Thursday, January 29, 2009

Klein's True Colors Shining Through

Over at Gotham Schools is a notable quote from Joel Klein, Chancellor of NYC Public Schools. He had the following to say in regard to the possible layoff of 15,000 school-based staff, including teachers, if Governor Paterson’s proposed state budget is passed:

We don't want to lose personnel. PARTICULARLY, we don't want to lose YOUNG TALENTED PEOPLE that we've recruited in recent years. (CAPS added for emphasis)
Apparently, EXPERIENCED TALENTED PEOPLE are of lesser use in the corporate scheme of things. Far easier to manipulate naive young recruits.

As Elizabeth Green notes at Gotham Schools, if teacher layoffs happen, the least experienced teachers would be the first to lose their jobs, according to provisions in the teacher contract.

I would not take joy in seeing anyone have to lose their job, but Klein's words are so telling that they are embarrassing. Heaven forbid that teachers with the most experience and teachers who commit for a lifetime should not be the first to go. Beyond the catastrophically narrow-minded and destructive obsession with testing, there is much to be said for longevity and commitment over PR hype and resume building.

But career teachers are a stumbling block to the continued undermining of public education. They cost too much. They know that the scourge of high-stakes testing being imposed in our schools is dumbing down future citizens. They know it is a practice which literally invites the corruption and gaming that is taking place in our big city schools under mayoral dictatorship. And let's do call it that, for that is what it is.

It's all about money, power, and control. Not children. As ever, education on the cheap for poor kids. Pump up test scores, claim victory for poor children, and an ill-informed public won't be a penny the wiser. Except the public IS getting wiser, despite mainstream media's long history of complicity in either serving as a mouthpiece for edu-biz propaganda or ignoring the war on public education altogether.

The Perimeter Primate, a parent activist who sees the Big Picture, translates Klein's agenda well in her excellent post here. I'll post a snip below but I encourage you to read her entire post.

The scheme now being steadily employed by inner-city school districts across the nation is to replace as many of their career teachers as possible with 22-year-old teaching “temps.” These energetic, young, recent college graduates have a do-gooder mentality and are willing to work in the worst inner-city school situations for very little pay. It is also beneficial to school districts that these fill-ins are green to the world of work and have zero family obligations. Those qualities, and being able to constantly take comfort in knowing they are short-timers, means that they don't tend to get agitated and complain...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Look Out Arne Duncan!

Dare I say it? May the floodgates open! There is hope. Grassroots resistance and organizing by the parents, students, and teachers in communities actually affected by the corporate hijacking of public education. Don't miss this video about resistance to Renaissance 2010 in Chicago:

What an embarrassment this should be to the Mainstream Media mouthpieces for the corporate education agenda.

Bravo to PURE, Parents United for Responsible Education and other citizen, teacher, and student activists in Chicago.

You can also find much about the degradation of Chicago schools at the Substance website.

Spread the word.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bush Defends Education Legacy

The Associated Truth in Parody Press
For Release Right Away

As he prepares to leave office, President Bush responded patiently and without
condescension today to reports of the growing and widspread consensus among the nation's 3.5 million incompetent teachers, the nation's most highly disregarded educational researchers and psychometricians, and growing masses of shallow citizens, that the "misuse" of standardized testing is catastrophically narrow-minded, inhumane, and counterproductive. Standing firm, however, the president stated that he doesn't give a hoot what people think.

For the first time in his eight years of presidenting, Mr. Bush was asked by a particularly obnoxious reporter what grade level is. The President gracefully rebuffed the irreverant and uncalled for remark by simply stating that it is where all children should be.

A particularly malicious line of questioning revolved around charges that the law has harmed most the very children it purports to serve, while lining the pockets of family, friends, and political cronies on both sides of the aisle.

Since when is it a crime for my brother Neil to help poor children
boost up their test scores with his innovative Cash On Wheels program, the COWS program? Since when is it a crime for my mom to rush aid to Hurricane Katrina's kids with Neil's product?
Since when is it a crime to help a family friend and buddy in need, Terry McGraw III, Business Roundtdable Chair and CEO of the McGraw-Hill Companies? He's making great profits with sound, innovative products that help all children get on grade level.
And by the way, since when is it a crime for me to reach across the
aisle to a Democrat, my friend and fellow Texan Sandy Kress, an engineer of this good law who just happens to have made a little money lobbying for testing companies? Those companies provide all sorts of innovative ways to pump up test scores. That's good for children and it's good for the recovery of the Global Economy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Visionary Ed Reform in a Picture

Outgoing Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings sometimes shares one of her favorite sayings from Texas in praise of NCLB, high-stakes testing, and a variety of band-aid market solutions:

If all you ever do is all you've ever done, then all
you'll ever get is all you ever got.

Here she unwittingly sums up 25 years of failed "reform" wrought by corporate politicos as they corrupt and undermine the very hope and promise of public education.

And it's even worse than you say Mrs. Spellings. We are actually regressing.

If all we ever do is put more teeth into what already does not work, then all we'll ever get is even worse than what we've already got. Thank you for reminding us of the definition of insanity.

Lift that veil of civil rights rhetoric you hide behind and show your face Ruling Class. The last thing you need in order to keep things as they are (and make them even more so) is a nation of well-educated citizens who can actually think.