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Like so many school districts across the nation which are scrambling to figure out how to divide a pie that isn't growing nearly fast enough to meet everyone's needs, the Philadelphia School District is in the middle of a protracted and often acrimonious contract dispute.

What distinguishes this situation in a novel, to say nothing of perilous, way is how the district's superintendent may choose to handle the crisis ... and why he might take that action:

Budget season is closing in, the struggling Philadelphia School District has a $14 million hole to fill this school year, and it needs $440 million in new funds for next year.

But most significantly, the district has signaled it is willing to use its "nuclear option" - invoking special powers bestowed by the state law that created the School Reform Commission - to get what it wants from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has publicly said he must have work-rule changes in order to compete with charter schools. [Emphasis added]

On one level, you want to slap your forehead when you read that last sentence. But on another level, you just knew it was heading this way, didn't you?

So, what the heck does that sentence really mean? Follow me beyond the fold for the explanation.

First, let's look at the nitty gritty of what "work-rule" changes Hite was referencing. They are, to say the least, predictable:

The sources said the PFT [Philadelphia Federation of Teachers] had offered some work-rule changes at the bargaining table, but nothing near what the district says it must have: giving principals absolute authority over hiring and firing staff; weakening seniority; and halting the practice of higher pay for advanced education, among other shifts.
The common thread in all of those things, of course, is money. At a time of dwindling resources, cheaper is better, and not rewarding teachers for pursuing additional education (the Philly School District honors a master's degree with a pay bump that ranges from $1,300 to $8,700, depending on years of service) will save a few dimes here and there, though someone will have to probably explain the "think about the kids" rationale in trying to have less educated faculty members.

Enhanced hiring and firing? Weakening seniority?

That is (a) entirely about money and (b) straight out of the charter schools movement. It has long been part of the charter schools movement ethos that experience in education is not only irrelevant, it can be damaging.

For a superintendent, though, what would be awfully tempting is having the free rein to replace an experienced teacher with a rookie. In Philadelphia, at the master's degree column in their salary schedule, replacing an experienced teacher with a newbie would net a savings of just under $30,000 per teacher.

And, if you can sell the public that creating a revolving door of young teachers actually will improve the quality of instruction (despite the existence of considerable evidence to the contrary), all the better!

The architect of this newer, far more aggressive stance by management of the Philadelphia School District is one Bill Green, a veteran city councilman and the new chairman of the state-authored School Reform Commission. Green is the third generation of a dynastic Democratic political power family in the city, and was appointed to this current role by the state's Republican Governor, Tom Corbett. It was not a bipartisan gesture, however: Green's appointment was met with a decidedly tepid response from Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter:

“I find his nomination quite frankly perplexing,” Nutter said.

Nutter said Green’s track record of voting against some education funding measures, coupled with his views on public education, raises some concerns in the mayor’s office.

Particularly, Nutter wants Green to roll with some of his plans, such as: a new state formula for education funding; the cigarette tax; split the sales extension tax to pay for schools and pensions; plans to turn around the worst performing schools.

“It is my hope that he will come to better understand the importance of District-managed schools and that he will stand up and truly support our school children and teachers,” Nutter said.

Nutter's hope for cooperation from Green, it would seem, is a bit of a pipe dream.

Before leaping into the "family business" in 2007, Green made a fairly handsome living as a corporate lawyer. And like most of the well-heeled folks in corporate land, his stance on public school teachers is so retrograde and dismissive, it is almost painful.

Last month, he got the district's principals to capitulate on a contract that included a double-digit pay cut. He did so by strong-arming the principals, threatening an imposition of a more draconian contract if they didn't play ball:

Bill Green's joining the SRC was a pivot point, [administrator's union head Robert] McGrogan said: Green has publicly suggested the commission has not been aggressive enough in using its special powers, but the winds have now shifted.

If Green is going to take drastic action, McGrogan said, "he's not going to wait to do it."

Green, McGrogan said, "is coming with a gun out."

Green, for his part, did not deny the aggressiveness, and in praising the principals' union for playing ball, he issued what might be the most insulting statement about public school teachers possible:
"As leaders, they recognize they need the flexibility with teachers they provided to Dr. Hite and his team," Green said of the principals. "They led by example, and we look forward to working with them to change outcomes for the 118,000 children in non-performing schools. When the PFT makes that their goal rather than excessive benefits and salary and impossible work rules, those children will have a chance at success."
Read the whole thing again. Then, if necessary, scream into a pillow.

By the way, just to remind you, a fifth-year teacher with a master's degree in Philadelphia schools makes $59,000.

Green, for what it is worth, made more than triple that amount moonlighting in his former gig as a corporate lawyer in 2010, while still pulling down six figures in salary as a city councilman.

As I wrote last year, the corporate crowd loves the charter schools movement because it takes some of the worst labor habits of corporate America and superimposes them into the realm of "public education." It basically takes what was, for generations, a noble lifelong calling to service, and transforms it into just another temp job, filled with inexperienced souls who are willing to endure absurdly austere working conditions, safe in their belief that they won't be there that long, anyway.

Now, with the help of this state-sanctioned commission, we could easily see the public school district in one of the largest cities in America following this race to the bottom already started by too many "education" corporations.

That should be terribly frightening to anyone who cares about education, even those that haven't already been aware of the prevailing zeitgeist in far too many public conversations that charter schools are the only form of education worth saving at this point (hard to believe, but it has been over three years since Diane Ravitch wrote this excellent piece on the subject). The "charter schools as a panacea" myth has already taken a beating (this study, which shows the comical ease with which charters deal with problem students, is but the most recent example). Yet still, it's the only sacred cow left in education in the eyes of far too many politicos (including those who like to call themselves Democrats).

And, somehow, now public school districts feel that, rather than advocate for their teachers and students, their time would be better spent "competing" with charters? Compete with them how? Forcing their employees to work an additional 20-30 hours a week for free, while cutting their pay on top of that? Ripping health care benefits from staff? Income security? Job security?

If this becomes the norm, one must ask: who in the world will make this their life's calling? The short answer to that question is: few, if any will. Teaching will become something someone does for a year or two or three, before they either (a) go into the rapidly expanding and lucrative peripheries of education consulting or charter school management, or (b) bide their time and network, until they go get their MBA or go off to some other field.

Teaching will no longer be a career, it will be a snazzy line on people's resumes. That's not good for the profession, and it sure as all hell isn't good for kids.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the educational kleptocracy continues to win.... (25+ / 0-)
    Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has publicly said he must have work-rule changes in order to compete with charter schools

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:23:04 AM PDT

    •  That's what it is... (20+ / 0-)

      There are entire right-wing cottage industries that make their money off of siphoning away tax dollars while giving only outrageously overpriced goods and services in return.

      Just wait until some right-wing hellhole like Kansas or Mississippi decides to outsource public schools altogether and put them in the hands of some conservative con men who enrich themselves while paying teachers Walmart wages and giving kids nothing more than a sham education.

      Please help to fight hunger in the U.S. by making a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:59:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the Bush family is involved (8+ / 0-)

        they also sell educational packages, at a great profit. It's the corporate take over, and the sad alliance between poor parents and rich CEO's.  the parents think they can get something better for their own kids, and if it hurst the public school kids in the process, they could have tried harder too.  Very sad news.

        Of course the charter schools are no better than the public schools, both have ranges, from awful to outstanding. One costs more and take resources from the other.

