Excellent video from Christopher Tienken discussing education reform. He addresses Common Core State Standards, calling it an anti-intellectual, illogical version of “imitate and regurgitate.” We tend to agree here.
Excellent video from Christopher Tienken discussing education reform. He addresses Common Core State Standards, calling it an anti-intellectual, illogical version of “imitate and regurgitate.” We tend to agree here.
by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog
“Entrepreneurial investment in education technology has skyrocketed from $100 million in 2007 to $429 million in 2011. It’s peculiar that the huge increase in companies investing in digital classrooms and testing materials to eventually align with the Common Core State Standards’ requirements began the same year Rhee became Chancellor of DC Schools and Obama began his reign as president”.
Potter Williams Report: War on Education 2013 exposes the federal takeover of education and Michelle Rhee’s involvement in the “choice” movement which in reality is not choice for parents. It’s not much of a choice to go from one school to another that has the same Common Core mandates and the same educational blueprint.
THERE IS NO SCHOOL CHOICE, and if organizations both conservative and liberal tell you there is, they’re lying. Only the left has the playing field while conservatives grind their teeth on the sidelines. Hedge fund managers who control charter schools versus union-backed majorities on school boards? Where’s the choice? If you want to understand how the war is going, read about the battle for Bridgeport, Connecticut. This is the kind of education reform taking place across the country; and it’s not helping teachers, students, parents or principals who have skin in the game.
Recently StudentsFirst sent out a letter stating Missouri received a “D” ranking according to StudentsFirst’s measurements. It had its recommendations on how:
Why is Michelle Rhee’s organization dictating how districts should evaluate their employees, what choices parents/school boards should be making for children in their districts and how state government should be directing funding to educational programs? Does StudentsFirst’s attempts to correct Missouri’s educational deficiencies (as it ranks them) reduce federal control and spending? Do these attempts really create choice or just more public/private partnerships under the ruse of competition? Ask yourself, what does this private organization have to gain from the changes it wants to see in Missouri….and other states? Is it really “for the kids”?
Governor Romney’s education plan emerged on Wednesday, May 23rd. Governor Romney has a real opportunity to provide bold leadership on the topic of education reform, but the reality is he is going to stick to the same status quo approach of the past 40 years. Real reform involves trusting the states to make their own choices with regards to education, but the elitists in the Republican party would not dare attempt that approach. Real reform involves abolishing the Federal Department of Education, but that was once heard from that crazy, right-wing-zealot Ronald Reagan. Below is an excellent piece from Neal McCluskey over at Cato.org that we thought very worthy of cross-posting. It sums up the disappointment in the Romney education plan quite nicely.
In a speech today, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will lay out the foundations of his education platform. Based on an outline of his proposals released byEducation Week this morning, Gov. Romney seems just a little less disinterested in the Constitution — and the 40-plus years of proven federal education failure – than the man he seeks to replace. And no, calling what you want federal “incentives” neither absolves them of being unacceptable federal intrusions, nor makes them any less coercive.
The heart of what Mr. Romney wants in elementary and secondary education is federal enticements to get states to implement everything from “open-enrollment” policies for schools, to individual school “report cards,” to encouraging “talented individuals to become teachers.”
As I wrote last week, while “incentive” sounds kinda harmless, an incentive program is really all that No Child Left Behind is. No state has to do anything in NCLB. It only has to follow the law if it wants the federal money attached to it. The funding is only an incentive, but it is so big an incentive it is irresistible, even with the law being a huge millstone around the neck of American education. And, of course, taxpayers had no choice about furnishing the ducats to begin with. (Well, I suppose they were incentivized by a trip to prison…)
Where Romney’s K-12 offering is most enticing is his proposal that federal money be attached to low-income and special-needs children and made portable even to private schools. (Portable, that is, “in accordance with state guidelines,” a proviso the outline doesn’t flesh out.) But the very real threat, as with all federal funding , is federal control. What Washington funds it will regulate — though usually for political show, not efficiency or effectiveness — and that is something we should strenuously avoid for private schools when states can implement more varied — and less regulation prone — choice mechanisms such as education tax credits. And, of course, the Constitution gives the federal government no more authority to deliver school choice than to dictate curricula. That is, except in Washington itself, and to his credit Mr. Romney is proposing to save the D.C. voucher program that Mr. Obama, for whatever shoddy reason, seems determined to suffocate.
