Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cherry Blossoms

There's nothing like being in Washington, DC during Cherry Blossom season. The Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and the new World War II Memorial. There's the Vietnam Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Holocaust Museum and so much more. The city is a shining light on the hill but the  Congress is dysfunctional, ineffective and embattled in political battles that are unproductive and destructive to the health and well being of the nation.

At this time, Common Core or National Education Standards are nice, but high stakes testing is a criminal and evil, psychopathic, maniacal policy, and it must end.


Newark Citizens United Against CorpEd Miseducation Plan

Signed by 77 local ministers:




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Harvard Re-Kindles Its Eugenics Past with Embrace of KIPP's Richard Barth

In the 1920s Harvard was a beehive of activity aimed at segregation and sterilization of those deemed mentally and socially defective, based principally on classist and racist assumptions about the poor and the those of different ethnic backgrounds.   One of the Eugenics Movement rock stars, Charles Davenport, was a graduate of Harvard and instrumental in assuring the forced castration of a number of Massachusetts boys during that era.

Today the castrations of boys and involuntary sterilization for girls is a thing of the past.  Instead, we have a new method now energetically embraced by the progressive and conservative elites from Harvard, UPenn, Yale, Stanford, and other former bastions of eugenics college instruction.  This new method is based on cultural and psychological sterilization of the children of the urban poor, whose defective character traits and anti-oppressor behaviors are being effectively neutralized in the total compliance segregated corporate reform schools that carry the label No Excuses.  The poster school chain for this neo-eugenics model is KIPP, and every stripe of billionaire and vulture philanthropist has given to this most recent solution to what was referred to as the "Negro problem" during the late 19th Century.

It is only fitting, then, that KIPP CEO and Harvard alum, Richard Barth, will be the Chief Marshall of the Harvard commencement exercises on May 29.

Here is an article from the Harvard Crimson from 2002 on Harvard's role in the social engineering debacle of eugenics.  How long will it take for highly educated folks to realize that KIPP represents Eugenics, the Sequel:

A recent article revealing that Massachusetts sterilized more than two dozen teenage boys in the 1920s has brought renewed attention to the role Harvard faculty played in the eugenics movement of the early 20th century.

It’s never been a secret that Harvard affiliates supported sterilization and restricted immigration during the ’20s as a way to help future generations achieve genetic perfection.

But the article in Boston Magazine showed for the first time that sterilization took place in Massachusetts, where state officials castrated teenage boys as part of a study in Shutesbury seeking to “promote sterilization, segregation, selective breeding and immigration restrictions.”

Sterilization laws existed in more than 30 states in the early 20th century, but not Massachusetts.

That’s why the Shutesbury study—evidence that Massachusetts was a “beehive of activity”—is significant, said Welling Savo, the author of the article, who spent over six months researching the topic.

According to her article, about 26 patients—many of them 14- and 15-year-old boys—were selected for sterilization because they were epileptic, socially “defective” or showed signs of regular masturbation or “solitary behavior.”

The article emphasized that Harvard was a major center for eugenic thought at the time. The head of the University’s anthropology department, Ernest Hooton, was a member of the American Eugenics Society, which remained active until the 1970s. The society’s advisory board included nine other Harvard faculty members and its vice president, Charles Davenport, was a Harvard-trained biologist.

The Harvard connections are significant because they indicate the legitimacy of the eugenic movement in the intellectual community, Savo said.

“Davenport was the leader and figurehead of the eugenics movement in the United States,” Savo said. “It was taught as part of over 300 science courses around the country.”

Hooton believed that all social problems had biological roots and that humans should be bred “for a better stock.” He called for “a sit-down reproductive strike of the busy breeders among the morons, criminals, and social ineffectuals of our population.”

Two of Davenport’s Harvard colleagues started the Immigration Restriction League with fellow eugenicists. The League persuaded Congress to impose literacy tests and other restrictions on immigration to weed out people they believed to be inferior.

