And there are inherent problems in distance education, ones that all institutions that offer online courses deal with. How do you test? How do you access what the students have learned? How do you even verify that the person who posted/tested is the one who signed up for the course in the first place?

      Everybody wrestles with those problems.

  •  I suggest to all parents (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akeitz, webranding
    especally those in conservative rural areas..to do this.  Teach your kids to think.  To be inquisitive and not to accept everything corporate America is demanding our children to learn and teachers to teach.  

    It is all about the money and who controls it.
    I suggest you really get involved with the teachers plan and stay on top of what kids are being taught considering they won't even let the principal speak to a school without screenig.
    If I have a problem, I usually go straight to the superintendent.  The best thing I ever did out here in rural Ga was start a county watchdog group.
    Amazing what that thing accomplished.

  •  Pretty sure you're not wrong. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KeithH, akeitz, slatsg, sandblaster, m00finsan

    As part of the lead-up there was a two-hour special on MSNBC a couple weeks ago. I was encouraged because it was being moderated by Tamron Hall, who says she is the daughter of a teacher. So I thought surely there would be teacher perspectives included.

    Not a single teacher in the whole two hours, unless you count Randi Weingarten. I kept thinking, well, any second now they'll get to the segment where they say, "Now lets get the teachers' perspectives on all this." Didn't happen.

    Make. Them. Filibuster.

    by NWTerriD on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:55:10 AM PDT

    •  Randi taught a couple of years (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akeitz, sandblaster, JanL, m00finsan

      to qualify for a leadership position in the union.

      She is well-meaning.

      I think she is very far removed from the reality of the classroom.

      Among the leaders of the two unions, the one I most would have liked to see is Lily Eskelsen, VP of NEA and herself a former Utah teacher of the year.  She still keeps a foot in the classroom.

      To be fair, Lily is encouraging teachers to sign up for the Town Hall.  I am not doing the same, nor, as I note in the diary, am I at this point prepared to sign up myself.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:00:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you ask NYC teachers and parents (6+ / 0-)

    about Joel Klein, he would probably not want to hear the answers.

    He gets a lot of good press, mostly by people who do not have kids in the public school system.

    We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

    by plf515 on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 05:59:38 AM PDT

    •  a point that has been made repeatedly (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akeitz, JanL, plf515, blueoregon, m00finsan

      in the correspondence I have seen, which has included an important voice for parents in NYC, that of Leonie Haimson.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:03:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From Charlie Rose's site (0+ / 0-)

      Mr. Rose should put together a panel of people like Leonie Haimson and Patrick Sullivan, NYC parents who have stood up to Mr. Klein and have exposed the major fault lines in his administration.

      Klein has lost the confidence of an overwhelming majority of teachers. In the so-called business model for education Klein is pushing, such a performance would lead the end of a CEO's tenure. Mr. Rose should include in his panel rank and file teachers (as opposed to union leaders who are as far away from the classroom as is Mr. Klein) who will provide a balanced picture of the level of devastation that has taken place in the schools under Mr. Klein's tenure.

      http://www.charlierose.com/...

      Teachers are not the answer- it does not matter much what the teacher does or says or how much the teacher is paid: culture is the primary factor in education. The biggest problem in schools that are 'failing' is the culture of the student population and the fact that their families set no expectations. A teacher may make a difference in one or two students, but, on the whole, culture is the prime mover.

      Fact: my children went to private school (Forsyth Country Day in NC and Gulfstream in FL)and could not gain entrance to UC Berkley or Stanford Universities, however, hundreds of Vietnamese kids who were terrorized in expulsion from Vietnam, refugee camps and pirates on the high seas were educated in our worst inter-city schools, yet they won scholarships based on their performance. Mind you, these students were not 'preferenced' to meet some quota, but were filtered to higher standards because their representation in the student population was much higher than in the general population.

      Joel just does not 'get' it. He could pay as much as he wants, but will not get expected results because of the culture.

      Administrators have tremendous pressure to use their budgets "wisely". How can this task be done "effectively"? Get rid of senior teachers with experience and hire "new" teachers. Klein's dirty secret, double the staff for less money. The more inexperience teaachers that principals can control, less challenge to their dicatorship. He wants to nickel and dime teachers. For example, a senior teacher making 80,000, that cares for students and knows her subject matter is a liability to a principal.

      Once again Joel Klein beat up on the teachers and the UFT contract and gave figures that are suspect. Talk to any teacher about this tyrannical administration with teachers leaving in droves from the hate, micro managing and mismanagement by principals who will lie about and insult teachers in a system that is not transparent by any measurement. It's immoral for principals to get up to $50,000 for destroying careers of excellent teachers.

  •  One word for NBC: Pathetic! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL
  •  Good diary, but really now, NBC (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, slatsg, JanL, princss6, BoxNDox

    is a corporation promoting its crap corporate POV using its crap lineup of corporate speakers, sponsored by (surprise!) one of those corporate "colleges." Who would've expected anything else?

    As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

    by Wom Bat on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:03:08 AM PDT

  •  The Aristocrats' rule is: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akeitz, cassidy3, JanL, blueoregon

    The Aristocrats rule.

    and as a corollary rule,

    We don't need no stinkin' "people." We will TELL you your opinion when we want it.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:04:00 AM PDT

  •  That list is appalling. (8+ / 0-)

    Not that any one individual is unworthy of consideration, but on the whole, that's not an education panel, it's an educational freak show.

    Our position is tax cuts for the middle class. Theirs is tax cuts for millionaires.

    by Jimdotz on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:05:46 AM PDT

  •  So Charterschoolapalooza then? n/t (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akeitz, JanL, esquimaux, blueoregon, Azazello

    -----
    We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

    by Corporate Dog on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:06:30 AM PDT

  •  A Good Place to Be (4+ / 0-)

    It's nice to hang out here--it feels like a friendly staff lounge.  

    Thanks, Ken, for a great piece, and especially for putting the list of scheduled presenters together. This week of programming is bought and paid for--a giant, ongoing infomercial for the US Dept of Ed's current policies.

    •  I didn't put the list together (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, JanL, CParis

      it was in a press release issued by NBC on Monday September 13.

      There are other presenters -  Colin and Alma Powell will both be presenting.

      There are more people who will be in the panel discussions.

      But this is the list they put out.

      It illustrates much of the problem.

      So does the mission statement, with its emphasis on international comparisons and economic justifications.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:24:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like a set-up to me. (6+ / 0-)

    I do tend to be way too cynical about almost everything, but I'm extremely cynical about things that involve education.  If it doesn't include parents, teachers, and kids, they aren't really looking for good/real answers.  Period.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:14:14 AM PDT

  •  A little OT, but wanted to ask if you know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello

    anything or have an opinion on Agile Mind.  My daughter teaches h.s. math courses in Indy at one 6 high schools experimenting with this method this year.  As I understand it, its purpose is to raise comprehension and scores in math and science classes.  They use an interactive smart board which the students seem to love, the purpose is visual thinking, the discovery of why things are true instead of rote learning.  My daughter said there are kinks to be worked out and a lot of new work, and it is probably too early for assessment.  But the kids seem excited about math this year because of it, so that is a good first step.  

    •  sorry, not familiar with it (0+ / 0-)

      and I am not a math teacher, and might hesitate to comment without discussing with math teachers whose opinions I respect.

      Sorry, but I do not track every innovation in education, and do not have time to follow up on everything to which I am pointed.

      Perhaps someone will read your comment and respond, or perhaps you might try posting it as a diary and asking for feedback.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:25:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can offer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, dotster

      my, admittedly jaundiced, view on smart boards in general. Our district bought a bunch of them.

      1. They're expensive, there may be better uses for the scarce resources.
      1. They break down a lot and require costly repair.

      The kids love 'em, they're "technology" after all, and most kids are raised on TeeVee, conditioned to stare at screens from their earliest years. I'm not at all sure that they provide any educational advantages. They're just really expensive overhead projectors that you can hook up to a computer and show (yuck) power-points on.
      I can't see how visual learning can help with, e.g. factoring quadratics.