      •  MJB & anna shane (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JJ In Illinois

        This Philly, not Mississippi. A Dem mayor for as long as I can remember, and Dem Gov. before Corbett. How is this a partisan issue in Philly and NYC?

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:27:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's kind of the point (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40, Mostel26, JanL, hawkseye

          If it's this bad in Philly, how much worse will it be in Mississippi?

          Please help to fight hunger in the U.S. by making a donation to Feeding America.

          by MJB on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:29:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  MJB, for an activist community, sometimes I (0+ / 0-)

            feel we let Dems off the hook because they are with us on the hot button social issues. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:24:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It started in Republican Districts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JanL, Mostel26

          This all started in Texas and Florida. The right wing deciders test EVERYTHING in Florida and Texas.

          Look at what happened: They learned how to "win" and election in Texas, against all odd, and against exit polls, and against common sense, but yeah, we'll call it a "win".

          and they moved that into Florida, relocating Jeb Bush and Karl Rove, and "winning" Florida, just in time for George Bush Junior to "win" the White House.

          Then they revamped the nation's school books in Texas, so those kids can learn the right wing propaganda.   Then they had Charter hospitals, charter prisons, and charter schools.

          Move all that to Florida, test it again, and it's a go for the nationwide push.

          Next came Stand Your Ground, bringing a whole new meaning to self defense and a great boom to gun sales throughout America.

          •  If the GOP ideas are so destructive, why would a (0+ / 0-)

            Dem dominated city such as Philly even stick a toe in the water? Why not just raise property taxes and triple the school budget?

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:36:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cuz it's not GOP ideas. It's capitalist and hedge (4+ / 0-)

              Fund ideas.  Those are bipartisan.

              ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

              by Rikon Snow on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:10:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  we have a winner!!! (6+ / 0-)

                See Emmanule, Rahm, or Cuomo, Andrew....only Di Blasio stood up and guess what? the charter movement mounted 3.6 million in ads at the drop of a hat when hemerely asked that PRIVATE charters using PUBLIC space pay some fucking rent.

                •  Throw in Arne Duncan and the President, and you (4+ / 0-)

                  have the Third Way's solution to the expense of education which is approximately 90% of budget for teachers' salaries.
                  It's only a short leap to wanting teacher "excellence" in exchange, and an easy way to can instructors who aren't sufficiently "passionate" or to eliminate schools with low test scores.
                  Obama and Duncan have been quietly attacked by teacher unions, so they have toned down their views, but the rest are still into the ridiculous ideas of Michele Rhee.
                  Of course we want teacher excellence, but we also need sufficient teachers who are well paid so that we can keep enough of them to help the students who need to be in small groups or even to be tutored.  We also need to accept that all students aren't able to go to University and that many need vocational training in order to succeed.  Vocational education is very expensive, so the Rhees of the world don't talk about it.

                  Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

                  by hawkseye on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 05:08:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Didn't (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    hawkseye, allison88

                    you KNOW? Students are best taught in massive groups, at least fifty to sixty at a time.  That way the teacher gets to present the lesson and HOPE one or two got it.  No time for personalized instruction, that is the parents' job, IF they are capable. If not, oh, well.  Little Johnny and Suzy can always grind meat for the burger flippers to flip.

                  •  Get small classes (sort of) and tutoring by some (0+ / 0-)

                    how convincing middle class parents of bright students that for their child to be recruited as either a junior teacher's aide or a peer tutor is both an honor (that will look good on a resume) and really good educationally for their child (their child will really consolidate his/her own mastery of the subject and also practice some leadership skills).

              •  For sure! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rikon Snow, allison88

                Saw an African American guy from LA on Melissa Harris-Perry's show defending charter schools. It's all about the money now not about ideology!

            •  because raising property taxes (0+ / 0-)

              costs elections.

      •  I found the annual Iowa basic skills test the most (0+ / 0-)

        educational part of my public school education 2nd grade through 6th grade.  But that is probably because I have Asperger's with 140 IQ.  My teachers 2nd grade through 6th grade followed a policy of benign neglect and let me get away with reading silently at my desk most of the day as long as it was a hardcover library book I was reading and not a comic book.

    •  Ugh! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Kleptocracy begets idiocracy.

      An uninformed public will reliably vote rethuglican.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:45:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hite's a Broadie... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FeldMP, allison88

      from the infamous Broad Superintendent's Academy, a hotbed of "reformy" ideas and corporatist management practice. This is just another form of their "creative destruction" ideology.

      As a PFT member and Philly teacher, I can assure you it's even worse that Steve makes it look in the diary. There are a host of other work rule changes they want to make as well, they just don't talk about them as loudly: cutting counselors and nurses at many schools, eliminating caps on class size, increasing the number of different classes one teacher must prep while cutting the requirement that they be certified in the classes they're assigned (in other words, having the same teacher cover English, history, math, science and foreign language class all in the same day would be allowed), etc., ad nauseum. The district insists they'd never do anything so extreme as that, but the old union rule for such demands is (or should be) well known: if management is allowed to do something that will save them money, they will do it sooner or later regardless of what other effect it might have. Much of what we're fighting to keep in the contract is about keeping conditions that aid our students, not our own pockets. As our PFT President is fond of saying, "our working conditions are our students' learning conditions."

      All these actions by the district and the SRC are based on a state law called Act 46, which gives them powers that may seem a bit...draconian. They can set aside the state school code at will (i,e,. they have the power to ignore statute law) and can impose these thing despite PA labor law that demands that previously-negotiated conditions of a contract must be handled by negotiation. The law also makes us the only teachers in the state who are not allowed to strike, a clear 14th Amendment violation. The only bright spot is that this crisis may finally have Act 46 tested in court and struck down. It's the thing we're all holding out hope for; otherwise we're pretty much doomed as a union and as an effective teaching force.

      Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

      by Stwriley on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 03:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, but there is a method to the madness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For, a well educated populace is impossible to control. An ill educated populace is trivial to control.

      For evidence, I need only present the tea party.

  •  We must get rid of Tom Corbett and restore (13+ / 0-)

    the draconian cuts to our education budget.

    That would be a start.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:26:36 AM PDT

  •  Diane Ravitch just did an excellent (18+ / 0-)

    Interview with Bill Moyers . . . Essential: Public schools for sale

    ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:28:02 AM PDT

  •  I'm not one to dismiss teacher performance (13+ / 0-)

    arguments out of hand, but seems to me that between the students, administrators, appointed and elected oversight, and the parents, the teachers are taking a hell of a lot more than their fair share of crap.

    What is the point of adding 20-30 hours of workload a week? At some point, students have to accept a degree of responsibility for their own outcomes, which includes figuring out how to get their own goddamned work done.  

    But I guess in a society that insists remediation be crammed within the K-12 framework, that's what's expected.

    •  Part of the workload (17+ / 0-)

      has to do with mandated administrative meetings. And some of it has to do with new training requirements, some of which are degrading, ridiculous and otherwise unhelpful.

      The constant updates and changes in curricula and testing regimes doesn't help matters.

      Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

      by JrCrone on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:34:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And of course there's the training (8+ / 0-)

        having to do with standardized testing - how to teach the test, how to teach students to fill in little bubbles, how to teach the tests that measure progress toward the tests, how to administer the tests, blah, blah, blah.

        It's insane.

        Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

        by bear83 on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:08:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The slipshod nature of pedagogy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        doesn't help either.  That, the fact that it is so narrowly focused on the teacher, and that teachers (and by extension students) bear too much of the price for experimental failure.  