Everett I. Mendelsohn, professor of the history of science, said members of the Harvard community were not exceptional in their interest in eugenics in the 1920s, although the movement began fading soon after.

“The interest in eugenics was widespread at the time but the practice was less widespread,” he said. “Most biologists, and even those benignly interested, consciously moved away from it when it was taken up by the Nazis.”

Mendelsohn, who published an article in Harvard Magazine in 2000 titled “The Eugenic Temptation,” said that scientists need to learn from the past before moving too fast in modern genetic technology.


“While the current work in human genetic engineering is not malign, there is little doubt that there is an interest in using genetics to correct behavior,” he said. “We need a deep social discussion of how to use genetic techniques.”





Friday, April 18, 2014

Citizen Jack's analysis of Michelle Rhee's recent mendaciousness

"In an even more disturbing revelation heard on the tape Rhee laughs about when the tape was removed hurting the children and some even started to bleed." — John Kugler

Michelle Rhee has been caught in another series of lies."Jack," a frequent commenter on Professor Ravitch's site, sent me the following analysis in which he compares various sources on Michelle Rhee recent deceitfulness. Jack's commentary takes the original guest post on NYC Educator, combines it with other information from The Frustrated Teacher, and makes several salient points. What struck me the hardest was the reminder of how Rhee's fellow neoliberal corporate reformers found her glib account of her child abuse amusing. I suppose when your entire life has been dedicated to harming young children through high-stakes testing, constant stress, inhumane expectations, and all other forms of cruelty that corporate edreform imposes, bloody lips are really no big no deal in comparison. Aside from her pathological inability to tell the truth in any venue, the fact that Rhee revels in her acts of barbarism really speaks to the theories that she might be a sociopath. Given that the plutocrats paying (read investing) for the neoliberal corporate education reform project are all sociopaths themselves, it makes good sense that they'd hire someone just like them.


"NYC Educator" today made a nice grab of an October 2013 interview—in the on-line Financial Times—where Michelle Rhee lies (shocking, I know!) and totally changes the details of the now infamous story where she taped the mouths of her students.

He points out the inconsistencies of her October 2013 version VS. her August 2010 version:


Background:

We all know the true details from Ms. Rhee's original (August 2010) telling of the story.

As heard in an audiotape of Ms. Rhee which is still available on-line, Ms. Rhee told all her 35 third-graders (ages 8-9) to remove the tape from their mouths—the tape that she had earlier chosen to put on their mouths as a way to shut them up.

This mass removal led to:

— all 35 kids' lips bleeding;

— all 35 students' lip skin being ripped off, 

and 

— all 35 kids' crying.

This was, of course, back during Ms. Rhee's heroic teaching days. (you know... when her brilliance enabled her students to move from the 13th to the 90th percentile... oh, yeah... I forgot... that was a lie, too.)

However, on the October 2013 interview, she was singing an entirely different tune. (SEE BELOW)

Unfortunately for Ms. Rhee, there remains a problem with her changing her story:

the audio of her original telling of the story remains on-line for all to hear how bogus her later rendition is.

Listen to it HERE: (among other on-line locations)


"NYC Educator" then compares the two versions:

(my summary of the "NYC Educator" article follows)


Lie Number 1:  Whose idea was it?

October 2013: Rhee claims that one of her students asked her for the tape to be placed on his mouth, and with that child—and also with the rest of the students who also asked for the tape—she complied... which she now regrets.

"One of the boys asked for a strip of Scotch tape instead and suddenly everyone wanted the same thing.”

August 2010 Rhee claims that she came up with the idea herself, without any child asking her to do so.

Looking back, Ms. Rhee claims no regrets, but instead, she enthusiastically, proudly, and humorously (?!) reflects on having done so:

"So, I decided, OK, kids, we are going to do something special today.  I lined everybody up and I was like, 

" 'Sshh, gotta be really quiet on our way down to the cafeteria.'

"And then, I took little pieces of masking tape and put them on everybody's lips,

[laughter begins]. 

