Every Child Deserves a Great Education
Home

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’


Badass Teachers protest the Gates Foundation — Photo Essay 0

Posted on June 29, 2014 by dmayer

 photo IMG_0313_zps85a42cc9.jpg

“The Rally to Educate the Gates Foundation” in Seattle, Washington and is sponsored by Badass Teachers Association (WA-BATS), a grassroots group of career educators defending our public education system from private interest groups, on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Westlake Park, 401 Pine St, Seattle.

 photo IMG_0320_zpse0244220.jpg

The first 45 minutes of the rally features speakers including Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and UW Associate Professor Wayne Au.

 photo 4b533e6c-817d-4aa4-a00b-4577b6fe8031_zps48767ecd.jpg

Deb Mayer, Catherine Carroll, Kris Alman, Anthony Cody, and Kathleen Jeskey join Washington teachers and activist to bring some badass action to protest the Gates Foundation’s shady involvement in privatizing our public schools. Our schools are not for sale.

 photo a26feb36-5989-4eae-8544-60945deb9735_zpsaf211a82.jpg

Catherine Carroll wants to teach the whole child. She objects to scripted curriculum, inappropriate standards, fake TFA-type teachers, phony education nonprofits, high-stakes standardized tests, and billionaires scheming to privatize our public schools.

 photo IMG_0314_zpsf596e4dc.jpg

Parents object to the corporate insistence on RIGOR in the classroom, the emphasis on standardized testing in reading and math at the expense of art, music, P.E. and library.

 photo IMG_0327_zps81ebbda8.jpg

The “Corporate Vulture” casts a pall on equitable public schools for all.

 photo IMG_0328_zpsfbb2d1df.jpg

Seattle’s finest escort education advocates from Westlake Park to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 photo IMG_0331_zps55f847f3.jpg

WA-BATS refuse to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality and refuse to accept tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.

 photo IMG_0349_zps5fb75baa.jpg

WA BATS demand that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from their education agenda which includes: Over Testing, Race To The Top, Teach For America, Ignoring Poverty, Class Size Increases, Charter Schools, Big Data-Piracy or Sharing, Union Busting, Narrowing Curriculum, Ignoring Parent Voice, Value Added Measures, Appointed School Boards, Privatizing Public Schools, Replacing Teachers With Screens, For-profit Business Model Policy, Tying Funding to Test Scores, Outsourcing to Private Vendors, Treating Kids Like Widgets, High Stakes Testing & Common Core State Standards.

 photo IMG_0333_zps4153e74b.jpg

Rally Attendees Say YES TO: Parent & Educator Voice! Creativity! Small Class Sizes! Civics! Science! Music! Art! Drama! Physical Education! Parent Involvement! Libraries! Counselors! Experienced Teachers! Learning Through Play! Project Based Learning! Learning Support Staff! Adequate Compensation! Democratic Governance of Schools! Relevant Educator Training! Less Testing and More Learning! Transparent Decision Making! Equitable Funding For Every Child! Recognizing Each Student’s Potential! Culturally & Developmentally Responsive Curriculum! “

 photo IMG_0329_zps6e2af6af.jpg

In 2014 political power resides in monetary wealth and public policy is being determined by the mega-rich not the expert practicioner-in many professions. No one is asking teachers what schools need.

 photo 811f3a5e-4244-42c0-a1d0-c0e1e7e43b14_zps5784ca2b.jpg

Among the Speakers at the Gates Foundation site were Susan DuFresne, Co-Author of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue, and Peggy Robertson of United Opt Out.

 photo IMG_0353_zpscf0b3d6b.jpg

Teachers are told that they don’t have high enough expectations for kids. This is ludicrous. Our governing system is becoming undemocratic but worse it IS harming children who need a wholistic classroom experience beyond test scores.

 photo IMG_0351_zps6ca2dc7e.jpg

The Gates Foundation must accept that teachers are more than software; that learning is individualized; and that education is a public endeavor.

 photo IMG_0344_zps59a7f665.jpg

Excellent public schools are the cornerstone of a free society: big money is buying the education agenda. People must stand up to this oligarchical shift and reclaim public schools with the whole child at the center.