  •  Education reform is not about teachers/parents (7+ / 0-)

    I think this list proves it. Its about power, and money.

    •  So many people miss the underlying issue. (7+ / 0-)

      They actually believe that corporate America is acting in good faith and that they really care about our kids' education. Yeah right, like they care about our health care. Privatization is the issue; it's about the money, not the kids.

      •  So we just assume that (0+ / 0-)

        educators are acting in good faith?  Why?

        •  Because they're not in it to get rich, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sandblaster, JanL

               unlike many charter operators or corporations.

          •  So you would be okay... (0+ / 0-)

            if someone got rich and educational achievement increased?  The two aren't mutually exclusive.  

            •  I would be okay if (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sandblaster, lilypew, cassidy3, Azazello

              corporate education promoters would forgo profit until they  make up the "gap" they campaign for so hard.

              In other words, compete with public education on the same playing field. Eliminate the variables and see who can do better.

              As it is, there is a vested interest for Corporate Education to trash talk, demean, attack, suspect and in general act like assholes toward public education, because it increases their profits.  

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:13:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You realize that (0+ / 0-)

                charter schools teachers make less than public school teachers generally.  I really don't care if there is a profit motive in Education.  Certainly the altruistic motive leaves some children out in the cold.  And I find it ironic that teachers unionized for better pay and working conditions yet call out others motivated by profit.  Some heavy coginitive dissonance there.

                •  Of course charter teachers make less, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lilypew, JanL

                  but charter administrators make much more. See how that works ? You don't understand the difference between profit and wages do you ? It's not "cognitive dissonance", it's basic economics, sheesh.

                  •  No... (0+ / 0-)

                    I do understand the difference between profit and wages.  I'm making more profit for my time now that I'm back to work versus collecting unemployment.  However, my profit for my knowledge is now decreased overall due to expenses to commute, clothing, day care, etc.  

                    •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

                           You've just proved my point.

                    •  Your wages are NOT your profit.. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Azazello

                      Two different things. You may "profit" from wages personally, as we say in conversation,  but the definition of profit in a business is what is left over AFTER all costs of production, including wages.

                      Materials+machines+wages=costs.
                      Sales-costs= profit.

                      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                      by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:01:56 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  so only in a business context... (0+ / 0-)

                        how convenient...

                        I've had a cost of production for my knowledge...to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars.  My profit derived from my wages and benefits serve to off-set my student loans.  When I wasn't working and taking in less profit, I couldn't pay my loans.  Profits are taxable just like wages.  Do  you really want to argue that wages and profit are not synonomus?

                        •  I am prepared to believe you (0+ / 0-)

                          when you say you had an inferior education. I think there may have been a problem with application. Do you read books ? If I knew as little as you, I would not be so generous with my comments, especially on a site known to be frequented by educated, well informed posters.

                          •  Who said... (0+ / 0-)

                            I ever said, I had an inferior education...ad hom much...

                            My educational bonafides would stack up with most on this board despite coming from a poor background.  That is what my teachers did for me.  They educated me and I was educated at a time when poor parents could rely on public schools to do just that educate, no excuses.

                            For your information, I have TWO Bachelors degrees and a Masters degree.  To assume I'm not educated says more about you than me.  I guess you couldn't disprove me point but whatever, YOUR problem not mine.  Sad and pathetic to see you revert to ad homs.

                          •  I suggest further (0+ / 0-)

                            that the quarter of a million dollars mentioned above was not spent wisely.

                          •  Okay... (0+ / 0-)

                            that quarter of a million investment made sure that I don't have to subject my kid to public school and can afford private school.  It is well worth it despite immature heckling, lol.

                            I see you can't argue my point and instead running away hurling ad homs.  Put your big girl panties on and concede the point or we can go back and forth all day.  

                          •  Projection... (0+ / 0-)

                            profit
                            noun

                            Definition of PROFIT

                            1 the amount of money left when expenses are subtracted from the total amount received <after we deducted the cost of sugar, lemons, and paper cups, the profit from a day of lemonade sales was about $20>

                            Synonyms earnings, gain, lucre, net, payoff, proceeds, return

                            Related Words cleanup, killing, windfall; bottom line; gross, sales; compensation, emolument, income, pay, payment, remittal, requital, salary, wages; interest, return, revenue, yield

                            Near Antonyms charge, cost, disbursement, expenditure, expense, loss, outgo, outlay

                            2 an increase usually measured in money that comes from labor, business, or property <found that there was a profit in training dogs for rich people>

                            Synonyms earnings, gain(s), incoming(s), proceeds, profit, return, revenue, yield

                            Related Words killing, windfall; salary, take-home pay, tips, wages; bankroll, capital, coffers, exchequer, finances, funds, money, pocket, pocketbook, resources, wherewithal

                            Near Antonyms charge, cost, disbursement, expenditures, expenses, outgo, outlay

                            link

                          •  Profits (0+ / 0-)

                            are the return on capital, wages are the return on labor, or does this distinction elude you as well ? The difference is recognized by your government. Profits are unearned income and wages, tips and salaries are earned income. The two appear on different parts of your tax form and often require separate forms entirely.
                            Again, if you envy the riches amassed by school teachers, you probably earn below the median income. $250k might have gotten more earning potential, maybe even a basic economics or accounting course as an elective somewhere along the way.  

                        •  Shifting the argument.... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sandblaster

                          you do not address anyone's meaning, but shift to new agendas when you are boxed in. This is called "debate absent good faith" to reach a true statement.

                          Without good faith in the ability to come to truth statements, all debate is futile, and in fact counterproductive because it is mere emotion. I dont want to indulge in that.

                          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                          by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:28:06 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  You missed the point. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sandblaster, JanL, CParis

              Teachers and principals know that they're not going to make a fortune in education. The vast majority of them choose their field because they like kids. Their motives are, therefore, less suspect than those of someone who wants to profit from education.
              And since you asked, no, I'm not OK with anyone getting rich off public institutions, off taxpayer funds. You do realize that there is no law against opening a private school, or even a chain of private McSchools. That's not what they want. They want to use public funds. More than $300 billion is spent on K-12 every year and there are people who want a piece of it. I'm starting to wonder how much you really know about the way the world works.

              •  Education Industrial Complex (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lilypew, JanL

                like the Military - outsource, privatize to crony contracters - who is the HalliburtonKBRBlackwater of the EIC?

                If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me. ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

                by CParis on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:33:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Shrug... (0+ / 0-)

                bottom line for me.  I'm not really invested in the noble matyr when most teachers are making damn good money with damn good benefits relative to a whole host of people in this country.  I'm more invested in results.  I don't care in what mode the education takes place as long as it is happening.  Someone making a profit isn't a deal breaker for me and a lot of others if my kid is learning.

                •  Only when, by comparison, (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandblaster, lilypew, Azazello

                  the American workforce has been hollowed out by Corporate America. You do not know how many times in the last 30 years Real Estate agents, Insurance Agents, Amway shills, Corporate execs have told me, you know, you ought to make some real money, quit teaching, and do yourself some good.

                  I didn't because I could see the house of cards they were building, and I knew that teaching had its own rewards. Spiritual rewards, if you will.

                  And now, when they have destroyed America's economy, shipped the capital to the Barbados, sent the jobs to non-union countries, suddenly all those real estate agents, corporate execs and Amway shills are looking longingly at my small salary and saying.... "YOU MAKE TOO MUCH!"

                  I tell them I have fought and bled for my students, and anyone who doubts my sincerity better say it to my face. And so, princss, please believe me. Your disatisfaction with school is largely manufactured by the ones who stand to profit from your dissatisfaction. Work with your kid's teachers. Don't confront, don't accuse. Learn to cooperate and team up with them, and I guarantee, your kid will get what he wants. If you go in like an asshole, that is the end of the system you will see, the rear end.  If you go in like a co-worker, you will be welcomed back again and again. My personal guarantee, wherever you live. Even DC.