"And I was like, 'You can't break the seal. Don't move your lips.' "



Lie Number 2:  How many kids in Ms. Rhee's class had bleeding lips, and had lip skin getting ripped off? Just one, or all 35?  A little bleeding, or a lot?  Did any lip skin come off when the tape was removed, or no lip skin at all come off?

October 2013: Rhee claims that only one of children's lips bled—"That's all that happened"—with no kids' lip skin coming off.

(underlining is mine)

“And when I removed the strips, one of the boy’s dry lips bled a little. That’s all that happened. Now it’s turned into, ‘Michelle Rhee duct tapes children!’ But the only reason anyone knows the story in the first place is because I told it.”

August 2010 Rhee claims that every child in her class (all 35 !!!) had lips that were "bleeding," and "skin coming off": (provoking uproarious laughter from the audience)

"And I realized that I had not told the kids to lick their lips beforehand. So, and like the skin is coming off their lips

[big laughs] 

"and they're bleeding.  And so I had a class of 35 kids who are crying... 

[more big laughs] 

"... and other teachers are walking by and are like, 'What are you doing/' "


Lie Number 3:  In what context did Rhee tell the mouth-tapingstory? In an interview, or in a speech? Underpressure from journalists, or under no such pressure?

October 2013:  Rhee claims that journalists pressured Ms. Rhee into telling the story, back when she was too eager and willing to answer any all questions posed to her.

Ms. Rhee now claims "I was stupid" for having been so open. Back then, she was not yet "particularly media savvy."

"I think when I took the job in DC, I was not particularly savvy about the media.  People asked me for interviews, I answered the questions and because I was so honest about my thoughts, it gave them the material.  I can’t blame anyone other than myself for that. I was stupid.”

October 2010:  No one pressured Ms. Rhee to tell anything. This story was told in a speech to new Washington D.C.P.S. teachers, a speech over which Ms. Rhee had total editorial control over what she was saying.

Washington Post: "This audio recording is an excerpt of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee talking to first-year teachers about her early misadventures as an educator. She spoke at the Columbia Heights Education Campus on 16th St. N.W."


One more thing to note:

At some point after including the audio of Ms. Rhee's speech on its website, the pro-Rhee Washington Post  later removed the audio of this from its coverage.

Go to the link here:


The audio is now gone, baby, gone.

Thankfully, dozens of others saved it, including "Frustrated Teacher" from the above link.

Resegregation of American Schools by Race and Economics, Thanks to Obama Justice Department

Opt Out Wave Growing

The articles below are captured in one day of Google Alert for "opt out."  The movement to end a century of miseducative, classist, and racist tests will not be denied.

Town Hall
NY Schools Struggle Where to Put Students Who Opt Out of Standardized Tests
A battle between parents and educators has erupted over standardized testing in the state of New York. These exams have been the norm under the ...
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Growing group of parents pulling kids from FCAT testing
Florida Department of Education officials told Salomone that current law doesn't allow students to formallyopt out of the test since it is required, but ...
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Fariña reflects (again) on tests and values
Fariña reflects (again) on tests and values ... Arts tests during a speech at Cooper Union, addressing the "opt-out" movement and saying she has been ...
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liherald.com
Common Core test refusals are up in Merrick
When New York state debuted new standardized tests for third- to ... According to a document posted on the Facebook page Long Island Opt-out Info, ...
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Area couple battles elementary school over CRCT testing
“To my knowledge, there is not an opt-out option for the CRCT since these tests are mandated by state law,” she wrote in an email. “I have forwarded ...
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WEB
Common Core standardized tests erase educational value, PA parents can opt out - EAGnews.org ...
HOLLAND, Pa. – Common Core – what is it and just how much educational instruction time is being lost to the standardized tests used to measure ...
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Opt-out: My Opinion - SlideShare
Check your bulk/spam folders if you can't find our mail. Loading ..... A district must administer the state testand there is not an “opt-out” from the state ...