Business reformers need to spread their expertise in places where they know what they are talking about. Teachers are experts when it comes to student learning. Ask us what kids need to thrive and learn. We are happy to tell you.

We’re not going to take it anymore!

Anthony Cody at the Educating Gates Rally, Seattle from Schoolhouse Live on Vimeo.

 photo bampmG_zpsdeb80a24.jpg

Thanks to Julianna Dauble, Renton teacher and Rally Organizer, for a great job organizing this event and for help with this commentary.

TFA = SCAB 0

Posted on May 05, 2014 by dmayer

 photo TFA2014_zpsa833bf15.jpg

Teach for America, Inc. is asking the chosen ones — those who have been accepted into the 2014 Corps — to change their Facebook profile pictures to one that espouses their newfound status. If TFA recruits are still burying their heads in the sand to shelter themselves from the true motives of Teach for America, I offer them a heads-up. There is not teacher shortage. Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of teachers have lost their jobs. In pursuing a position with Teach for America, you are depriving a teacher of a job. You are depriving students of a professionally licensed teacher.

Teach for America is all about teacher bashing and union busting. The end game is the privatization of our public schools. If you are still naive enough to believe that by joining Teach for America your are giving back, that your are righting a social injustice, that you are benefitting poor minority children, I implore you to wrest your head from beneath the sand. Change your Facebook photo to this instead:

Teacher Against Teach for America FB page.

Standardized — The Movie 0

Posted on May 02, 2014 by dmayer

Portland area organizations are joining together to present Standardized. The movie is gaining attention around the nation as parents, teachers, students, and community members are becoming aware of the true cost of standardized testing. A national movement is growing to opt out of high stakes testing. A panel representing students, parents, and educators will answer questions following the screening. All are welcome.

You may reserve a ticket at Eventbrite.

Find a printable, interactive poster to share here: Standardized Poster

 photo Standardized2-page-0-2_zps7d2389bb.jpg

For decades, standardized testing has been a part of public education. Within the last ten years, however, education reform has promoted even more testing. Test scores, mistakenly viewed as effective assessments of student ability and teacher/school effectiveness, are anything but. STANDARDIZED sheds light on the invalid nature of these tests, the terrible consequences of high-stakes testing, and the big money that’s involved.

Teachers United Against Teach for America 0

Posted on April 26, 2014 by dmayer

Teach for America, Inc. is the flagship of the education reform movement. The organization replaces professional teachers with unqualified college grads in the classrooms of some of our nation’s most disadvantaged children. This practice harms students and the teaching profession. It must stop!

For years I have implored NEA to support a professional recruiting organization to rival Teach for America which is nothing more than a glorified temp agency with Billionaire Boy support. At the Network for Public Education conference in Austin, Texas, leaders of both unions, NEA and AFT, agreed to give the idea consideration. So far, I’ve heard nothing from either organization.

So, I’m starting without union support and asking for yours instead. You don’t have to be a teacher to join this group. Parents, students, and everyone who cares about education justice is welcome here! Please “like” our Teachers United Against Teach for America Facebook page as we expose the harm TFA does to kids, teachers, and schools. Follow our progress as teachers begin to stand up to the dastardly behemoth of an organization that poses as an advocate for poor minority children while robbing them of the education they deserve.

Common Core Resolution to PPS Board 0

Posted on April 18, 2014 by dmayer

Portland Public School board member Steve Buel presented a resolution citing concerns with the implementation of Common Core $tate $tandards at Wednesday night’s meeting. He called for a three-year moratorium much to the chagrin of presiding member Pam Knowles, but to the delight of a sizable contingent of the audience of parent, teachers, and students. After a verbal skirmish over the rules, Steve was permitted to read the resolution.