The good news about Gov. Romney’s outline is that it directly addresses the primary problem in higher education, and one of its primary causes: insane tuition inflation fueled by massive federal student aid. Indeed, though he will no doubt get flayed for it by the higher ed establishment, who will publically deny it like so many naked emperors, Mr. Romney’s outline is refreshingly straightforward in identifying the root problem:
Governor Romney realizes that more spending will not solve the problem of tuition increases – to the contrary, it has helped fuel the problem. When Washington puts more money into student aid programs to help families and individuals pay for higher education, colleges and universities raise tuition rates.
So what grade does Mr. Romney get on education, at least from this initial outline? About a 30 percent for K-12, and a 90 percent for higher ed. That works out to 60 percent — a woeful D-minus – but that’s probably a tad bit better than most presidents would have gotten since the 1960s.
Conservative Teachers of America would like to congratulate Senator Santorum for his victory in two caucuses and the non-binding primary in the state of Missouri.
It is our hope Senator Santorum begins to discuss the issue of education more as this process unfolds. His website is a little vague on the issue. We know that Senator Santorum supported the failed No Child Left Behind “reforms” that have done little to help our schools and educators around the nation. A true conservative should support the removal of Washington bureaucratic control of our classrooms. We also would like to see a candidate that sheds more light on Common Core standards. We appreciate the fact that Senator Santorum does state that Common Core Standards should not be forced upon people.
“Education reform” is kind of like a football. Whoever is in the majority in the congress can be seen as having possession of the football. Right now it’s the Republicans in the House of Representatives. And as “education reform” usually goes, the Republicans have decided that the only thing important is scoring a touchdown, in this case that means passing something that shows they do not hate children, or something. The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act can be seen as the most recent play in that football game. We here at CTA are conservatives and believe that the Federal government ought to get out of education. Many Republicans believe this, or at least it seems they do as long as they are running for office, once they are in Washington it is “put me in coach, I’m ready to play!” Republicans claim they love the constitution, maybe for once on the issue of education they could start acting like it. Instead they come up with proposals that continue to tell the states what and how on the issue of education. See for yourself:
We came across this article on a Maryland county school system (Montgomery County Schools) that has hit on a performance review system that seems to work. The teacher union is even on board, which is a miracle in and of itself.
This article also demonstrates how the Federal Department of Education hampers and harms districts that want to innovate. This school district sends 84% on to college, and accounts for 2.5% of the black population in America that passes the Advanced Placement test. The problem? They weren’t eligible for Race to the Top funds because the brilliant minds at the Federal Department of Education have determined that review systems must include a data component. This system doesn’t, and while we are somewhat friendly to the concept of merit pay, it’s not proven, yet. This system works, WITHOUT merit pay and they are being punished because they’re not doing it the way the Federal Department of Education says.
This should come as no shock to anyone that knows anything about Arne Duncan, our current Secretary of Education. Mr. Duncan never taught a day in his life, has no degree in education, was never an administrator, and has no degree in educational administration. It continues to amaze me how people listen to this clown. Maybe our next President can choose a PTA President for Secretary of Education.
It’s examples like these that demonstrate top-down educational policy from Washington, DC is the PROBLEM. We here at CTA believe that the Congress in Washington should end the Federal Department of Education, and at the very least we should gut it and severely limit it’s ability to dictate educational policy to the states.
Recently, a member of our Facebook page posted something that we thought worth sharing. There is much talk about merit pay in our schools. Conservative Teachers of America has not developed an official position statement on the issue of merit pay we can see a place for it, we would like to express caution when implementing these systems. One of the biggest issues is that many of these systems hold teachers solely accountable, not administrators. It takes the whole school and administrators are just as responsible for creating a safe learning environment as a teacher is. A second major problem with merit pay, is the merit component is often tied to a standardized state test. To truly measure student growth by one performance event, on one day, is not the best way to measure learning. No merit pay system should be constructed with the data element becoming a dominant component in the performance review.