        •  The k12 schools I went to followed a policy of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          benign neglect towards me.  My mother managed to do such a number on my self-esteem with her sheepskin psychosis that the best job I ever had was a half-time minimum wage community service employment program job--that made me a gift from the federal government to a non-profit organization.  The non-profit tried to alleviate poverty.  I did back office clerical work in support of their fundraising efforts.

    •  Can teachers file wage & hour lawsuits? (7+ / 0-)

      Maybe they can shove some large overtime pay requests down the throats of those ridiculously overpaid administrators.

      Please help to fight hunger in the U.S. by making a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers are exempt employees (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        charliehall2, JanL, hmi, Mostel26

        Administrators are not typically 'ridiculously overpaid'. They are contracted for considerably more days and hours than teachers, which is where most of the salary difference comes from. There are some administrators overpaid in some districts but as a general rule better paid administrators are in districts with better paid teachers, and/or they're a few people in very large districts.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're exempt until courts say otherwise (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rduran, jbsoul, weneedahero, Mostel26

          IIRC, there were dozens of lawsuits filed by firefighters (among others) challenging the designation of non-management workers as exempt, and many of those were successful and resulted in huge overtime awards.

          Please help to fight hunger in the U.S. by making a donation to Feeding America.

          by MJB on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:02:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Charter administrators are ridiculously overpaid (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          israelfox87, Mostel26, JrCrone

          privatization will lead to big salaries for favored appointees, regardless of competence or training, and shit for rank and file. NO OTHER developed country is going this route. We need to further professionalize teaching, not downgrade it. that means masters degrees with a subject major and hefty courses in child development, sociology, psychology and theories of learning. And it's gonna cost money. So let's try this experiment with untrained young college grads with lots of churn, and after 20 years of failure maybe we will come to our senses, and get the fucking hedge fund managers out of education, our lives, and into jail where most of them belong, since they make their fortunes illegally for the most part.

    •  Constant Taylorist "productivity monitoring," (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js, JrCrone, Mostel26, slatsg

      with the ratcheting-up of those norms that actually get fulfilled; tremendous pressure to fake output norms (test scores); stripping unions of the right to collective bargaining; imposing "Stakhanovite" models; declining real wages;widening wage differentials; treating the better-educated with suspicion-- how is this different from Stalin's labor policy during the First Five Year Plan?

    •  The point is to get the teachers to quit, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rduran, sandblaster, drmah

      especially the leaders and the majority who are capable of working elsewhere.  When there are insufficient teachers, they can hire security guards to supervise kids who are confined to their desks and work at programmed instruction on computers.

      Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

      by hawkseye on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 05:14:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The federal view of education (24+ / 0-)

    I'm looking at you, Arne Duncan, and, yes, you, Mr. President, has made this further move to radicalize "education choice" possible.

    The horrid conditions for teachers in non-unionized positions just make it more and more possible to drag everyone down, rather than make an educated citizenry a top national priority, and bring everyone's working environment up to reflect that.

    Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

    by JrCrone on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:29:40 AM PDT

  •  Somehow, when it all fails spectacularly, (23+ / 0-)

    all the fault will be laid at the feet of the people who got screwed or screwed over the most, and this fault will be cited as a reason the disaster is not only not discrediting of a slew of bad ideas but is actually a good reason to do everything that fucked everything up royally all over again. Just doubled.

    Some days I feel like the rich and powerful are just trolling the rest of the human race.

    It's like somebody with a lot of money took their kids to the movies and had the revelation that the world would be a much better place if the Hunger Games was a documentary.

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:33:37 AM PDT

  •  Philly Style Reform (11+ / 0-)

    The schools in Philly have been in reform mode for over 12 years.  To date, nothing has been effective.  

    As for the teachers and their union, they have been in the sights of most politicians of both parties because of their political influence (always considered a bad thing in this context).  

    The non-Philadelphia part of the state resents Philly's influence and uses any opportunity to take in down.

    Don't forget that Whites are only 36.6% of the total population.

    Reform has never been the intention of Commonwealth.  There is no interest in IMPROVING schools in Philly.

  •  Teachers Unions Strength and Weaknesses Report (4+ / 0-)

    This report (strategy guide) was created by a school reform group and posted on the Internet publicly. I made a copy. It's 405 pages long and covers each state. It's an interesting read .  It's a 2.77 MB PDF download. If anyone is  interested.

    This gives you the real goal of the school reform and charter school movement.

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:35:26 AM PDT

  •  Politicians speak incessantly on this subject... (21+ / 0-)

    yet say so little and avoid the 800-pound elephant in the room.

    Education starts in the home.

    You want to strengthen schools? Strengthen families.

    How do you do that?

    You raise the minimum wage. You rewrite these draconian laws for nonviolent drug offenders.

    You give kids -- all kids -- a fighting chance rather than extolling the virtues of the one-in-a-million exception.

    You emphasize academics and de-emphasize athletics, which is nothing more than a lottery ticket for a few lucky kids.

    Teachers aren't the problem.

    It's our priorities that are out of whack.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:38:10 AM PDT

    •  It's the POVERTY. You don't hear about this stuff (12+ / 0-)

      happening in the rich suburban public schools.

      We'll leave all the racial stuff aside for now.

      It's the POVERTY that's the root cause.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:56:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've frequently said (9+ / 0-)

      that perhaps the best thing we can do to improve education outcomes would be to adopt certain other policies of Finland - like universal healthcare and a minimum of 6 weeks vacation for all workers.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:02:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And start the kids later (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMScott, JanL

        ate age 7.

        Speaking of which, here's a darned current link!
        NPR: What the US can learn from Finland

        Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

        by JrCrone on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:27:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  California can be the latest testing ground. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        So just transfer the policies of a not very diverse country with a population of 5,454,444 to nation of 320,000,000 and that is as diverse culturally, racially and economically as any on the planet?

        This has been talked about since before the Great Society, through Dem and GOP dominance. If it was as simple as more free stuff, it would have been fixed by now.

        Here in Cali, we dominate state politics now. If your ideas can come to fruition anywhere, its here. Pop. 38,300,000 and very diverse. It doesn't have to be a theory, let's get to work.

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:13:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "free stuff" is a bit dismissive, don't you think? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mostel26, BenderRodriguez

          In an era where both parents are working at least one job plus commuting with very little time off, there is not much time for parents to take their children to new experiences, interact with them as people, etc.

          In an era where 25% of American kids are living in poverty, getting all kids access to health care seems important.

          For all Wal-Mart likes to say they're helping schools by donating money to groups advocating education reform, they could do more for student achievement by engaging more of their workers at 40 hours a week and by giving them regular, permanent schedules so they can plan their child care.

          I missed the part where any American political party was advocating more paid vacation (even from the bully pulpit) and had managed to get health care delivered to all American kids.

          And yes, thanks, I am working on it. What are your ideas for making it happen?

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:00:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Start in the blue states and if it works, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it will spread. Minimum basic income, single payer etc...If it is going to happen, it will have to start in Cali, Vermont & Washington State. But Cali has to be ground zero for these kinds of ideas.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:29:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I went to a carter high school (15+ / 0-)

    99-03 they where still kinda newish here in Michigan.But due to the fact that the principal had near total control over hiring we had some rather poor instruction, and when the principal didn't like you it carried down to the other teachers.