The resolution is the result of hundreds of hours of research by concerned members of the community who have noticed the effects of Common Core in New York and Kentucky. Members of Oregon Save Our Schools and Portland Association of Teachers met to flesh out the details of the resolution. Steve Buel and Aaron Smirl drafted the final version presented to the board. They welcome any and all concerned about the implementation of Common Core to use our resolution as a model to call for a moratorium. The text of the resolution:

RESOLUTION ON COMMON CORE AND PPS (April 16, 2014)

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed and promoted by two private membership organizations (The National Governor’s Association and The Council of Chief State School Officers), and by other organizations none of whom are connected with Portland Public Schools, and these organizations received millions of dollars from private third parties, philanthropies, and corporate interests to advocate for and develop CCSS for the benefit of corporations; and

Whereas, the corporate profit motives that drive the CCSS are often in direct conflict with good education and can work to the detriment of the children of Portland Public Schools; and

Whereas, the CCSS were developed and vetted by committees of individuals, almost none of whom were K-12 educators, through a process which was not subject to public scrutiny; and

Whereas, in our own state CCSS were adopted without open and transparent public scrutiny, and with minimal input by Oregon educators; and

Whereas, the implementation of CCSS and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing is a substantial financial burden on Portland Public Schools and Portland’s taxpayers; and

Whereas, CCSS have never been piloted, tested, or proven in any arena to increase student learning or prepare students for college, career or citizenship; and

Whereas, the funds spent to implement CCSS could be better used in well known, effective educational methods such as reducing class size, increasing reading support, adding programs such as the arts or CTE and alleviating the impacts of poverty on education; and

Whereas, high-stakes testing narrows the curriculum and emphasizes teaching to the test at the expense of other important educational topics and learning experiences; and

Whereas, there are serious questions about the validity of standardized testing to inform instruction, evaluate teachers or other educators, and measure the value of a specific school’s educational quality; and

Whereas, data collected under high-stakes testing has been shown to be vulnerable to misuse; and

Whereas,  the purpose of education is not solely preparation for college and career, but to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable as citizens of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives; and

Whereas, top down imposition of the CCSS adversely impacts students of highest need,  underserved students, emerging multilingual students, and special education students; and

Whereas, curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom and district professionals who understand the context and interests of their students; and

Whereas, the CCSS were developed mostly by non-practitioners, implemented too quickly, were not piloted correctly, and may not reflect the learning needs of many of our students; and

Whereas, significant time, effort, and expense associated with modifying our curricula to the CCSS takes precious resources away from meeting the actual needs of our students; and

Whereas, the Portland School Board and its Superintendent have a responsibility to make decisions which are in the best interests of its students

Be it therefore resolved PPS educators shall use the Common Core State Standards as only one factor among many in educating PPS students and put no more emphasis on these standards than other important educational factors, not listed in the standards, in an effort to make sure PPS students receive a comprehensive and well-rounded education.

Be it resolved district administrators and teachers take into account educational equity in implementing CCSS. This includes, but it not limited to, making sure students in all schools have nearly equal access to the following:

  • A broad range of educational offerings.
  • Access to courses outside of tested subjects which are both considered electives and/or part of a traditional education.
  • Appropriate testing practices which take into account the background of students including underserved students, special education students, ESL students, and poverty factors.
  • Equal testing support at each school where necessary.
  • Field trips, recreational activities, educational projects and other extra-curricular activities.
  • Parent communication regarding testing.
  • Computer access throughout the year.

Be it resolved money spent directly on CCSS shall be clearly identified in PPS budget documents.

Be it resolved money spent on CCSS and testing shall be carefully reviewed during the budget process by a committee which includes strong representation from parents, the community, and Portland Association of Teachers. This shall include money spent on testing materials, additional staff, additional computer equipment, professional development, and curricular materials.

Be it resolved all data generated by district response to CCSS shall meet a high standard of privacy.