Below is a note on this matter from Advocates for Academic Freedom.
Teachers are facing inevitable accountability programs. It is time that we unite to assure that teachers are not held solely accountable for the problems facing their profession.
The May 18, 2011, issue of the Rice Lake, Wisconsin Chronotype article “Schools beleaguered by retaliation” records the observations of Team Works International, an impartial third party hired to identify the problems facing the district. A few of the problems identified were:
- Inconsistency among administration
- Absence of clear directives, administrative oversight and accountability
- Excessive administrative “ command and control”
- Absence of creativity and too much compliance
- Cronyism and manipulation of the system
- Punishment for teachers who “speak up” at meetings
Unfortunately, the problems identified in the Rice Lake School District are present in many American school districts and represent the reasons pilot programs for merit pay and accountability programs have always failed. More information is available at Advocates for Academic Freedom (AAF) http://advocatesforacademicfreedom.org/
Thanks to our friends over at Missouri Education Watchdog for this piece.
Remember the Pac-Man game? It introduced Americans to video games, replacing arcade games such as pinball, foosball and skeeball. What’s the difference between current video games and the old fashioned mechanical games?
Video games are computerized and do not having moving parts, such as balls or pucks. Everything is contained in a screen and the movement is a blip. You are controlling the movement but it’s more of a passive control and takes only fingers on a stick or pad to create movement. Physical movement is minimal in video games; the game itself is in a screen, rather than involving balls and a person directing that move in an overtly physical manner. Video games perhaps could be considered activity through a simulation setting vs actual physical action.
Is that what is happening in education? The taxpayers, parents and students have for quite some time been in a simulated educational program. Taxes have been paid into a system in which taxpayers have little to no voice and minimal effect. Parents can complain about objectionable material taught to their students but since it is set by the state and not the district, these objections are often futile for change. Students are taught to the test so the school won’t lose funding and the real goal of education is whittled down to basic test questions. School “reform” options are crafted by lobbying groups and PACs, not the local communities in which they are located.
Teachers, administrators, superintendents and state educational agencies discover they are further drawn into the simulation of education. Their hands are tied by No Child Left Behind, students are not tested or taught to as individuals, rather as subsets, and federal regulations strangle innovation. Throw Common Core standards (heavily funded by Bill Gates) into this equation, and the perfect video game of public education emerges.
Bill Gates has become the Pac-Man of the United States Public Education system!
Hey everyone. I’ve just posted my latest project called Pac-MANager (which moves Bill Gates around as Pac-Man as he tries to “eat up” the competition) on PSC, which includes a lot of stuff that different people on this forum helped me with — thanks all!
Back then Gates was eating up business competition. Now he is eating the traditional stakeholders in education: students, parents, taxpayers, school districts, etc. that he considers competition to his educational vision. How is Gates sating his appetite for educational control?
We and other bloggers have been writing about Gates’ idea of philanthropy. Unlike previous philanthropists, these new philanthropists drive the reform, rather than leaving organizations to do so. The New York Times published findings from a graduate student who has studied how Gates is taking over education:
For years, Bill Gates focused his education philanthropy on overhauling large schools and opening small ones. His new strategy is more ambitious: overhauling the nation’s education policies. To that end, the foundation is financing educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies on issues like the seniority system and the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.
In some cases, Mr. Gates is creating entirely new advocacy groups. The foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.
Bill Gates is not stingy with his money and the vast amount given to various entities buy acquiescence for his vision:
The foundation spent $373 million on education in 2009, the latest year for which its tax returns are available, and devoted $78 million to advocacy — quadruple the amount spent on advocacy in 2005. Over the next five or six years, Mr. Golston said, the foundation expects to pour $3.5 billion more into education, up to 15 percent of it on advocacy.
Given the scale and scope of the largess, some worry that the foundation’s assertive philanthropy is squelching independent thought, while others express concerns about transparency. Few policy makers, reporters or members of the public who encounter advocates like Teach Plus or pundits like Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute realize they are underwritten by the foundation.