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:36:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Beautifully said. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Azazello

                    Thanks.

                    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

                    by lilypew on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:45:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Please DO NOT (0+ / 0-)

                    presume to tell me where my disaffection lies.  I'm my own person and can think.  This is not corporate media-driven.  It is life experiences driven.  I love my kids teachers.  I would do anything for them because the education they provided for my son CHANGED HIS LIFE.  But guess what, they aren't unionized, one hasn't been paid in months.  But my kid learned when the public school with unionized teachers and more resources tried to throw him away.  I also am a product of good teachers and that is why I'm not buying this demonization of poor and minority children.  I've spent more time with my kid's teacher than most will spend in a lifetime.  Up until this year, I saw my kid's teachers every day at pick-up.  So don't presume to tell me that what I know and see and what others share with me is based on some media-driven narrative.  Hint:  my people ain't necessarily treated to kindly by te media so I've had to learn discernment at an early age.  That statement was kind of condescending.

                    •  I am not Presuming (0+ / 0-)

                      I am using the words you have written. There is no presumption on my part. I know exactly what you are saying, and I understand. I dont agree, but I do understand.

                      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                      by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:59:49 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Talk about bad faith... (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't think you understand.  You are viewing this through a prism of protect teachers at all cost or teachers are above criticism.  If you dare point out glaring issues with teacher quality then you must be a paid shill or corpocrat or worse, uneducated.  None of these accusations have anything to do with the issue but there you are and here we are and I'm the one trying to shift the debate?  Yeah, right.

                    •  Do people really wonder why (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sandblaster

                      teachers unionize?

                      But guess what, they aren't unionized, one hasn't been paid in months.

                      What kind of school system refuses to pay the teachers who change the lives of their students?

                      •  Independent private school.... (0+ / 0-)

                        These teachers put their money where their mouth is....not to disparage others but for a lack of a better word.  They teach because they love it and see a need among their students.  They own the school and with the economy over the last few years and the rise of charter schools, the school has been decimated.  Yet after 30 plus  years they continue.  At times, without pay and at times without health insurance and at great cost to their own financial well-being when they could just go and teach in a private or charter school and never worry about a paycheck.

                        •  and to think (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sandblaster, Azazello

                          just a few moments ago in another post, you disputed the "noble martyrdom" of teachers.

                          Shrug... (0+ / 0-)
                          bottom line for me.  I'm not really invested in the noble matyr when most teachers are making damn good money with damn good benefits relative to a whole host of people in this country.  I'm more invested in results.  I don't care in what mode the education takes place as long as it is happening.  Someone making a profit isn't a deal breaker for me and a lot of others if my kid is learning.

                          •  Damn comment eaten... (0+ / 0-)

                            in a nutshell... you betcha.  There are some real martyrs, teachers with the benefit of a guaranteed salary and benefits hardly fit my criteria when I know of teachers who go without pay.  You betcha.  Also, these same teachers' results far and away outpace the results of public school teachers, even in good districts.  These teachers aren't out striking every day, in fact, they RARELY miss a day of work.  Paid, vacation, please!  

                            That's real altruism and matyrdom.  But if public school teachers don't get their cost of living wages or are asked to contribute more to their damn good benefits, oh shoot, it is time to shut down the schools.  Meanwhile, the parents of the poor kids served by these teachers WOULD die and go to heaven to have the type of income teachers make.  Don't get it wrong, teachers starting out my be on the low-end of the professions but they certainly aren't on the low-end of wage earners.

                            Having said that, should we pay teachers more?  Sure, but don't think there aren't teachers doing more with less out there because that is false.

                          •  I am really at a loss trying (0+ / 0-)

                            to follow your reasoning.

                            On one hand - teachers are paid better than most and you disagree that many are altruistically motivated. Then you demonize the unions and question why they advocate for higher pay. Then you point out that your kid's wonderful, life-changing, non-unionized, teacher has gone for months without pay or health benefits. If your idea of reform is based on this model, I don't think it will get much traction. I do care about kids. But, I can't work without compensation. I have to keep a roof over my head and buy premium dog food. I suppose everything else could be negotiable.

                            You seem to think having a simple cost of living salary increase or health benefits are unreasonable demands. Where are all of these strikes you mention taking place?

                          •  My arguments are nuanced... (0+ / 0-)

                            On one hand - teachers are paid better than most and you disagree that many are altruistically motivated.

                            That's really not what I said.  I was simply making the point that there are many teachers making decent wages when you compare them to all wage earners.  This is fact.  I don't think all or even most teachers are altruistically motivated.  There are many who are, sure!  But in general, IMO, no and I used the example of my kid's teacherS (plural - more than one went without pay) to butress how not only relative to all wage earners but also to other teachers, most unionized teachers are doing pretty well.  In other words, unions are not necessary nor sufficient to educate children.  They serve the teachers and some teachers, many teachers serve children without the benefit of unions.  And yet, those non-union teachers are getting results in many cases without the benefit of the union.  

                            Then you demonize the unions and question why they advocate for higher pay.

                            I wasn't demonizing unions.  They do what they are supposed to do.  I just really question why if teachers say that they need x, y, z to improve STUDENT outcomes, why teachers aren't out striking for those improvements.  You hear teachers say, well we need this to improve student outcomes and I'm willing to listen but then there is no advocacy on the part of the unions unless and until it affects teacher pay or tenure.  I find that problematic.  I have to think through my labor law but certainly some of the things like smaller class size could be instituted in contracts, right?  Certainly a strike which I'm sure would be supported by parents and kids - if indeed class sizes leads to improvements - would then be a way to advocate for students not only teachers.

                            Then you point out that your kid's wonderful, life-changing, non-unionized, teacher has gone for months without pay or health benefits. If your idea of reform is based on this model, I don't think it will get much traction.

                            My idea of reform is based on outcomes.  I don't like the fact that these teachers went without pay or healthcare especially given their results.  As a matter of fact, if teacher salary was based on results, these teachers would be rich.  I don't mind paying GREAT teachers a lot of money or them making a profit.  I don't.  However, I know the current system isn't working for too many kids.

                            I do care about kids. But, I can't work without compensation. I have to keep a roof over my head and buy premium dog food. I suppose everything else could be negotiable.

                            I would never question your motives.  I know you can't work without compensation but my point really was and is, if improvements are made, teachers will not have union jobs.  The argument that nothing can be done really hasn't been successful.  Arguing that nutrition, sleep and drama-free lives are a huge impediment is not convincing many people outside of teachers and their unions.  I wish we lived in a country that teachers were at the top of the pay scale.  But the poorer the outcomes for children, the easier it is to undercut teachers wages and earnings.  I think it is to teachers and the unions detriment to not realize this and I also think demonize reform isn't going to be successful either.  

                            You seem to think having a simple cost of living salary increase or health benefits are unreasonable demands. Where are all of these strikes you mention taking place?

                            Honestly, I don't think that at all.  I'm just pointing out that there are teachers who don't have that benefit and yet they teach.  Every year there is a strike or threat of strike in my state.  

                          •  That should read... (0+ / 0-)

                            "if improvements AREN'T made, teachers won't have union jobs"

                          •  So (0+ / 0-)

                            good luck finding a future filled with wonderful teachers who have high expectations of their students and refuse to allow hunger or the lack of adequate shelter to impact the test scores of their students. After all, if the teacher is hard-working and competent, NOTHING else matters. Maybe one day, all of these talented and highly-motivated teachers will be fairly compensated and all of those lazy, union-loving, communist teachers will be removed from the payroll. Let the reform begin.

                          •  your words... (0+ / 0-)

                            not mine.  Remember that...

                •  wrong- most are not making (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandblaster, cassidy3, Azazello

                  damn good money.  When one compares people with comparable education having been out of their own schooling for comparable periods of time, teachers make far less, and have been increasingly falling further behind over the last 3 decades.