Be it resolved CCSS shall not unnecessarily burden teachers with the following:

  • Inordinate amounts of professional development or training to implement the CCSS, both in amount of time spent and in overemphasizing CCSS professional development instead of other forms of professional development or classroom instruction.
  • Mandated use of CCSS curricular materials.
  • CCSS use by educators as a part of teacher evaluation or plans of assistance.
  • Use of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing as part of teacher evaluations unless specifically mandated by state law.
  • Time spent on identifying CCSS use in teacher’s lessons.
  • Required practice testing for district-wide testing.

Be it resolved PPS administration shall convene a committee to assess the validity of CCSS and their use within PPS. This committee will include strong representation from the PAT as well as PPS parents, students and community members. This committee will review and report on the following questions:

  • Are there standards which we believe are incorrect for PPS students?
  • How much of the time spent on teaching to the CCSS could be better spent on other educational endeavors and what guidelines should be developed?
  • How much instructional time should be dedicated to intervention programs and test preparation classes for students who do not meet the CCSS requirements on the SBAC?
  • Are there standards which are developmentally inappropriate?
  • Are there CCSS related decisions which are not helping the education of PPS students?
  • What testing procedures or protocol might create a validity problem for SBAC testing?
  • Is the administration promoting CCSS in a realistic manner, making claims which are backed by peer-reviewed research and experience in other states or locales?
  • What steps should PPS take in order to correct any validity problems?
  • What is the effect of high-stakes testing on children and what can be done to minimize any negative impacts?
  • Are restrictions on children brought about by their scores, or their school’s overall scores on high-stakes testing appropriate? (i.e. missed electives, missed recess, loss of extra-curricular activities)

Be it resolved PPS make a concerted effort to inform parents concerning PPS’s use of CCSS as well as their right to opt out of testing.

Be it resolved inordinate pressure to perform on CCSS testing shall not be placed upon students, teachers or administrators.

Be it resolved pedagogy responding to CCSS shall be based upon well established educational principles which do not include an overemphasis on scripted curriculum, one type of approach to educational problems such close reading or non-fiction, wholesale diminishment of literature, developmentally inappropriate instructional practices, inordinate importance placed on testing, or the narrowing of curriculum.

Be it resolved PPS shall take a legislative position which opposes state and federal mandates which require PPS to use testing to label schools, personnel, or students based on test scores, including the labeling of focus/priority schools and subsequent consequences for these schools.

Be it resolved PPS shall take a legislative position that the state should suspend the implementation of Common Core for a period of at least three years and until this untested mandate has received adequate research and been field-tested.

 

Teachers United Against Teach for America – Photos 0

Posted on February 25, 2014 by dmayer

 photo GATFAKING_zps3e2a323f.jpg

 photo be664b3e-6f22-46c2-9f68-c020165ad298_zpsddf73a0e.jpg

 photo GATFAHS_zps8abd2c41.jpg

 photo GATFASPECIAL_zpsfde40231.jpg

 photo GATFAHIDING_zps2ead93e5.jpg

 photo GATFABOYS_zpsf4fdf9d4.jpg

 photo GATFAPRES_zps57c648fe.jpg

 photo GATFABRO_zpse3b80d84.jpg

 photo GATFADUNCAN_zps91c5f3f9.jpg

 photo GATFAHEADDOWN_zpsc4b507ee.jpg

 photo GATFABOOK_zps34b8b8ab.jpg

 photo GATFAPRISON_zps56e5b880.jpg

 photo GATFAWALL_zps96824a2b.jpg

 

 photo GATFATEST_zps07930bb6.jpg

 photo TFAjpg_zpsc4d2e17f.jpg

 photo LearningonOtherPeoplesKids_zps03bf7cd8.jpg

 photo Ostrich_zpse5b573bf.jpg

 photo 9ed86a48-2580-4ea0-bd3f-74b48a6f84fd_zps021f3e01.jpg

 photo TFA2014_zpsa833bf15.jpg

If Bill Gates did this one thing, student test scores would soar 0

Posted on February 03, 2014 by dmayer

For decades Bill Gates and his billionaire buddies along with high ranking government officials have been “reforming” our public schools. They have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating charter and virtual schools, de-professionalizing teaching, manipulating standards and curriculum, eliminating libraries and art, music, and P.E. classes, promoting larger class sizes, and legislating policy initiatives that defund schools. Have these interventions produced higher scores on competitive tests and improved the education experience of students?  No.