    Also for a school that at first advertized itself as a "school for the manufacturing arts and sciences" the school's math program was 2 years behind the local public schools, and when i got to college i found myself far behind in math, forcing me to switch from engineering to the social sciences. Mostly since i did not feel like having to spend 2 years of classes catching up and then toss in all the other math classes that would have been required.

    Even years later i'd run across freshmen in college who came from that school, only to find they only got worse.

    We need to reinvest in public schools, more teachers, and lesson plans built around breading experts in science and math, not experts in test taking.


    •  The vampires who are cannibalizing America are (11+ / 0-)

      running out of ways to extract wealth from whatever they can get their hands on,
      we've had stagnant wages for decades while corporate profits increase through the roof, we went to almost universal two income households, we've had tech bubbles, real estate bubbles, stock market bubbles, etc,
      natural resources are reaching the limit as to what more can be extracted,
      what's left?

      Sick sociopathic greedheads can still 'extract wealth' from students, children and future generations.

      These people are repulsive and disgusting.
      They need to be outed and checked.
      They have no shame.
      They will consume America's future just to further stuff their already bloated bank accounts.
      Just watched Bill Moyers show on this subject.
      EVERYONE in America needs to be aware of what's going on.

  •  My oldest niece (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, jbsoul, Mostel26, JanL

    has been a teacher as her only career since graduating from college 23 years ago, and loved her job; she's now been looking towards retirement in 20 years, or maybe even sooner if that's possible. And that's in a public school in California where we seem to have avoided the charter school bug for the most part (they don't seem as prevalent here as in some areas).

    With the complex problems facing this country, quality education should be top priority -- but TPTB don't want an educated citizenry because they're more likely to see through the bullshit. Didn't the GOP in Texas actually want to eliminate critical thinking skills from their curriculum?

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:39:04 AM PDT

    •  They did, even as Rick Perry (7+ / 0-)

      was running for preznit. This is a quote from the 2012 Republican Party of Texas Platform:

      We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
      The entire thing is available through this link; this and other education-related gems (like "We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups") are on page 12.
    •  they are also making retirement impossible, guttin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      pensions, raising the retirement ages ( teaching kindergarten at 65? really? ) and ending seniority so no one will ever get in enough years to retire anyway. The goal is to have an adjunct force as they do in higher ed.

  •  "Impossible work rules" (8+ / 0-)

    I'm guessing those include, but aren't limited to, guarantees of planning time and class size.


    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:45:38 AM PDT

  •  There are ads running on the radio telling (13+ / 0-)

    kids they should become teachers. I don't understand why. Why get an extensive education with debt you can never pay off because your salary and pension keep getting cut by greedy politicians, and spend your entire time at school either buying lunch or supplies for your impoverished kids or administering tests?

    That's just stupid. We're ensuring no one will choose to become a teacher any more with this crap.

  •  It's union busting. (13+ / 0-)

    That's all it really is.  The goal is reduced labor costs and, perhaps, the elimination of pensions.  

    The dismantling of our public education system - and the devaluation of our entire education system, whether public or private or "charter" or whatever - continues unabated.  

    Greed and Power are the goals of the elites: Greed and Power.  Here, then, are the authorities:  Juan Gonzalez and ...

    "...what happens is, the investors who put up the money to build the charter schools get to basically virtually double their money in seven years through a 39 percent tax credit from the federal government. In addition, this is a tax credit on money that they’re lending, so they’re collecting interest on the loans, as well as getting the 39 percent tax credit. They piggyback the tax credit on other kinds of federal tax credits, like historic preservation or job creation or Brownfields credits. The result is, you can put in $10 million and in seven years double your money.

    "And the problem is that the charter schools end up paying in rents the debt service on these loans. And so, now a lot fo the charter schools in Albany are straining paying their debt — their rent has gone up from $170,000 to $500,000 in a year, or huge increases in their rents, as they strain to pay off these loans, these construction loans. And the rents are eating up huge portions of their total cost. And, of course, the money is coming from the state...."

    The Automatic Earth
    "...In the absence of actual growth, and in the presence of increasing debt, they can and will only achieve that by pushing the poor deeper into poverty. That is the real choice, even as faith in eternal growth makes it easy, if not necessary, to deny that such a choice exists.

    "Or to put it in different words: we continue to live with the idea of recovery, which in our minds equals a return to what we had, plus added growth. For some of us that may come true, but for a very rapidly increasing number amongst us, it will not. Because, and it’s high time we acknowledge this, at this point in time, the only way the upper echelons of our societies can achieve some level of growth is to take it away from everyone else. And those upper echelons, mind you, demand exponential growth, which means, in a society that cannot grow, that the numbers of poor people will rise exponentially as well...."

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. ~ expatjourno

    by ezdidit on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:52:07 AM PDT

    •  nailed it ezdidit (6+ / 0-)

      People are focusing on the question,"why would anyone choose education as a career if it is debased?", instead of realizing that the vast majority of "careers" are going to be debased. The process has already started.

      How many data points do we need? Bachelor's Degrees are now required for many low level, low paid jobs. An 8 hour day with an hour for lunch was quite recently the norm for professional jobs, now the expectation is 9 hours at least, and lunch at the desk. Low pay, no real advancement, a worthless 401k if any retirement at all, no job security. This is now the norm for many professional jobs, not just low level jobs. As time goes on, more and more professions will be sucked into the third world model pushed by the plutocracy.

      Technological, business, and finance professionals think it won't happen to them. It will happen to them. And no one will be left to speak up for them when it does....

    •  that's the song i've been singing for a while. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      folks just don't understand the implication of geometric growth in plutocratic wealth.

      the implication is that by the end of this century, a small number of people will own everything, and will be angry because there is no more growth available to them. they will have already started squandering scarce resources on projects in space, whose only real benefits will be an increase in the wealth of the plutocrats, but that domain cannot possibly grow quickly enough to outstrip their ever-growing hunger.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:57:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with your figuring. The growth of wealth at the top is no longer just geometric, but is rapidly approaching the exponential phase, where doubling the top means killing off  four times as much at the bottom, and tripling the top costs nine times as much at the bottom.  A very nasty way to lose.

        •  I've had this conversation about geometric vs (0+ / 0-)

          exponential growth with others. I used to be confused about it, but the fact is that geometric growth is a form of exponential growth. At 1.10 geometric growth rate, you get a doubling every 7 years of so. In 85 years, that's a 4000-fold increase. Even at a 1.05 geometric growth rate -- i.e., 5% real rate of return -- you get a doubling every 15 years, or 63-fold increase in 85 years.

          Just the 25 richest people in the world have net wealth that we know of of about 600 billion dollars. A real 60-fold increase would put them at 36 trillion. The vigorish on that would be 1.8 trillion dollars per year -- about $400 for every able-bodied adult on the planet: and that's just for the 25 top fortunes. The fortune 400 are worth a couple of trillion dollars. Bump their real return to just 7%, and by 2100, those fortunes will have swollen to 600 trillion dollars. the 42 trillion dollars in annual vigorish on that wealth is just shy of current estimates of all of humanity's annual economic output.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 06:40:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Here is the meme we as teachers need to beat into (16+ / 0-)

    the press:

    Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.

    Short, simple, and a counter to EVERY talking point about "union contracts".