                  You make assertions that are simply untrue.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:53:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What? (0+ / 0-)

                    Seriously, I know plenty of people who would love to make 40K a year plus benefits.  And that is pretty much guaranteed regardless of performance.  When I came out of grad school the overwhelming majority of teachers were making more money than me.  Summers off, out by 3 or 4.  Come on, TK, compared to where I live, teachers wouldn't even live in my neighborhood and I make good money but there are plenty of teachers that make more money than me.  I'm not begrudging them that but relative to the masses, teachers are paid decently.  

                    •  teacher pay (0+ / 0-)

                      The major findings of our review and analysis include the following:

                      • Recent research shows that teacher quality is key to student and school success.

                      • A continuing issue is whether teacher pay is sufficient to attract and retain quality teachers: trends in relative teacher pay seem to coincide with trends in teacher quality over the long run.

                      • Several types of analyses show that teachers earn significantly less than comparable workers, and this wage disadvantage has grown considerably over the last 10 years.

                      • An analysis of weekly wage trends shows that teachers' wages have fallen behind those of other workers since 1996, with teachers' inflation-adjusted weekly wages rising just 0.8%, far less than the 12% weekly wage growth of other college graduates and of all workers.

                      • A comparison of teachers' weekly wages to those of other workers with similar education and experience shows that, since 1993, female teacher wages have fallen behind 13% and male teacher wages 12.5% (11.5% among all teachers). Since 1979 teacher wages relative to those of other similar workers have dropped 18.5% among women, 9.3% among men, and 13.1% among both combined.

                      • A comparison of teachers' wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.link

                      •  Thanks... (0+ / 0-)

                        but everyone's wages have dropped.  This does not disprove my original statement.  While teacher pay may be on the low scale of salaried, professional workers relative to most workers, teachers get a very good deal.  Compare teacher pay to hourly workers making minimum wage.  That was my original point.

                      •  Three decades (0+ / 0-)

                        of lean corporate management have left corporations with far fewer, but often better paid college-educated people.

                        These corporate individuals might also be working 25% to 40% more hours each doing the work that two people might have done just thirty years ago. Those remaining few with doubled productivity can be paid more.

                        Since 1979 teacher wages relative to those of other similar workers have dropped 18.5% among women, 9.3% among men, and 13.1% among both combined.

                        A railroad worker is about one hundred times more productive on a ton-mile basis than ninety years ago.

                        A grade school teacher today has class sizes often half the size of a century ago and therefore often half the productivity of a century ago.

                        •  Class size would be only one (0+ / 0-)

                          component  of measures of productivity. I seriously question your assertion that class sizes have been cut in half.

                          Were teachers a century ago expected to respond to parent emails within 24 hours? Were teachers a century ago required by federal law to help create, follow, and monitor an IEP for 20% of their students?
                          In terms of assigned tasks, there are few jobs that require more.

            •  If they can do it without fudging the numbers.. (0+ / 0-)

              I want this:

              #1. A Charter school to accept students without any requirements of achievement/behavior/socio-economic class/language.

              #2. That charter school to have to follow all Federal and state requirements that a comprehensive high school follows.

              #3. They are never allowed to get rid of a student unless its for disciplinary reasons. Just like a normal high school.

              If you can show me one that follows all of these, and there is proven advancement in achievement, then there is no reason to argue. Duplicate that environment all over the nation.

  •  NBC is very biased on teaching (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL

    I have noted this when ever NBC has a panel.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:31:35 AM PDT

  •  I looked down the list, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, JanL

    let's see, Nutter, Pepicello, Ride, Rhee. Someone's missing in the Rs, oh yeah, Ravitch.
    That's just a list of the Scapegoat the Teacher's crowd.

  •  Unfortunately, Ken, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, CParis

    the NASCAR race will get better ratings.

    "We don't need your stinking educations.   Just give me a car with nitro."

  •  I look at University of Phoenix (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, blueoregon, Wom Bat, Azazello

    and I think: "What a way to distract people from the investigation into for-profit universities".

    I also see Wendy Kopp and the founder of the HCZ Project" and I also see a big anti-"establishment"  pro-charter school tilt to the proceedings.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:34:52 AM PDT

    •  I have less problem with Geoffrey Canada (6+ / 0-)

      yes, he is a supporter of charter schools, perhaps blindly so.

      But HCZ understands that one cannot address the issues of education only in the classroom.  One of the schools has a fully functioning health clinic.  They work on parent education, on nutrition.  They maintain very low teacher-student ratios, in one school that a friend of mine who is more radical on education than am I noted had a 1-4 ratio.

      I think there are things we can learn.

      I also do not object to have some voices from the corporate world represented -  after all, they sometimes pay heavy taxes on their facilities to local government, much of which goes to funding schools.

      I remember a presidential candidate saying with respect to health care he did not mind them having a seat at the table, just not having all the seats at the table.

      The list is badly imbalanced.  There are some that have no qualification that I can see that justifies including them -  that by the way includes a fair number of the journalists from NBC.  

      And I have real problems with having the head of U of Phoenix when they are also a sponsor.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:42:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've got no problem with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL, CParis, Azazello

        what I've read about HCZ. Now lets give every public school the exact same resources that HCZ has. Oh wait, we know that won't happen will it? The conversation that is going on is about as disingenuous as it could get. By the way there have been some great (well deserved) criticisms of "Waiting For Superman", are you going to post your own review soon?

      •  According to Juan Gonzalez, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassidy3, JanL

        Geoffrey Canada is paying himself $500k/per for running a couple of schools and a youth program. Am I the only one who thinks this is exorbitant ? Principals and Superintendents in my state don't do nearly as well for themselves.

        •  Some people might like (0+ / 0-)

          to dig through IRS form 990s starting here:

          http://gothamschools.org/...

          Some key findings:

          The average salary of the top earner at a charter school or CMO is $169,772. The median is $145,000. If you factor in other costs, like pensions and expense accounts, the average is $186,828 and the median is $158,928. For reference, the average superintendent salary (including regional and community superintendents) is $177,785, according to data provided by SeeThroughNY.

          The highest salary for a charter school leader or CMO executive is $494,269 ($515,258 with pension and expense accounts). The lowest salary is $86,057 (there were no listed pension or expense accounts for this person)....

  •  Where to start... (0+ / 0-)

    I find too great an emphasis on the economic purposes of education and a total lack of the role of education in preparing a person to be a citizen in a democratic republic.

    Education is the primary mechanism to secure economic sustainability.  If you are poor or black, you know, you aren't moving up the ladder through familial or neighborhood connections.  You don't have money to just sit back and savor the quest for knowledge.  You have real and economic incentives to receive a quality education.  That's it...that's all and yes, it is an aspiration to work for the CEOs of AOL, American Express, etc. - the corporate interests represented on the panel.  Point blank, poor and lower class people don't have the luxury of getting an education for education's sake, so yes their (our) emphasis in on an "economic purpose" for education.

    And by the way, the data does not support that either has been all that successful, and in the case of Rhee her approach was just fairly strongly rejected in the primary defeat of her boss Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington.

    That is a stretch.  Mayor Fenty lost because he was deemed out of touch with the black community in favor of white DC'ers and gentrification.  Tie that to educational changes if you can for me...I would love to see it.

    Thanks for the heads up.  I will be sure to watch.  One thing is certain, the current system isn't working for far too many children.  If the status quo has to go to realize improvements for achievements, I'm all for it.  Too much potential wasted otherwise to do anything else but innovate.

    •  not at all a stretch (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, lilypew, cassidy3, JanL, MJ via Chicago

      giving (a) that the Washington Post poll offered data strongly supporting that, and (b) Michelle Rhee herself publicly acknowledged that controversy over her role was a major contributor to Fenty's defeat.

      Does education play an important role in preparing people for a better economic future?  Yes, but . . .

      it is neither the sole nor should it be the primary purpose.  Too often the end result is to prepare people to be compliant workers in large economic enterprises.