Here’s a suggestion for Bill and his buddies who want to reform our public schools: FEED THE CHILDREN. Concentrating on this one thing would cause test scores to soar.

 photo foodscale_zps91155b79.jpg
Feeding students good food without unhealthy additives, preservatives, and fats leads to high achievement.

On January 30, 2014, America learned that, “Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.”

Apparently this is not the first time children at that school have been denied food because as school officials pointed out, “The children were given milk and fruit instead of a full lunch — the meal that the school says it gives any child who isn’t able to pay.”

This isn’t the first time a child has been denied food by school officials. Just a few months earlier, according to KTRK the same Dickensian behavior was witnessed in Dickinson (irony noted), Texas, “A 12-year-old Dickinson student’s breakfast was tossed in the trash, because his account was short by just 30 cents.” He didn’t ask for more; he just asked for some.  Even though children in America aren’t forced to work off their debts in poorhouses as English children were centuries ago, many students come from poor houses where scrounging up as little as 30 cents for a meal is often a struggle. As families are faced with food stamps cuts, they must spend more of their income for food at home.

Both schools defended their actions by hiding behind policy. One might wonder how many school districts have such policies and how many children across the nation go hungry each day because they can’t afford to pay for food at school. In this age of education reform, when a student’s fate rests on how high he or she scores on a standardized test, shouldn’t we insist that all students be fed and fed well? The inhumanity of this intervention is undeniable. Shouldn’t any intervention taken on by the school be one that leads to student success instead of failure? Suppose instead of denying students food, schools provided them with nutritious and delicious meals. Wouldn’t that make a difference in student achievement? Yes.

The ideas of Donella Meadows, known for Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System, are overlooked in today’s education reform climate. Education reformers prefer to replace the whole system with one of their own liking, one they can ultimately own. Reformers, who are not educators themselves, are prone to believe that scholarship is irrelevant to the education profession. Their process is to ignore tried and true strategies that work, and instead to propose a hodgepodge of punitive initiatives using students, teachers, and even entire schools as guinea pigs while they determine which ideas are most profitable for them.

If sustained high student achievement is in fact the goal of true education reform, feeding children nutritious meals at school might be considered a small shift that could produce big changes. According to Meadows:

Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in “leverage points.” These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.

Leverage points and interventions are ignored by reformers who insist, without a shred of credible evidence, that teacher quality as measured by student standardized test scores is the sole valid indicator of learning at school. The agenda and policy set by wealthy non-educators and government officials is so narrowly focused on the teacher/test correlation that it eliminates consideration of all other small interventions that might produce huge positive results, the nutrition – hunger/achievement correlation for example.

Fortunately for us, a study measuring the effects of a nutritious diet on student achievement has already been conducted. Before holding-teachers-accountable-for-every-single-ailment-of-our-education-system became fashionable, school districts experimented (in the true sense of the word) to find data to support the hypothesis that poverty and achievement are related. It’s hard to believe that just 30-some short years ago we cared enough about kids to try a jaw-droppingly innovative experiment like this one. Even though it was conducted some three decades ago, the results are every bit as valid today as they were then.

According to the New York Times, the experiment was initiated as a result of a lawsuit filed in 1978:

A settlement has been been reached in a three-year-old class action suit brought by Consumers Union in an effort to force the City of New York to improve the nutritional quality of its school lunch program. In light of the Reagan Administration’s recent proposals to lower the requirements for the national school lunch program and the improvements already made in the city’s program, however, the settlement may be moot.

The suit, based on a 1978 audit conducted by the General Accounting Office, found that 40 percent of the lunches served did not provide adequate amounts of food or the variety required by law.