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 11:54:49 AM PDT

  •  What does the data say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The common thread in all of those things, of course, is money. At a time of dwindling resources, cheaper is better, and not rewarding teachers for pursuing additional education (the Philly School District honors a master's degree with a pay bump that ranges from $1,300 to $8,700, depending on years of service) will save a few dimes here and there, though someone will have to probably explain the "think about the kids" rationale in trying to have less educated faculty members.
    What does the data say about whether kids learn better from teachers with masters degrees than those without? Are there test scores or some other data that demonstrates the relationship?

    Should be fairly easy to see if this extra money is buying us something, or if it isn't.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:00:13 PM PDT

    •  Try some of these research papers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This first one will open a .pdf to an article found on on a research project studying the success of high-poverty and/or high-minority student bodies in the public school districts of Chicago, Cleveland, and Minneapolis.  The study compared the efficacy of experienced and inexperienced teachers with these student bodies.

      This .pdf is a research analysis done by the National Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research underwritten as a joint project of the Urban Institute, Duke University, Stanford University, University of Florida, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Texas-Dallas, and the University of Washington.  The research includes comparisons of inexperienced vs experienced teachers in the success of students in high-poverty areas of North Carolina.  

      More experienced teachers cost more money.  

      However, as a 4th year teacher myself who also works in a high-poverty, high-minority school, I'll give you my opinion - for what it's worth.  Teacher experience counts.  Especially with this type of student body.

      “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” — Isaac Asimov via John Cole

      by Heiuan on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:29:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Experience (0+ / 0-)

        in this case is NOT the same as extended education.  It takes time in the classroom teaching, NOT time in a lecture hall listening, to learn HOW to teach to all the varieties of students you face.  Pardon my expressions as a non-teacher, but have a good bit of time in the classroom tutoring a lot of different kinds, some of whom I had to at least try to convince needed to be there.

    •  Linda Darling Hammond and Diane Ravitch (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      look into their research. it's like asking who is better at surgery, a biologist or a surgeon? I will take the most educated person available for my kid, thanks.

    •  Ha. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, sandblaster, drmah

      How droll.
      A couple of other respondents have pointed you towards some research, but your comically naive notion that it, "Should be fairly easy ..." indicates that you have no idea whatsoever of the essential complexities of any and all education research. Suffice to say that it is practically impossible to prove anything at all about the efficacy, or not, of different factors in education.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:02:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        It's either impossible or it isn't.

        If there's data, excellent.

        If there's no data, too hard to figure out, whatever, there's really no good public policy reason to pay for it. It would be like spending tax dollars on astrology.

        Remember that you are always trading off masters degree pay for extra teachers / smaller classes / better facilities. Which does the data indicate is more effective at stimulating student learning?

        I freely admit that I do not know the answer to this question.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:37:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You make me laugh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Yeah, science always produces clear, unambiguous Yes or No answers, about which there will never be debate.

          What you are always trading off is money for efficacy. The single most effective education technique is 1 on 1 instruction. Suffice to say "we" are disinclined to pay that price. (I place "we" in quotes because I am not disinclined to do so.)

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:55:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am afraid you would be shocked and horrified (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to discover how very little we know about the efficacy of anything that we do in the schools. However, to compare policy decisions based on a combination of intuition, experience, and common sense to decisions made on the basis of astrology is to adopt a hopeless epistemology in which nothing can ever be decided because nothing can ever be known.

          In the US, we typically require teachers of subjects from 6th to 12th grade to have some subject matter knowledge, as evidenced by tests they are given and college coursework they complete. I would be astounded if you could dig out of the education literature a single study that conclusively, indisputably proves that requiring an 8th-grade mathematics teacher to have completed a college course in trigonometry improves student outcomes -- nonetheless, we require it. Why do we require it? Because it seems reasonable to us.

          In some other countries it is presumed that somebody teaching 8th-grade mathematics will have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree in mathematics. More commonly, teachers are expected to hold the equivalent of a Master's in their subject. Neither those countries, nor the US, can point to conclusive studies that demonstrate that their expectations are reflected in measurable corresponding improvement in student outcomes. Rather, the French just assume that someone teaching algebra should have a sophisticated knowledge of mathematics, and the Americans just assume that someone teaching algebra should have substantial college-level coursework in mathematics.

          This is just the way it is. You are free to dismiss the whole thing as equivalent to astrology, and advocate the hiring of truck drivers to teach 8th-grade mathematics, on the basis of "we don't have proof". I doubt you'll get much traction.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  long term goal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who needs education?

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:07:52 PM PDT

  •  Another Broad Superintendent Institute grad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, JanL

    Check out what Eli Broad has wrought...

    Critics Target Growing Army of Broad Leaders

    Boot Camp...

    it's only going to get worse

  •  I am so glad I got a good public education (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, jbsoul, Mostel26, Aquarius40

    while the getting was still good. And that I have no children. The neo-liberals, or Third Wayers, or whatever you call them, are Hell-bent on destroyed a great public school system. Sad.

  •  Newest war on school. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul, Mostel26, JanL

    Republicans and the conservative democrats are hell
    bent on destroying the public school.  
    My opinion is if they wish to steal the tax dollars
    from the public educational system to give to the
    Religious and other Charter Schools , than
    let me keep My money they take in Federal ,
    State and local taxes ..... Plus property tax.  
    They have NO business taking money which is
    TAKEN from your salary and hand it over to
    these Charter AHs.  
    This is because Persons like  Christie and other
    Catholic and religions want to get money to send
    their kids to the religion of their choice.  
    I am sick and tired of the government taken my
    tax money and giving it to whom ever they wish.  
    Hell ,  Exxon and other oil companies take some
    as they wish
    26 Major Corporations Paid No Corporate Income Tax For The Last Four Years, Despite Making Billions In Profits
    Corporate Welfare Grows to $154 Billion even in Midst of Major Government Cuts
    About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.
    Taxpayers Turn U.S. Farmers Into Fat Cats With Subsidies
    Says that in 2009 ExxonMobil "paid no federal income taxes, received a $156 million rebate."
    10 Giant Corporations that Don't Pay Taxes
    In its just-released annual report, Boeing Company reported that it claimed $82 million in federal tax refunds, despite reporting $5.9 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits last year. This represents an effective tax rate of -1.4 percent. Boeing paid just $11 million in state income taxes, an effective state tax rate of just 0.2 percent. The disclosures were made in Boeing’s Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last Friday.

    Since 2008, Boeing has reported between $1.6 billion and $5.9 billion in profits each year, yet has paid no federal income taxes in three of those years. Over the last six years, Boeing has reported $26.4 billion in pre-tax profits to its shareholders, while claiming a total of $105 million in refunds from the IRS, an effective tax rate of -0.4 percent.

    •  I didn't realize that Philly and NYC (0+ / 0-)

      had so many Conservative Democrats. There is no way that parents of inner city students are demanding different options and new plans? Nah!!

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:18:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and yet Boeing demanded concessionsfrom the unions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the fucking gall

  •  thank your local rw radio station for 'popularizin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    g' this shit and selling it locally, possibly endorsed  by your state university sports teams.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:38:07 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps we can turn to someone like (5+ / 0-)

    Arne Duncan, Obama's Sec of Education, for some advice on what to do?

    Excerpt of Duncan's accomplishments in Education:

    Duncan was appointed U.S. Secretary of Education by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2009.[8] One of Duncan's initiatives as secretary has been a $4 billion Race to the Top competition. It asks states to vie for federal education dollars by submitting proposals that include reforms such as expanding charter schools and judging teachers partly on how well their students do on standardized tests
    It appears the continued destruction of Public Education will continue.  It will continue until a corporate based "Charter" system is all that remains.