      Were we meaningfully preparing the students to be real economic contributors, we would not be so narrowing the education being received to test preparation.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:45:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need to nurture a love of learning. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, cassidy3, JanL, blueoregon, princss6

        The current practice in education is turning students and teachers off. My own experience is that it used to be more fun to teach and I believe more fun for my students to learn. Oh-but one cannot use fun and learning in the same sentence.

        "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

        by lilypew on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:50:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree... (0+ / 0-)

          I think the best schools incorporate learning and fun.  But fun has long left the public schools even before reform.  I wasn't taught in a "fun" environment.  

          •  so you are universalizing your experience? (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sandblaster, lilypew, cassidy3, JanL, Azazello

            Ask my low-level 8th period class about fun -  they were having a great deal of it yesterday, even as we made sure to remember that it was Constitution Day.

            Hell, I tell my parents and my students that I plan to enjoy myself, because if I am bored the kids will be bored out of their minds.

            I am infamous/notorious or however you want to label it.   Yes, I am a very demanding teacher, but I also recognize that my students are not fully developed/mature -  most are around 15 when they arrive in my classroom.  I try to connect with their interests, to make sure they know I see them as more than the person occupying that seat for 45 minutes a day.

            Most of the really successful teachers I know connect with their kids.  They are remembered for making a difference, regardless of what happens with test scores.

            Too narrow a focus on anything loses far too many kids.

            I have fun.  I am excited by what I do.  That excitement is often contagious.   I am willing to be silly.  I do not mind some jokes at my expense -  hell, sometimes I offer them.  

            I am not teaching a subject.  I am teaching persons, with a responsibility to help them connect the curricular material they need to know with their own lives, which may be very different than mine.  Absent that human connection, the entire process is dry and ultimately not effective learning.

            "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

            by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:59:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Confusion... (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not universalizing my experience...I can't turn to just about everyone I know.  School wasn't fun.  Our teachers didn't try to make it fun.  I still learned.

              BUT I'm not disagreeing with you that the best gains are made when schools are fun so I don't know where you comment is coming from.  It may be the title.  My kid went to Montessori and goes to a "fun" school now.  I'm a proponent but I also realize that learning can take place without the fun.

            •  Oh, let me. :) (0+ / 0-)

              I'll universalize my DD's experience.

              Algebra 1? Horror show. Teacher who berated kids who had questions.

              Geometry? Lovely. Teacher who asks for input on his teaching methods.

              Same not-great-at-math teenage girl but now she is doing fine in math class. If she had to leave home, at least she has the benefit of the good (not as measured by test scores but as measured by humanity) teacher. Even though she went through the rotten one.

              Universalization? Don't be a bitch to your students. Be a real live human being. Treat them as you would expect to be treated. See them bloom. All other things being equal. (Big caveat, I know.)

              •  and from elsewhere you know my reaction (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cassidy3, Nance

                to teachers such as that.  They don't belong.

                But trust me, in the current frame of "reform" if they raise test scores, they will be lauded and some think they should be given bonuses, even if the end result is they crush the natural curiosity and desire to learn.

                "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:55:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Rhee... (0+ / 0-)

        stated when he hired her that is was probably political suicide.  Post-election she has only lamented that she wouldn't stay on and that it would hurt the children of DC.  I need a direct connection, like voters actually saying Rhee is the reason why they voted against Fenty.  I haven't read any such thing but if you have a link, I would oblige.

        it is neither the sole nor should it be the primary purpose.

        TK - sorry - this is a decidedly upper middle-class perspective.  It is and has been a primary purpose for education.  Do you think the Freedman started their own schools for anything other than economic advancement?  Do you think slaves were kept illiterate to deny them the musings of "education?"  No, education in the context of this nation for the masses has always been an investment in economic attainment.  Do you think people borrow money for education or pay for it without the anticipation that there will be an economic pay-off?

        Were we meaningfully preparing the students to be real economic contributors, we would not be so narrowing the education being received to test preparation.

        Recent research disputes this.  I wanted to diary about an article in the Times that states, early and often recall of information leads to better retention.  I will find the article and post.

        •  oh, now you are an expert on the attitudes (6+ / 0-)

          of parents who are not middle class?

          For what it is worth, I teach students who are homeless, or where an extended family is in one house because of economic reasons.

          I teach students with parents in the criminal justice system.

          I teach students who themselves are in the criminal justice system.

          I have tutored students in DC who are in dire situations.

          I talk with my parents.

          Yes, they want a better economic future for their kids.

          They also want opportunity that goes beyond merely a secure job in a large corporation, in fact, a job that might not be all that secure.  As parents have themselves lost jobs in the economic downturn and seen what happens to friends and family as well,they are also looking for greater control over their own futures and those of their children.

          I assure you, my concern that education should not be primarily about economics is far more widely shared than you seem to realize.

          One more thing -  education should be about empowering our students.  That empowerment should include enabling them to learn how to continue learning on their own.  The approach we have been taking towards education of those with lower test scores has been exactly the opposite - one reason why our obsession with test scores has been so damaging.

          As to why so many drop out?  They can look at the future and see few realistic opportunities.  They question why committing to education makes any sense given what seems to abandonment of their communities by the larger society.  

          And even were the economics the sole thing parents were concerned about, might it not be making sense to include their voices, to allow them to be heard, even on that topic.

          I regret that I am not going to be able to respond to all of your comments.  I have a commitment to my students, and for the most part you are repeating points you have repeatedly made before.  I know your positions.  You know mine.

          I think you are wrong in your criticisms about both teachers and unions.  

          I think your perspective about how to move forward ignores much of what research and experience show, and is too deferential to the ideas of "reformers" as they describe themselves.

          Just as I think the organization of the list of speakers is, and the justification for the effort.

          I applaud NBC for being willing to try to have a national conversation.

          I think the way they are shaping things means that it is not truly a national conversation, because too many voices that disagree with the "reform" consensus are not included.  That includes those like Carl Cohn who had a real record of success in running an urban school district, not one with the ongoing failures -  and that is the correct description - of the systems run by Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein.  And yet they are supposed to be the model of how we should reshape education?

          Both - and Duncan - are from settings with mayoral control.  The body of evidence is overwhelming that systems under mayoral control do not improve as much as systems not, even using the 'reformers' preferred measure of test scores.

          Just like the body of evidence is overwhelming that merely turning to charters does not lead to improvement, that far more charters perform worse than the public schools from which they draw than there are charters that perform better.

          I have made these - and similar points - before.

          Feel free to continue to disagree.  I expect that there will be divergence of opinion.  

          But then please address the following -  why is the structure of what NBC is doing excluding most of the opinions that diverge from the likes of the groups and people to whom they have chosen to give a megaphone?

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:13:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you teach... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BoxNDox

            I live among the people you are referring to, am related to them and yes am one of them...so if you are questioning my bonefides or my expertise...then you need to look in the mirror...

            Off-topic - you have shown time and time again a certain arrogance towards those who do not support your thinking lock-step in your diaries.  It really is unbecoming and I'm not the first to mention it to you.  Questioning my expertise about my people and the people I live amongst - is one again an attack on my character that is typical of our exchanges.  Nonetheless, I will persist because it is too damn important not to as I have a school-aged child and care about children in my city.

            Back on topic - I know plenty of people who live in DC.  We talk about the school system a lot.  We are parents!  You made an assertion with nothing to back up that assertion - and I'm quite interested.  If Fenty lost due to Rhee - that is information I want to hear.  But your supposition isn't enough to prove this.  I live in a city with dozens of charters, more coming AND vouchers on the way.  So voting out a Democratic mayor - my mayor is on the panel - is of interest of me.  My mayor is also not well liked but it has NOTHING to do with school reform.  He is out of touch with many AAs in our city and the same accusations made about Fenty are routinely made about my mayor but he isn't being attacked because of school reform and if he isn't re-elected it won't be because of it.

            Just like the body of evidence is overwhelming that merely turning to charters does not lead to improvement, that far more charters perform worse than the public schools from which they draw than there are charters that perform better.