Elizabeth Cagan, director of the Board of Education’s Office of School Food Service had already joined together with researcher Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler on The Impact of a Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools to determined the effects of a healthy diet on student achievement.

In the spring of 1979, New York City’s public schools ranked in the 39th percentile on standardized California Achievement Test scores given nationwide. That means that 61 percent of the nation’s public schools scored higher. They had been in the lower half of the country for years. However, for a few years in the 1980s, these same 803 schools ranked in the upper half of the nation’s schools. They went from 11% below the national average to 5% above it. What happened?

The introduction of policy based on the Feingold diet which lowered sucrose, synthetic food color/flavors, and two preservatives (BHA and BHT) over 4 years in 803 public schools was followed by a 15.7% increase in mean academic percentile ranking above the rest of the nation’s schools who used the same standardized tests. Prior to the 15.7% gain, the standard deviation of the annual change in nation percentile rating had been less than 1%.

All schools and all children showed improvement, but not all children made a 16% improvement. Rather, the lowest achievers improved the most. That bears repeating: the lowest achievers improved more than the mean average of 16%. The children who had not been helped by any other intervention improved the most. Incredible, but true! Literally a recipe for success! (Click here for a clearer image of the graph below.)

Feingold Diet and CAT Scores photo FG3_zps570a533a.jpg

So, what happened next? Why did the high test scores last for only four years? The reforms instituted by Cagan were not preserved. Soon the improvements made in the NYC lunch menu were altered to again include foods with unhealthy sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, food dyes, and fats. Children stopped eating or ate the cheap, poor quality food. Test scores dropped. Cagan’s tenure at NCY Food Services is a testament to the difference one person can make in the lives of millions. That her legacy was not preserved is a travesty for the children of New York City.

So, Bill Gates, and you, too Arne Duncan, I challenge you to a noble experiment. Feed the children. No more harmful sugar additives, flavors, food dyes, preservatives, or fats. None of that genetically modified stuff, either. Feed the children well, and they will achieve more, much more. This must be a nationwide systemic intervention, not a competition where some kids get good food and some kids don’t.  This isn’t The Hunger Games, after all, and besides, we can afford it. Feed all the children well. Then, install safeguards to keep  this fine intervention in place for years to come. Your goal of improving education will be a successful and sustainable one!

Don’t know how to get started? The Feingold Association is an all volunteer organization that offers nutrition education about healthy eating. If you watch nothing else, view the slide show, LET’S DO LUNCH! It seems to have been prepared especially with you in mind. Watch the whole thing — it’s long but worth it. Then, view the videos below. I’m sure you can take it from there. Let me know if you need help. I know of about three million others who will be happy to assist. And, after the Feed the Children Well project is up and running, we have some other suggestions for you.

Photo Essay: OSOS invites OBA to “The People’s Table” 0

Posted on October 20, 2013 by dmayer

If there was ever any doubt about the cozy ties between the Oregon Business Alliance and Stand for Children, this event should remove any uncertainty. Stand for Children, once considered a real grassroots education advocacy group, has fallen prey to corporate predators that offer big bucks in exchange for legislative support on education policy. On October 17th, while Stand president Sue Levin was being recognized for her work and leadership throughout the session around PERS and revenue reform in a herculean effort to ensure a bright future for Oregon’s children, Oregon Save our Schools was hosting a dinner of its own. The menu at the people’s table included funding for more teachers, lower class sizes, libraries, art, and music. High-stakes tests were not on the menu.