    Because this is the Lesser Of Two Evils.  That's why.  Because there is No Choice.  Republicans want to privatize Public Education for the benefit of the Wealthy Elite.  As do Democrats.

    And D and R are the only choices you have.  The privatization and destruction of education for the working class is a bi-partisan policy position.  It is therefore unstoppable.

    The only difference is that the Greater Evil laughs;  The Lesser Evil blows smoke, makes excuses, gives great speeches.. but the Policy is the same.

    And the Psychopathic Predator Elite laugh all the way to their private banking system.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:40:21 PM PDT

  •  Well OF COURSE, since Charter Schools pay minimum (5+ / 0-)

    wage to their teachers, all the public school teachers clearly MUST take a pay cut to minimum wage to "compete".

    That is obvious to any idiot. And the Philly school district is JUST the idiot we need. ;)

    Strike ... NOW. 100% complete strike across all Penn public schools. Either be a union and defend yourselves  .... or give up. I can't strike for you, you have to do it.

    Myself, I'd like to see strikes used far more aggressively. If ONE state tries to fuck with Public Worker Pensions then the entire AFSCME needs to strike NATIONWIDE and demand one simple thing ....

    That Obama roll all public worker pensions into SOCIAL SECURITY. All state balances are turned over to the US Treasury, and any shortfalls are made part of the National Debt .... one time bailout of State/Local governments, without any of the workers getting screwed.

    •  "Charter schools pay minimum wage" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:19:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coming Soon: Primary School Debt. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandblaster, Mostel26, Ruh Roh, JanL, drmah

    It's not enough to yoke college students to education debt. We should start when they are in primary school.

    Think about it, it could be like a reverse savings account. It would be awesome!

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:43:01 PM PDT

    •  Indiana Legislature pushed for Charter Pre-schools (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      even though Kindergarten in not required to be offered by Public Schools.  The purpose was to drain off funds for public school students even before they could start to school.  Fortunately, this measure was an almost-failure.  Legislature (a huge majority R) managed to create a few pilot projects to take away money from Public Schools, but their state-wide plan failed.  

  •  This is all Bill Gates and Obama.... (4+ / 0-)

    Neither of them have their kids in public schools.  Maybe if the schools bought 3D printers they could crank out non-degreed worker clones for everyone including MS.  

    For over a year now, Americans have been up in arms over the Obama administration’s unconstitutional efforts to bribe and bludgeon state governments into surrendering control over K-12 education through the controversial so-called “Common Core” national standards — and the outrage is still growing. A peek beneath the surface, however, reveals that the nationalization of American schools is actually just one component of a much broader global agenda being pushed by the Obama administration, the United Nations, Bill Gates, and others: the globalization of education.
    “Strangely, when I went to the Lakeside School website—you know, where Bill Gates and his children went/go to school—I found not a single mention of Common Core, standardization and electric plugs. Not to mention that they weren’t coupled with terms like “innovation” and “teaching.”

    I will not vote for Hillary. What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:44:11 PM PDT

  •  Hiring all new young teachers can backfire. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My private school hired a lot of young teachers to save money.  They are for the most part, excellent teachers and most of them have masters degrees (we still pay a premium for a masters) but there was an unanticipated cost.  Teaching staff is about 50 people; within 4 years we had 15 pregnancies, and both male and female teachers out on family leave.  State law allows people to us sick leave pay for family leave, so we ended up paying out in long term subs as well as regular salaries.  Plus, at least 4 teachers opted not to return after the babies came with the extra cost of advertising and interviewing.

  •  And McGraw Hill is kind of scary these days. (4+ / 0-)

    Saw their propaganda in Grand Central. Apparently they are going to be a big data and training firm.

    Nice eh?

    I'd love to see someone flesh this out. It was creepy for me, and I don't quite understand why.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 12:56:02 PM PDT

  •  No mention of NYC? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, JanL, Heiuan, Mostel26, JrCrone

    Where the new mayor tried to use his powers to limit charter schools and put more money into traditional schools, only to get screwed over by the state.

    Mayoral control was cool when Bloomberg was mayor, but not now that we have a progressive mayor. He reallocated $200 million from charter schools and put them into traditional schools, wanted to charge charters rent and cancelled co-locations in schools where it would have taken away seats

    Because with mayoral control, he had the power to do it.

    And the state stopped him and now the city has to co-locate charters in traditional schools and take away seats for special ed or pay their rents in private buildings.

    And I have to say, the progressive activists were almost completely absent from this battle. No wonder why we lose and no major Democrat wants to take the courageous position

    •  Ads all over NYC tv by some Astroturf group (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, DROzone, Mostel26

      promoting charter schools.  I was in NYC last week, and watched only a little news and saw the ad at least 10 times.

    •  And THIS is the reason some so-called (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DROzone, Heiuan, Mostel26

      progressive policies just don't make it.   Ok, fine, you vote for something all you want: but when push comes to shove there's got to be major support from THE PARENTS against the charters.  I'm not seeing that happening in NYC in large enough numbers.

      Sure, there are some White progressives that are against charters but do you notice that the anti-DeBlasio charter school ads mostly use minority kids in the commercials?   Giving the illusion that it's the minority kids that are being hurt by cancelling the co-location issue.  It makes me so made I just want to scream at the tv.  Where's the pushback on that?? Yep, sound of crickets.

      •  Because it doesn't exist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Parents are open to the idea of charter schools, especially in parts of the city where there is desperation. Charters in NYC by in large serve minority kids. These groups are also open to better funding and attention to traditional schools too, but, by in large, these communities don't share the same disdain for charters than progressive groups do. There is just no appetite for this issue among progressive groups. the only group that was actively fighting was the unions, and not very effectively.

        There was no groundswell in support for universal pre-K funded with increased taxes on the rich, only the unions were out on that, there was no support for the mayor's plan to refocus funds on charters.

        The issue with charters, beyond the obvious attempts to break the teacher's union, is also that they often pick and choose their student body and leave minority students in underfunded, under supported schools if they aren't the lucky few to be picked for charters. NO WHERE did I hear anyone argue this point, except the mayor and some select city councilmen.

        I would expect de Blasio to be less progressive from here on out. He tried and he lost, the massive groups that propelled him to the mayoralty abandoned the cause here. Who really thinks they'll be there for the next fight? I don't.

    •  Well, who the Hell cares about Special (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Education when it isn't just a 90 minute TV movie inspiration?


      Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

      by JrCrone on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 05:21:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I read the words "Race to the Bottom" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, Mostel26

    I think about my own profession in the regional airline industry.  We have been plagued by this "race" since the legacy carriers came up with the idea of outsourcing their flying to regional carriers.  We, unfortunately, are governed by a legal mill-stone called the "Railway Labor Act"; teachers are not.

    There is no RLA that stops teachers from work actions and other tools of organized labor to make management come to the table. Clearly, the city councils and city managers could care less about actual education; work actions while not the first resort should be left on the table with a big-ass sign that says: "We care about these kids, even if you don't".

    In an era of information and transformational social media that allows communication directly to voters (parents) there is no excuse for not putting this issue in front of those parents without the filter of the media and politicians.  If we can afford an F-35, we sure as hell can afford to educate our children for their sakes, for the sake of the middle class in this country and for our future as a Nation.  