            I was reading the Credo study yesterday.  The body of evidence tells me that it depends on the organization that assumes control of the school. Well, duh!  That's a no-brainer.  I would guarantee schools given charters because of political connections aren't going to do as well as other schools.  I haven't finished reading the study but may diary about it at some point.  Interesting findings.

            But then please address the following -  why is the structure of what NBC is doing excluding most of the opinions that diverge from the likes of the groups and people to whom they have chosen to give a megaphone?

            Because NBC is a private company...they choose what they want.  I would rather wait to see what people actually say before forming a judgement.

            •  you say it's a no-brainer (5+ / 0-)

              yet that brain is missing from the requirement for qualification for RttT funds that states expand their chartering of schools -  there is no connection in that requirement to what has been demonstrated to be effective in those charters that work.

              meanwhile we have increasing examples of charters that rip off public funds, that do not serve the families or communities that get involved with them.

              It should be a no-brainer not to subject kids to that kind of uncontrolled setting.

              Yet the voices that raise these concerns are excluded.

              Parents and communities are presented an incorrect tale that charters are the solution to everything.  That is also how "Waiting for Superman" is being rolled out, even though the director is now saying that was not his intent.

              The issue here, on this thread, is relevant to this subthread -   why we still exclude voices that can point out that this new educational emperor is naked?

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:03:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Honestly... (0+ / 0-)

                in my city, I don't think you want to hear from the parents, TK. Seriously, they are not going to support your beliefs about school reform or improving schools.  They just aren't because they have tangible experiences with charters and are dying to get in.  Now other parents may feel differently.  As I said before, not a kid on my block is in the neighborhood school.  They are all either in a private, parochial or charter school.  I'm one of those voices...and well the reception around here, leaves much to be desired but shouting us down is not going to change the fact that we are checking out of public schools.  

                •  from some of your other comments (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandblaster

                  you seem to be in SF.  If so, I actually know a number of very active parents in your city, and from what I know of them and the organizations in which they participate, it is in fact your attitude that is a distinct minority.  That is, what you are willing to support and the clear evidence you choose to ignore.

                  If you are not in SF, which I presume because of your reference to Ackerman, then you probably should identify your city so least we have something of a context to understand what for many of us here is a very distorted understanding and portrayal of education.

                  Note -  in saying "distorted" I do not imply that you deliberately distort, although in more than a few comments on this and other threads you have made assertions that anyone truly following educational policy would recognize are far from universal.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:59:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nope... (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm in Philly.  

                    But what is the average length of waitlist of charters in SF?  In philly, most have waitlists years long.  

                    As a matter of fact, one of the heads of a education advocacy group sends their kid to a charter school.  There was an uncomfortable silence when she admitted this, lol.

                    I really can't dispute your comment about my lack of knowledge about education policy without you pointing to the comments in question.  Pretty sly way to attack my credibility though ;)

            •  Private versus public (0+ / 0-)

              NBC may be privately owned but the airwaves are public property.  They belong to all of us.  That is why TV media is licensed and regulated.  They are also an important influence on whether we remain a democracy or not. One sided coverage of any issue does not contribute to the function of a democracy.

              As for your assumption that everyone has a choice about their schooling, you either do not care about the rest of the world, just "me and mine' and can't see your connection to them;  How your welfare is connected to theirs and therefore to the education of all our children or you are (willfully?) ignorant of how about 50 million now of the country lives.

              As for charters look at the website "Charter School Scandals" to see the problems with charters that seem to be spreading faster than fleas on a hound down here in Florida. In far too many cases they are a real estate scam that leaves school districts and parents stuck with the bill as wall street and real estate developers game the system to make big bucks on public school dollars. Parents and children are often the victims in these cases as the lack of oversight in Charter management and finances affect them as well.  When 40% of your operating funds are going to pay for buildings and interest on buildings there is not much left to buy supplies, attract high quality staff and make sure the curriculum and safety issues have all been addressed.  In my own district I met a young teacher last year who teaches science in one of our charter schools for less pay, poorer insurance and no text books and supplies or lab equipment.  The managers of this school are very focused on making a buck and cutting everything else to the bone.  Notice that charters rarely have music or vocational programs (did you ever think that the emphasis on "direct instruction" might have something to do with how cheap it is?) because that would require a big outlay of profit, I mean educational funds.  With all the charter schools in New Orleans replacing public high schools , there is not a single high school band left in a city famous for its music. How sad for All Our Kids!

              •  My 2000 tax bill (0+ / 0-)

                has a "District Fund" millage more than three times the "Capital Improvement" millage.

                Of course some schools were old enough to had their bonds paid off.

                When 40% of your operating funds are going to pay for buildings and interest on buildings there is not much left to buy supplies, attract high quality staff and make sure the curriculum and safety issues have all been addressed.

                I think it was around 22% for buildings and interest in 2000 in my Florida county.

                •  private versus public (0+ / 0-)

                  I was referring to charters not public schools.  The average in public schools is 18% cost for buildings.  In some charters it is 40%. Privately managed charters - not public schools.  Also in Florida in the Tampa Bay area there one charter that is closing and leaving a 2 million dollar debt for their district to pay off.  That money will probably go into the pockets of a bunch of real estate developers  and hedge fund managers who jacked up the rent on the buildings of the charter whose  foundation and management they controlled.  There are big tax loopholes for developing real estate to be used by charter schools.  This angle is being used across the nation to make big bucks at the expense of public education.
                  Here is an article from the Dallas News that gives an example and explains the bamboozling in more detail.

                  http://www.dallasnews.com/...

                  I always say "follow the money" and you will begin to understand the huge interest of large corporations and wall street in Charters.

    •  Newsweek and WaPo Pin Fenty's Loss on Rhee (0+ / 0-)

      "A recent Washington Post poll indicated that 54 percent of black voters said they would not vote for Fenty because of Rhee, while 68 percent of whites said Rhee’s reforms were the reason they were voting for Fenty. Both Fenty and Gray are African-Americans."  

      http://www.newsweek.com/...

      That looks pretty convincing to me, and I was among those who were hoping that Rhee would succeed.

  •  The people on the NBC list (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, JuliaAnn, sandblaster, JanL

    probably wouldn't last a week in a classroom-even in the highest achieving of districts.

    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

    by lilypew on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:43:53 AM PDT

    •  some might - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL

      provided they had lessons prepared for them to present.

      But then, many would argue that should not matter, that they are looking at the bigger picture.

      Does the big picture matter?  Yep.

      Should it be solely or primarily economic?  I would argue it should not.  On that I am backed by the likes of Sandra Day O'Connor, with her attempts to revitalize civic education.

      I would argue much of what is being argued is not even going to be all that effective for the economic future of the students about whom they claim to be concerned.  Not their individual economic futures, which they cannot control if they are given narrow educations, and their voices and those of their communities are ignored when political decisions are being made.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:48:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for your thoughtful diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, slatsg, JanL

    I am a second grade teacher in Michigan. I have seen over and over again how teachers and parents are excluded from educational policy, program, and curriculum decisions. It's all too easy for the media and sponsers to host a public discussion discussing how "awful" the public school system has become instead of working to solve problems. Real solutions allow teachers and support staff to use their expertise to improve education today by participating, even leading, these kinds of forums. Real solutions provide funding to struggling schools, not giving money to schools which are already successful. Real solutions need a team approach, not a top-down, legislative driven edict on how to reform the schools. Until parents and teachers are allowed into the process, solutions will be short-term at best.

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:54:40 AM PDT

  •  There is a "contact Us" link (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandblaster, JanL, MJ via Chicago

    on the Education Forum page.  I emailed them this message:

    Your confirmed speakers to date for your Education Nation Forum do not include any teachers.  35+ speakers, many pundits, CEOs and politicians.... and not a single teacher?  Who are you kidding?

    explain how letting gays marry will directly affect your own heterosexual relationship?

    by bluestatesam on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 06:58:00 AM PDT

    •  they have been told this many times (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, JanL, MJ via Chicago

      and the organization responsible for outreach has also been told.  To their credit, there has been SOME dialog with some of the names suggested to them, although I was not contacted despite mine being one of the names given them -  at least one of the people has the stature of being a former State Teacher of the Year in a fairly large state.