“It’s Orwellian in the sense that through this vast funding they start to control even how we tacitly think about the problems facing public education,” said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who said he received no financing from the foundation. (emphasis added)
What does this vast amount of money buy?
The foundation paid a New York philanthropic advisory firm $3.5 million “to mount and support public education and advocacy campaigns.” It also paid a string of universities to support pieces of the Gates agenda. Harvard, for instance, got $3.5 million to place “strategic data fellows” who could act as “entrepreneurial change agents” in school districts in Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere. The foundation has given to the two national teachers’ unions — as well to groups whose mission seems to be to criticize them.
“It’s easier to name which groups Gates doesn’t support than to list all of those they do, because it’s just so overwhelming,” noted Ken Libby, a graduate student who has pored over the foundation’s tax filings as part of his academic work.
What might be an effective method to demonize teacher unions?
While the foundation has given money to both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, totaling about $6.3 million over the last three years, some of its newer initiatives appear aimed at challenging the dominance that unions have exercised during policy debates. Last year, Mr. Gates spent $2 million on a “social action” campaign focused on the film “Waiting for ‘Superman,’ ” which demonized Randi Weingarten, the president of the federation.
“Waiting for Superman” and screenings for legislators were concerns we wrote about in this past legislative session and the multi-million dollars poured into the school choice movement. “Waiting for Superman” was touted as a grassroots movie, but the mass infusion of cash and influence is far removed from grassroots philosophy. Most of the grassroots comments from various blogs about “education reform” mention the desire to abolish the Department of Education and not so much about charters, trigger options and the redistribution of teachers. The movie and school choice movement have been shown to be a carefully orchestrated public relations move:
A document describing plans for the group, posted on a Washington Post blog in March, said it would mobilize local advocates, “establish strong ties to local journalists” and should “go toe to toe” with union officials in explaining contracts and state laws to the public.
But to avoid being labeled a “tool of the foundation,” the document said the group should “maintain a low public profile.”
The Gates Foundation has been exposed for what it is: a version of the Pac-Man game eating all the unnecessary and cumbersome stakeholders in its way for the quest of remaking the United States educational system:
Gates Memo to Support “Race to the Top”
Note that Gates tells applicants what questions will be asked–and what the answers must be. This is their view of education in a nutshell.
The Gates Foundation had already handpicked 15 states to receive $250,000 each to help them apply for Race to the Top funds: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Now, probably because of whining of “unfair,” they’re offering a bone to the other 35 states –if they can answer “Yes, master,” enough times.
See the Gates memo here.
September 23, 2009
This is how our government is operating. It used to be tycoons like Gates wanted to eat their business competition for a larger piece of the business pie; now they want to control the government in which they operate. This is a Pac-man version of our constitutional right to self-govern being eaten up by special interests. Taxpayers have been co-opted in the past by educational unions (even the retiring NEA counsel states it’s not for the children or because it has a vision for great public education for every child) and now it’s Bill Gates and his funding of think tanks, professors, software companies, governors and even the Department of Education. Watch this video by retiring NEA counsel Bob Chanin, and substitute Gates’ names and organizations he’s funded:
The United States Public Education System has become one big huge power grab by special interests such as the Federal Government (isn’t this interesting how it has become a special interest), the unions and the corporations. In the meantime, the student, taxpayer and parents are not receiving a quality education focused on education and use of these taxes is not free of these special interests. Education is centered not so much on teaching sound educational material; rather, much of education today teaches politically correct theories and is delivered in a way that will make hedge funders, venture capitalists, and technology companies quite wealthy.
This is a great history lesson on how not to let control of your local school district be given to a state agency, then a federal agency and then to a consortia controlled by Gates money. Stop the money train to all these organizations (government, union and private), bring it down to the local level (where it belongs) and then maybe, just maybe, the dialogue can begin about authentic educational reform.
Governor Daniels speaks on education reforms in his state. Many new and good ideas here. We think it important to point out two things. First, Mr. Daniels speaks positively of Arne Duncan. No self-respecting educator should listen to this man, he knows little about education and has no experience other than a short stint as head of the entire Chicago Public School System. Second, Governor Daniels seems to be OK with the Federal Department of Education. We here at CTA are not, and no constitution loving conservative should be.