    Fuck management.  Fuck politicians.  No surrender, no race to the bottom.  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:36:28 PM PDT

  •  Annualized salary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That 5th year M.A. making $59K is also working 190 days for the salary. Add 30% for a proper comparison to full-year employment and it's more like $90K.

    •  For most public school teachers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, drmah

      The school year lasts 10 months from start to finish so adding 20% would be closer to reality.  Also. Most teachers work well over 50 hours a week.  The last stats I saw for my state, the average teacher worked 55 hours a week.  The workload has increased substantially since those stats came out.  I suspect in an urban area such as Philly, the workload is heavier.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:16:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even with your adjustment (0+ / 0-)

        it puts the annualized salary at $71K, which is not terrible. Finding yourself in a salaried position in which you work more than 40 hours a week is not exactly unusual. In the end, teaching isn't slave labor. I know from experience.

        •  This is true. Teachers are supposed to be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          professionals.  They should be paid as such!  Teacher salaries in places with a high cost of living will sound lavish to people living in areas with a low cost of living yet those teachers may be struggling in the areas in which they live.   I teach in the DC suburbs and I know that our salaries sound high to someone living in the midwest or the south yet it's common for our teachers to have two jobs in order to make ends meet.

          “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

          by musiclady on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 05:21:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Teachers have required summer training (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26, JrCrone, drmah, sandblaster

      Teachers don't "really" get the summer off.  There are lots of required training programs to be completed (examples: teaching students for whom English is a second language, teaching students with "special needs", mandatory continuing professional education courses), in addition to extensive planning for the upcoming school year.  It's no vacation.

      •  Some teachers, (0+ / 0-)

        sometimes, take extra coursework. Most people, in most jobs, are lucky to get 2 weeks annual vacation, 3 if they are really fortunate. So yeah, teachers do pretty well on vacation, during the school year and during the summer.

      •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        my cousin is a teacher and she basically has the entire month of August off. (school in NYC starts after Labor Day). She has half of July too, only the first two weeks she doesn't due to a summer camp she takes part of to make extra money.

        She also has Christmas break, February break and Easter/Passover break. She and her husband take at least 3 vacations a year.

        I'm not against her having all that, I think it's great, but there are people out there who can barely get 2 weeks off (I took 10 days ti go on vacation and my boss is losing his shit)

        That creates bitter feelings, especially when we start taking about how much schools are underfunded.

  •  I'm going to need a couch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, drmah

    to scream in.

    You could not be more right about how frightening this could be.

    I know I am preaching to the choir, but I am so sick, just so sick of the attempt to demonize people who have studied for years, make barely enough to raise a family, and are generally dedicated and caring folks They're the problem.  Right, they're the problem.

    But of course if you educate people well they might, they just might figure out what is really going on and the empire will be unmasked.

    Just sick.

  •  "comical ease" link is broken (0+ / 0-)

    This better link works though:

    •  Wow. Already?!?! (0+ / 0-)

      I find it funny that links to articles from 2-3 years ago in my piece are working fine, but the most recent one is a dead link!! Will swap in a few (just doing a fly-by right now)...thanks for the heads up!

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 06:45:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have thought all along that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, JrCrone

    work rule changes is what the whole charter school movement is really about. And much of the whole school reform movement in general.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the public has been made receptive to this idea because so many of us are pressed to work more and more hours ourselves. People seem to hate thinking that others have it better than they have it, especially of those others are public employees.

    Knowing from personal experience in IT how you burn out from overwork, even when you have a career that you love and are committed to, I feel certain that the net result of this is going to be teacher attrition on a scale never before imagined. And given how high this attrition already is, this is pretty scary.

    I agree with the premise of the diary: our teaching positions will end up being filled by young, untrained people right out of school who aren't sure what they're doing with their lives yet. They'll do it for a couple of years and move on. We will no longer have experienced professionals teaching our kids.

    Funny how this concept co-exists with lip service to the idea that we need to attract better people into teaching. Eventually we will come back to realizing that we need to treat teachers better if we want better teachers. But in the meanwhile what damage will have been done?

    But maybe that's too optimistic, depending as it does on people having alternatives. Maybe teachers will put up with the stress, the brutal hours, and the lack of autonomy for the same reasons that so many others do - because they will know they are lucky to have jobs at all.

  •  Excellent article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Excellent piece and very depressing to read as a Philadelphia native.

    One point, though: You seem to portray Nutter as someone who is not a dyed in the wool corporate education deformer, but, oh, how he is.

  •  a little bit about Bill Hite (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, sandblaster

    before Philadelphia he ran Prince George's County Public Schools, where I taught for 17 years.  He got that position when his predecessor went to the Gates Foundation before heading to Los Angeles. Yep, John Deasy.  

    As a highly visible teacher I got to know both, Hite somewhat better, since he came to the ceremony at the Washington Post when I was received my Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher award.  I encountered him a bit more over the remaining two years I was in PG.  

    Hite knew exactly what he was doing and going to have to do when he went to Philadelphia.  He is no dummy.

    That he took that job is because it paid more and was higher visibility.

    I cannot say that he has a personal vision of education and what a school system should be like.  He would have been eaten alive had he tried to bust the PG union.  But then, he got along very well with the union chief, so that was not necessary.

    Schools should not be in the business of competing with for profit entities - and let's be clear, even most ostensibly non-profit charters are for profit because of how they contract out for services.  The intent is far too often not to educate but to profit.  

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:20:48 PM PDT

  •  Exploding Heads (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This dialogue reminds me of the Star Trek episode, where Captain Kirk feeds a Do Loop into the Female Bots data ports and their heads and boobs explode.

    Education is a Do Loop now. A big fat Do Not Pass Go. It's a profit center. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about mandatory Mil.Gov.Sci.Edu, or the more mundane dollar-on-the-barrel-head charter schools.

    It's Big Business. What are you debating about? Red or White? Yellow or Blue? Oh, I think Yellow is much better! Most of the new hiring in the last ten years has been for administrators and curriculum wonks. NCLB and RTTT are just recycled choss from the 1990s with new glam CALP and a fat Federal subsidy.

    Education™ is over. It's a 3-card monte con game for a sheep skin. Only 1 out of 4 public school kids will ever graduate from college, and only 1 out of 6 college kids will work in STEM, but STEM doctrine is BIG FAT $TACK$. What's the point of destroying the imagination of 23 out of 24 kids, just so Bill Gates can hire cheap S/W writers? He's going to hire them all out of Mumbai anyway!

    85%, MOL, of US elementary teachers have no math or science fluency! That's why they teach in elementary. In fact, Pearson monopolized STEM Thought Space, and teachers are forbidden to teach other than 'by the book' and 'to the test'. It's pure programming, and it's going all digital, pre-programmed and robotic. The 'flipped classroom' is just a scribbling Edu Assembly Line!!

    So you can bleat like sheep all you want, Mil.Gov.Sci.Edu has no intention of letting go of their profit center. All the Feds education 'initiatives' are doing is spreading the tax loot around to their virtual charter school cronies!

    It's a charade debate, just like all the others. Red Army, White Army, still the same Edu Supreme Soviet. And like the Soviets, those walls are coming down. Education is becoming egalitarian, freely available, what you really need to know, not 16 years of academic bull puckey for lifetime debt.

    The 'Best and Brightest' will find a way through, and the rest will end up campesanos cleaning the Elite's toilets, while Mil.Gov.Sci.Edu frantically writes the Next Strand, and Der Leader tomes we need a Brave New Initiative.