      Some of the names, besides the national teachers of the year about which I have written here, that were suggested is another former state teacher of the year who works in a very poor part of a relatively poor state, who has a voice that is nationally given respect, who has served on national governing board of several organizations important in education.  

      None of those whose names were suggested would argue that our schools do not need change.  That includes me.  I am on record as being in favor of change far more radical than what the "reform" movement proposes.  

      It might be nice were the voices included more diverse on their views about education, and better able to inform people of the reality of the classroom, which is about far more than the scores on test on which too many obsess far too much.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:18:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The anti-democratic forces have many faces. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, Azazello

    And they are pushing on many fronts.  That plutocracy report identified the only roadblock to utter corporate hegemony--one person, one vote.

    Don't believe everything you think.

    by geomoo on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:03:41 AM PDT

  •  Cory Booker is a good choice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, princss6

    John Legend is interesting. He probably doesn't have a corporate agenda and is genuinely interested in helping kids.

    •  Lot of people are genuinely interested (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, JanL, CParis

      in helping kids.  Does that mean they bring to the table sufficient knowledge and understanding that they should be present and other voices, such as those of classroom teachers, are not present?

      Mayors of large cities are rightly concerned about the issue schools.   Do we need four of them, and no classroom teachers, not even either of the two most recent National Teachers of the Year, who are supposed to function as the voice of America's teachers?

      See the problem?

      There are some on that list to whom one might object in principal -  as I do to the president of the University of Phoenix.

      There are some whose positions in no way demonstrate an expertise on education.

      For the others, why four mayors and no teachers?  Why three governors and no teachers?

      To remind people about what candidate Obama said about medical reform, the corporations were entitled to seats on the table, just not all the seats.

      Where are the seats for teachers?  Where are the seats for parents?   30+ people, two of whom are from parent organizations and one of whom is from a union, but has not herself taught for many years and then briefly.

      It cannot be a true national conversation when important voices and points of view are systematically excluded.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:23:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A quick note about Weingarten (0+ / 0-)

        The irony in (possibly) setting her up to be representative of teachers'-union obstructionism is that of the two major teachers' unions, the AFT under her leadership has actually been more amenable to the kinds of changes that people like Rhee and Klein want.  This has gotten her in hot water with some of her membership.

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:22:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This thing is just a set-up (6+ / 0-)

    to soften the masses for the total takeover of education by corporate interests. The more they tell us it's an inevitable "good thing" that will lead to "more jobs," the less blowback there will be.

    So, the plan is ...

    1. Have a bunch of "forums" to plant the meme
    1. Allow more and more charter (for-profit GOP) schools
    1. Kill the teacher unions
    1. Allow corporate educator businesses to start tacking on fees and charges so they can p-r-o-f-i-t mightily (the death knell to free, universal education ... and you know that's coming)
    1. Let Marvin Bush and his ilk sell more insipid "educational materials" to the business-owned schools ... hey, more corporate donations to the GOP!

    teacherken, you are right about the set-up for this thing. But the writing is already on the wall. And because of who stands to gain, there will be plenty of misspellings in the writing.

  •  Elites love to have conversations with themselves (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, esquimaux, CParis, OregonOak, BoxNDox

    Ken. they wouldn't want those unwashed masses to interrupt their party and crash in on their preconceived notions and ideas about what is needed to make the country better. America is ridiculous anymore, these staged events are nothing more than conversations of our plutocracy masquerading as "we feel your pain" events- f*** them. T&R.

    •  Yes, someone might say something (0+ / 0-)

      they would have to think about on the spot, and they would have to reveal their thought process... LIVE!!! EGADS!!!!! In direct juxtaposition to people who do that ALL DAY LONG!!! omg. The horror.

      Heh. I would LOVE to see my teacher mentor from North High School in Salem up against Any One of Them.He would need a toothpick after the credits to clean his incisors. It would be wonderful, a game changer for America, and that is what they cannot risk.  

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:42:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry for the language, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, esquimaux, CParis, m00finsan, Azazello

    this is a giant corporate circle jerk, with all the usual names hawking all the usual things, everyone there with an agenda that's a million layers removed from a teacher helping a student to think and to learn. But I would expect nothing else, nothing of substance, from NBC.

    This is "Reform" in caps and quotes, the faux version, in which billions of dollars are spent on untested ideas, students' and teachers' lives are used in national experiments, and the point is to cash in, or to look good long enough to be re-elected, or to keep the product going as long as possible, and don't think there won't be a little or a lot fudging of results along the way.

    Americans don't want to hear that learning and education are hard work that goes on one day at a time, and that we all need to do our part in providing the support, and the cultural atmosphere to support those efforts. Instead we're willing to pay big money to hucksters that are only too happy to tell us otherwise, to tell us that scores can go up 20% in one year, that all students will be proficient in 10 years, that all we need to do is kick the teachers and the teachers unions in their lazy behinds, that any smart graduate can step into a class and do a better job than those education school grads.  But no - there is no replacement for professional teachers dedicated to doing their job one day at a time, one student at a time. No one wants to hear that, though.

    Faith in America was bred into my bones somehow. Growing up, I always knew that smart people would somehow get together and do what's best, at least in the end. But not now, all I can see are hucksters who have taken over from one end to the other. But that's another story.

    Thanks for your continuing education diaries.

  •  Reed hastings (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, blueoregon

    is on the CA state board of Ed and has made millions in educational software - I believe that was prior to Netflix. That's probably why he's on the list.

    I agree with you, there are some enormous missing pieces here. Good diary.

    •  by the standard of the Netflix guy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster

      why isn't Pearson Education also represented, since they have made millions from their tests (many of which have been so flawed as to require them to pay penalties and reimbursements to state departments of education but somehow they avoid having to pay damages to students unnecessarily forced to attend summer school or denied promotion/graduation/scholarship) and curricular materials . . . which are somehow related to the tests they provide so therefore school districts should by  . . .

      Oh, there is so much I could add here.  I will stifle myself.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:03:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What we are witnessing in America is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob B, JanL, m00finsan, Azazello

    a contest between the public corporations (usually referred to as states and nation), in which membership and decision-making authority depends on citizenship and residence, and private corporations in which membership and decision-making authority (nominally) is by purchase.
    Now, although these private corporations are actually the spawn of public corporations, they are competing for control of the nation.  Many have discovered that "government by the people" is not their cup of tea.  
    (Which makes the Tea Party movement somewhat ironic, if not outright dangerous).

    The mistake we've made, I think, and which contributes to the aggressive attitude of private corporations which want to rule, is that we have no effective controls over these off-spring in place.  States charter corporations without regard to where their enterprise is slated to take place and without regard, apparently, to the fact that one state has no jurisdiction over the behavior of the artificial persons it has created when they operate in another state, never mind another nation.

    So, private corporations are virtually autonomous.  Any regulation that's attempted serves merely as a bribe to get them to comply with a minimal standard of social obligation.  You'd think they'd be content.  But that's not how it works.  Corporations are, after all, made up of people and people, when they enjoy a privilege, often come to see privilege as an entitlement and the next step is that any challenge to that privilege is interpreted as a threat and resented.

    Deregulation, I now realize, was an effort to remove some of that privilege corporations had come to expect (monopoly service areas, free natural resources, free money, free labor from state employees).  It was thought that if they were subject to competitors coming into their territory, they'd improve their operations.  That has been proven to be a mistaken expectation.  What our artificial persons did instead was turn into predators whose definition of success is to wipe the competition out.  So, we've had thirty years of cut-throat competition and acquisition which has resulted in ruined industry and commerce and now the corporate titans are looking for new arenas in which to wreck havoc.  Rearing up the next generation of humans seems a fertile field.  If parents were really concerned, they'd do it themselves.  So, since they're willing to farm the children out, they're available to be exploited like any other natural resource.

