Saturday, January 23, 2016

First Step on the Charter Road to Corporatized Schools

Because first you have to conjure up some data showing that the public school system, with its public school teachers and local parent oversight doesn't work.

And you call it "streamlining the accountability system."

Valarie Honeycutt-Spears at the Herald:

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said Thursday that the state’s accountability system will be streamlined within the next 18 months and that he wanted everyone’s help.

The state’s assessment and accountability system is designed to provide information about the performance of students, schools and districts. Kentucky’s public school students participate in annual testing, and the results of those tests are included in the state’s accountability system for schools and districts.
Meanwhile, Bevin has probably already written the charter no-bid contracts and picked out the corporations who will provide half the education at twice the price.
Bevin is a supporter of charter schools, most recently pledging in his inaugural address to push charter school legislation as a way to give parents and students alternatives to failing schools. Earlier this month, Bevin also appointed longtime charter school advocate Hal Heiner as the secretary of his Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Outside the center, an “ad hoc” group of about 25 educators and other citizens rallied to express concerns that charter schools will siphon resources away from traditional public schools and circumvent the transparency expected of public schools. Chris Harmer, who is a member of interfaith group Fellowship of Reconciliation and has worked with the Ditch the Gap Coalition, said several protesters tried to enter the event but were escorted out.

When asked about this during a press conference following the meeting with pastors, Bevin said the event was a public meeting, as far as he knew, and had not heard of anyone being turned away.

However, Bevin was critical of those who opposed charter schools, specifically calling out the Kentucky Education Association and the Jefferson County Teachers Association as caring more about “maintaining control of power” than “doing right by our children.”

“We deserve better than that,” he said. “And our children deserve better than that.”
Really, motherfucker?  First of all, it's not your children who are going to be sent to corporate obedience camps and trained to be good workers.  It's not your children who are going to be left behind in crumbling public schools, crammed 60 to a class with a single "teacher" making minimum wage.

The cure for failing schools is money, you moron.  Not just money for the schools but money for families to alleviate the poverty that bars children from learning.

It’s hardly surprising that a leading factor in how well students do in the classroom is their home life. Are they homeless? Are they a victim of abuse? Are their parents working three jobs in order to keep a roof over their heads? Of course these questions (or at least the first and third) reflect divisions within class and race. But education reform advocates paper all this over. They focus on attacking teacher unions for getting in ways of their scams to profit off of education by blaming them for these underperforming students. But of course the education reform people have absolutely no solutions to these problems. And by talking about students’ “grit” to get an education as a factor and noting that poor students and students of color lack this “grit,” they are just naturalizing racial and class inequality to serve their own agenda.
So, what are those challenges? If a hypothetical classroom of 30 children were based on current demographics in the United States, this is how the students in that classroom would live: Seven would live in poverty, 11 would be non-white, six wouldn’t speak English as a first language, six wouldn’t be reared by their biological parents, one would be homeless, and six would be victims of abuse.
Howard said that exposure to trauma has a profound impact on cognitive development and academic outcomes, and schools and teachers are woefully unprepared to contend with these realities. Children dealing with traumatic situations should not been seen as pathological, he argued. Instead, educators need to recognize the resilience they are showing already. The instruments and surveys that have been used to measure social-emotional skills such as persistence and grit have not taken into account these factors, Howard said.
He questioned the tools used to collect data that suggest poor students and students of color do not have as high a degree of grit as middle-class and white peers.
The transformative potential in growth mindsets and social-emotional skills such as grit may be more applicable to students whose basic needs are already met. When asking the question of why some children succeed in school and others don’t, he said the educators and administrators tend to overestimate the power of the person and underestimate the power of the situation.
Underestimating what is inconvenient for the Rheeist agenda is something these people do all the time. It’s also why education reform is no solution at all to any of these problems. If you want to fix education, fix poverty. That’s the number one thing we can do. Programs like Head Start have done far more than anything Michelle Rhee or Campbell Brown or Scott Cowen will ever do. That’s what we need more of–direct interventions to alleviate poverty. But since there’s no profit to be made off of it, it doesn’t happen.

Read more here:

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