    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."

    •  Yes indeed..... (0+ / 0-) permeates our way of life in an ever increasing fascist society...
      This has been an interesting conversation in general.  Now apply all that has been said to health care. The topics are interchangeable.  Get rid of the knowledgeable mentors and replace them with those who know little, and expect less.  "For profit" education and "for profit" health care.....perhaps the teachers and the nurses and the environmentalists....and anyone else who understands this destruction...... should get together to advocate for a change in this massive wave of "for profit" takeover that has been perpetrated on a healthier way of life for the past 50 years. There are lots of us doing just that.    

      Without a struggle, there can be no progress. .........Frederick Douglass

      by katnurseadvocate on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 12:01:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These Bend Over Party morons... (0+ / 0-)

    Don't understand that these same teachers COULD and ARE look/looking at the third world who are screaming for Americans to come to them to become their teachers.

    As a Special Ed paraprofessional...I know of others in my field who have and are going to do this. While the pay is lower than what they could get here...the cultures where they go are more than willing to give these teachers what they will never get here...RESPECT. This is the reason I looked at getting my education degree and decided to not even bother going into massive debt and wasting my time with American schools to get treated worse than someone working in fast food.

  •  Art or Science? (0+ / 0-)

    The age-old debate regarding the act of teaching is whether it is an art or a science.

    Philadelphia, the SRC, & Idoit Green just solved the puzzle for us--McJob!

  •  Charter schools a money making idea by the wealthy (0+ / 0-)

    Jeb Bush is promoting them.  Why?  Because they are money makers for the wealthy.  Hire retired or newbies who aren't as attuned to students.  Pay them as little as possible,and presto,changeo,we have a charter school.  We outsourced the military care to Halliburton and so many were electrocuted by civilian employee errors,who made out big time--Halliburton.  We outsourced national security intelligence--Edward Snowden.  Only people at the top make out well.  The children will suffer educationally and those at the top will be laughing all the way to the bank.  It will happen.


    Wonder how the court verdict against McDonald's franchise owners policy of making people work off the clock is illegal and amounts to stealing could affect the expectation of the state and public school administrations of public school teachers to do more of that than they already do? I don't know how charter schools work in other states but in mine the public school board was suppose to be the one that says yes or no to a new charter school and that is the way it worked until last year. There was a charter school corporation based in Arizona that wanted to open school in the capital city but didn't meet the rules of the Public School board in regards to the way they pick their students etc. After the school board turned down their application, they and the city mayor, (whose cousin by marriage owned stock in the Arizona corporation) went to State Education Commissioner to get his help in overturning the local schoolboard.  This commissioner was hired after our corporate Republican governor took office while he was living in Virginia and he didn't show up in my state for about 4 months afterwards for some reason and ran his office by phone while being paid $30 thousand dollars more a year than the commissioner before him He ordered the local school board twice to give the Arizona corporation the charter and they refused. He fined the school board(the students) of the metro area $130,000 dollars, taken out of their budget, because they would not back down and let a charter school that showed it was racist have a charter. Afterwards the Republican governor and Republican state legislature has been trying and may have taken away the right of the four largest school districts in the state to decide if a charter school can open because of a school board fighting back against tax money being taken away from its students to go to a private corporation ran charter school that was was to be a segregated charter school the way its application read, where the school was to be built, an area not serviced by public transportation  and the fact they wasn't going to offer transportation for students to get to it                                                                                                                                                                                      That shows that Republicans don't care about students getting a great education just that charter schools be allowed to siphon funds away from public education education and make its corporate owners lots of money . Also many of the charter schools that the school board has approved that the mayor and company wanted are already out of business because they failed miserably in educationing the children and handling their money wisely. NO CHARTER SCHOOLS, LET  PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS BE TEACHERS, NOT BEAN COUNTERS, SECURITY , BABY SITTERS LET THEM TEACH AND REWARD THEM WHEN THEY DO THE JOB RIGHT WITH HIGHER PAYER NOT LESS.


  •  Education is dangerous to oligarchs (0+ / 0-)

    Especially public education.

    The very idea of what constitutes a well-educated person has been seriously skewed. Public schools are destined to become factory farms churning out labor drones for corporations, and mindless consumers who will be no threat to the status quo.

    Charter schools? Farm clubs for the elites, for those who can make the cut into the upper ranks, or at worse become the overseers for the corporatocracy. At the very least, they're fodder for the for-profit education scam that is the charter school movement.

    And every time liberals and other well meaning individuals talk about the mission of schools as being about turning out graduates with the skills needed to get a good job, they reinforce the idea that people are only valuable in terms of the jobs they can do, the employers who deign to hire them.

    What about the idea that schools are about giving people the skills to live a full life, learning how to be active citizens, informed enough to make intelligent decisions and engage in democracy? What about culture, art, society?

    If anyone is wondering why America seems to be getting dumber, it's by design.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 06:38:09 PM PDT

  •  Last Time (0+ / 0-)

    We destroyed the education system the last time we offered early retirement to teachers to bring in a slew of entry level teachers in order to cut costs.  That was just back in the 80's during the Reagan disasters that are all beginning to fester now that he's out of office and dead.

    Every time we elect politicians we think there's some immediacy in their solutions well this is one that has taken some 30 years to have an effect. Now we're about to make it even worse.

  •  Imagine (0+ / 0-)

    So the PPSS thinks it can solve it's problems by reducing wages? This is a page out of the Rethuglican playbbok of divide and conquer. Why don't we then apply the same standards to the super rich- if they are seen as "overpaid" teachers we should be reducing their income! Furthermore, charter schools are a proven failure. So, instead of our children exceding, PPSS wants to dumb them down to the charter school level. In doing so it would give the appearance that charter's are doing a good job.Which they are not. Here's a new slogan "Pupils not profits". In looking at any public school system where is the greatest employee cost? You guessed it , the very administrators that want the worker bees to suffer. So, let's propose that NO superintendent or administrator can be paid more than the highest paid teacher! Pay equity. Sounds good to me, because administrators are for their own profit beasts just like charter schools.  When we remove their self motivation from the equation things will improve. And besides, if we had only charter schools those very administrators are unnecessary and should be fired. Because we all know that charter schools know how to manage things better than a public school administrator.

  •  Attending Public Schools: It's a LAW! (0+ / 0-)

    Attending public schools is the law if you can't afford private school or a private tutor. Then there's home schooling, IF you are a stay-at-home-parent. I thank Goddess that my daughter will be graduating from high school within the next year. So far, I haven't seen anything of any significance as far as anything worthwhile that she has learned in the public high school she attends. My son who is in college, also attended the same schools as my daughter, and I know for a fact, based on what he has told me, he didn't learn anything in school...except that their history books never mentioned the FACT that Senator and Wall Street Bankster, Prescott Bush, of Bush Family Infamy was one of the Wall Street Banksters that helped to finance Adolf Hitler and his Snotzi (Nazi) Party. Never was any of that very important part of American history EVER mentioned in my kid's history books. So what IS the point of attending public school...other than to break children away from their parents...mothers especially...but dads too...and program them from an early age to be good little robots for the Elite Upper Class's agenda of making everyone else work in perpetual servitude? Oh! That IS it! Hahahahahaha! I knew it was something to that effect. I have done everything in my power to educate my kids to be intensely aware of "how things REALLY work."

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