    Beware of people who speak of children as our greatest resource.  Humans are fungible resource, because we can always make more.

    Is letting corporations make their intentions to exploit the rearing of children a strategy to make it obvious that they shouldn't be allowed near them with a ten foot pole?  I hope so.

    When it comes to corporations we probably have more than a half century of damage to undo.

    The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

    by hannah on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 07:53:20 AM PDT

  •  A lot of people on that list (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, esquimaux, blueoregon, m00finsan

    have probably never set foot in a public school. They went to private school and so did their kids.

  •  Public universities should also (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, esquimaux, blueoregon

    be represented, since they see a lot of incoming graduates.

  •  First off, I don't have kids. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL

    My only nephew is an adult. But, my first reaction to the list of speakers was, how many of these people send their kids to public schools? Second reaction was, WTH is Netflix doing there? It looks kind of like the recent fundraiser they did on Cancer research, "Stand Up To Cancer". They never once addressed the issue of Insurance companies and HCR. It seems corporations are determined to turn our public schools into, what someone upthread said, sausage factories. No wonder so many parents are homeschooling their kids. The country is being corpratized bit by bit.

    "It is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize" - Henry David Thoreau

    by blueoregon on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:23:50 AM PDT

  •  Teacher Town Hall (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, princss6

    MSNBC will be airing a teacher town hall on September 26. Might that be a good event? I'm not saying that it justifies leaving teachers out of the summit, but sounds like something worth participating in or watching.

    •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

      just as TK has reservations about the Corporate event, I have reservations although I'll keep an open-mind.

    •   real concerns about what will be discussed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster

      when registering one can pose a question to be addressed during the town hall.  But there is no transparency about how those will be screened.  There is real concern among some I know who have registered and have submitted questions that those they feel should be being addressed will not be.

      In some cases, these are people will experience of two different conference calls with Arne Duncan where what they offered was largely dismissed with talking points about what the Department of Education was already doing.

      I am withholding judgment on the Town Hall.  I am unwilling to register as a participant and thereby grant credibility unless the process, including who will be responding to the questions as well as how the questions will be screened is addressed.  It is my sense that those responding will look as a whole very much like the list of speakers I listed.  If so, that very much concerns me.  It is quite unrepresentative about ideas on education and reform.

      Why is Linda Darling-Hammond not on the list?

      Why are none of the scholars/researchers, including Linda, who put their names on the EPI policy brief about the problems of using students test scores to evaluate teacher, even using a value-added methodology, part of the conversation?

      Richard Rothstein, one of those scholars referred to in the last paragraph, was considered credible enough to have served as the columnist on education for the New York Times.  Unless one is going to ignore the interaction between poverty and learning, how is perhaps the most prominent researcher on the subject excluded?   Even if they don't think us ordinary classroom teachers are worthy (even though the names they were offered were far from ordinary -  I might be the least distinguished, and all are quite articulate both online and in person) surely one of the most important scholars has at least as much to offer as does the head of a for-profit university or a company that makes money delivering movies for people to watch at home.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:12:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As the. US does poorly compared (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, Azazello

    to other industrialized nations, it would be good to see what the top countries do.  Showing what Finland, England & Germany.

    Just as in healthcare the US spends more as a share of GDP and get inferior results.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:33:56 AM PDT

    •  You can thank the private sector (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, esquimaux, blueoregon, OregonOak

      for the fact that we spend more, as percent GDP and per capita, on health care and get less for it. It's private sector inefficiency, i.e. profiteering. They're seeking the same arrangements for education, public dollars into private pockets.

    •  let's consider Finland (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster

      teachers are heavily screened

      their education is, once they are accepted for training, subsidized and they are provided a livable wage while they are still learning to be teachers.

      They go through several years of induction, not just turned loose on their own  after minimal training (5 weeks in the case of TFA, although they provide some minimal ongoing support, but note -  the 2 year requirement to teach for those accepted into TFA is the same length as the induction period with gradual increase in responsibility for new teachers in Finland). Administrators have a primary role of supporting teachers.  Oh, and this will frost the cookies of many of the so-called 'reformers" here -  the teaching force of Finland is 100% unionized.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:15:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we should convince Michael Moore (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lilypew, MJ via Chicago

    to do one more documentary. this one on public education.

    "It is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize" - Henry David Thoreau

    by blueoregon on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:07:38 AM PDT

  •  Maria Bartiromo is a right-wing hack (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure everything she has to say will lead to more privatization of the schools.  More charters, less public school funding...  Hasn't Bartiromo been completely discredited already?  None of those CNBC goons should ever appear on TV again, unless it's to apologize.  That goes for Jim Cramer and the idiot screaming from Wall Street whose name I can't remember, and the rest of them.

    We must use this (HIR) bill as an opening toward a renewed effort for a more comprehensive approach to health care reform. - Dennis Kucinich

    by MJ via Chicago on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 10:51:49 AM PDT

  •  NBC actively engages in censorship.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJ via Chicago

    I have been kicked off NBC's Education Nation Facebook page THREE TIMES within the past 48 hours, for asking questions and posting research, statistics, links, film reviews, for pointing out the affiliations of those on its 'panel', for asking how it chose the few parents now supposedly participating... none of my comments were rude, crude or vulgar... they were direct  - one journalist speaking to another 'news' organisation and asking it to explain how come this event was so one-sided...

    NBC - fake "Education Nation SUMMIT" that pushes education reform (aka privatising public education) and leaves out parents & teachers

    •  let's see what happens to me (0+ / 0-)

      their @educationnation twitter feed decided to follow me, so I am going to post link to this diary in return.  Wish me luck!

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 01:01:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kicked off Education Nation's facebook 5 times! (0+ / 0-)

        NBC's Education Nation facebook administrators have thrown me off their page FOUR TIMES NOW since Thursday....

        They remove me and all the critical commentary, the references, the statistics, the research, the (critical) film reviews for the pro corporate takeover of public education movie Waiting for Superman they're pushing, the links, the videos from experts on what actually does work in eduction, the diagrams of who's funding/pulling the strings in this push, the correction of inaccuracies they post, the challenges relating to who they've invited to their "SUMMIT"... all gone....

        Censorship, by a bought and paid for news organisation, whose ethical duty once was to present all the sides of an issue.... If you dont like this, spread the word..... facebook, twitter, blogs, talkback radio....

        7am (pacific time) Sunday morning - Make that BLOCKED OFF THEIR PAGE FIVE TIMES - only took them half an hour this time, in response to a post repeating that Diane Ravitch - the country's most informed and well known anti-education reform expert - offered to provide a taped segment cos she couldnt be there in person, but was turned down, and to a question asking where all the dissenting posts had gone....

        Have run out of energy, nom de plumes and alternate email addresses...

        Just the fact that this is being controlled to such an extent makes me physically sick...

        Names I've used: Sahila ChangeBringer, GertieDutchgirl, Phoenix Rising, Crystal Gem and Marianne Meijerink...

        Am thinking of trying one more time using the name Mother Jones... but not sure I can be bothered creating another email account!

  •  Someone likes Richmond, VA schools (0+ / 0-)

    According to 2007 SOL results from the Virginia DOE, the most recent available, Richmond, with 74% of its students in federal free-lunch programs, outperformed Fairfax, with 25% of its students in free-lunch programs, on all SOL test comparisons. In 3rd grade reading, math, science and social studies tests, Richmond's white students outperformed Fairfax' white students, and Richmond's Black students outperformed Fairfax' black students by an even greater margin. In fact, in 5th grade reading, math and science, and 3rd grade Social studies, Richmond’s black students' pass rates (all above 85%) were within 10 percentage points of the pass rates for white Fairfax students.

    How is this possible? The area most ignored by phony school reformers, like Rhee and TFA: Curriculum. In 2001, Richmond adopted the NIH recommendations for reading and math curriculum reform. Although Richmond is 90% high-poverty and 90% African-American, their pass rate on the 3rd grade SOL was 76%, compared to wealthy Fairfax, which managed a pass rate of 79%.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

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