Everyone is welcome at the people’s table.

 photo a3b083c8-5125-4bf4-9072-1ee9b20427d2_zps6a1d083d.jpg

Portland parent Susan Barrett recalls her experience as a member of Stand for Children before realizing she was being used by the organization.
 photo dbd36dc7-3a64-4ccd-8080-c7cbc89faf42_zps5bfd5714.jpg

The People’s Table
 photo IMG_0022_zps98da52b6.jpg

Steve Buel & Duncan Decker address a pro public school crowd at the OBA Statesman Dinner (parody and play)

Ahjamu Umi – Get yourself into a social justice organization

Elijah – Cleveland High School Chapter Member of the Portland Student Union

Emily Crum, teacher and event organizer, invites everyone to join us at the people’s table.

 photo 24197275-47a4-4c7d-bfee-95e1d537e441_zps530416a6.jpg

 photo 908130c1-4344-4d4a-a221-09b192fc7b78_zps15ae4035.jpg

 photo IMG_0015_zps0c49f630.jpg

 photo 4ca832b4-5c9d-4aca-aa3a-0017a5f1ee23_zps47d82198.jpg

 photo c08be568-ecb7-44a4-ba21-fa6ecdea5f6c_zps673ca83a.jpg

 photo 6a2e3662-48ae-40cc-b310-7c0701ca3e98_zps89a9d502.jpg

 photo IMG_0017_zps684f47cf.jpg

 photo IMG_0016_zps1b457341.jpg

 photo IMG_0018_zps840bed0b.jpg

 photo IMG_0020_zps4056eb5b.jpg

 photo IMG_0027_zps87e47abc.jpg

 photo IMG_0021_zps526c79e1.jpg

People’s Table Protest Rally

Go Away and Stay Away TFA! 0

Posted on September 22, 2013 by dmayer

Teach for America, Inc. is the flagship of the education reform movement. The organization replaces professional teachers with unqualified college grads in the classrooms of some of our nation’s most disadvantaged children. This practice harms students and the teaching profession. It must stop!

To read more about what people are saying about Teach for America, check out our EdWatch page.

“Bennett” redefines “reform” 0

Posted on August 02, 2013 by dmayer

 photo b7c140fa-9934-45c3-8e24-4b07f7d7d920_zps3d530757.jpg

Today I received an e-mail from my mentor, retired Indiana University – Purdue University (IUPUI) Professor of Science Education, Michael Cohen, about his long time nemesis, Tony Bennett, former Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Today Bennett resigned his position as Florida’s education commissioner amid scandal. He is accused of falsifying data to enhance the performance of his favored charter school. Still, professor Cohen is trying to have a sense of humor about it, but it’s tough. He writes:

We now have a new word in the English language.

To Bennett: (usually a verb). Named after Tony Bennett former Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana and Florida and also William Bennett (no relation to Tony) who was President Reagan’s Secretary of Education.

Definition: A verb meaning to manipulate data to prove your conclusion regardless of the evidence. Always done with a serious expression, a forceful position, and stated in terms of an emergency of impending catastrophe. Also used as bennetting to describe the process used to fabricate evidence to prove any point you want.

A bennetter is one who bennetts by only selecting data to prove their point and leaves out other critical factors that would contradict their position. Never provides the total picture.

There are many related words such as bennettazation, creating a system that fixes the results to provide only answers you agree with. See also bennettary, bennettology, and many, many more.

He adds with anger and angst that we all share:

But in reality it is a tragedy. Look at all the time wasted, kids and teachers hurt, parents being pushed into worrying they would make the wrong decision, time not spent on real development (rather than reform), schools stigmatized, money wasted, major changes created that cannot be undone, and probably lots of other things I can’t think of right now.

It’s a great example of the old saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Bennett used a little knowledge and lots of people followed him – from the State Board of Education and the Educational Roundtable, to school districts, individual schools, and individual teachers, students, and parents. And those who questioned the process (questioned Bennett or any reformers) were discounted as wanting to keep the “Status Quo.” It was a take no prisoners response to any suggestion that Bennett and his ilk might not be exactly correct.

Personally, I am mourning the loss of the Key Learning Community which had so many interesting and unique ways to look at schooling, not the least of which was that a school is a research institution and is always looking at ways to improve the learning and growing environment for students, teachers, and parents.

So we have to learn from this experience and figure how to go forward with real innovations.

Michael

Key Learning Community, where I once taught, is (was) quite possibly the most wonderful public school ever visualized and realized by a small group of innovative teachers. The “reformers” killed it.

(Michael’s comments published with permission.)