Opt Out under attack | Blind Noise
Posts about Opt Out under attack written by Blind Noise. ... high stakes tests being vigorously rammed down the throats of public school students.
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opt-out
FAIRHAVEN — A parent says she felt school officials deceived her when they told her the PARCC test, a standardized test that could replace MCAS, ...
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Why We Chose to Opt Out | Read New Product Articles Online
Why We Chose to Opt Out. admin April 16, 2014. Thousands of children in our State is conducted in schools today take standardized tests, ...
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Comment on Some parents opt out of FCAT for their kids - Wopular
of Opt Out Orlando , run by activists who are urging parents to opt their children out of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT.
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Opt Out Letter Template | Michigan Opts Out
We understand that federal law provides parents and guardians the right of choice regarding standardizedtesting when such testing violates beliefs.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Really? Do We Really Want Experienced Teachers to Resign

How many more experienced, professional educators will submit their letters of resignation before Washington and the State Legislatures stop catering to the monied interests intent on destroying any meaningful and real education for the next generation? Haven't we already documented extensively through research and blogging how damaging the current corporate education reform movement is to the nation;s future and a democratic republic?
Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:
This is my official resignation letter from my English teaching position.
I’m sad to be leaving a place that has meant so much to me. This was my first teaching job. For eleven years I taught in these classrooms, I walked these halls, and I befriended colleagues, students, and parents alike. This school became part of my family, and I will be forever connected to this community for that reason.
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve my community as a teacher. I met the most incredible people here. I am forever changed by my brilliant and compassionate colleagues and the incredible students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.
I know I have made a difference in the lives of my students, just as they have irrevocably changed mine. Teaching is the most rewarding job I have ever had. That is why I am sad to leave the profession I love.
Those who can teach, teach under 

Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:

Even though I am primarily leaving to be closer to my family, if my family were in Colorado, I would not be able to continue teaching here. As a newly single mom, I cannot live in this community on the salary I make as a teacher. With the effects of the pay freeze still lingering and Colorado having one of the lowest yearly teaching salaries in the nation, it has become financially impossible for me to teach in this state.
Along with the salary issue, ethically, I can no longer work in an educational system that is spiraling downwards while it purports to improve the education of our children.
http://dianeravitch.net/2014/04/17/colorado-teacher-is-this-good-for-kids-why-i-resigned/

NYT Talking about the Tests as Weapons of Mass Distraction

The New York Times editors appear to be catching on to the fact that the proliferation and misuse of high stakes testing  are not only a huge waste of resources that are actually doing more harm than good, but are also a "distraction" from the very real problems of poverty and inequality.  It's about time.


To the Editor:
Elizabeth Phillips decries the gag order that school principals are under vis-à-vis the high-stakes tests administered in New York State (“We Need to Talk About the Tests,” Op-Ed, April 10).
Best practice in educational and psychological measurement requires test developers to shoulder the burden of demonstrating the validity and reliability of their instruments. Unfortunately, the state and its test designer, Pearson, do not make validation data for state tests available to the taxpayers who fund them.
Meanwhile, the state pushes for scores from individual districts, schools and teachers to be made public, so that taxpayers can judge the quality of children’s education (and presumably be motivated to join the chorus calling for reform).
So how about a deal: The state can publish the test results any way it likes, but only if all test validation data is also made public.
State officials will never take the deal. If the public knew how weak the tests were, educational reform would be derailed.
BRUCE TORFF
Locust Valley, N.Y., April 10, 2014
The writer is a professor of teaching, literacy and leadership at Hofstra University.
To the Editor:
Yes, there’s a big problem with the state tests. But there’s a bigger problem: the whole idea of the Common Core standards. Accurately described by Susan Ohanian, a writer and former teacher, as “a radical untried curriculum overhaul” and “nonstop national testing,” the Common Core is an outrageous scheme with no justification and no empirical support.
The problems described by Elizabeth Phillips will eventually be solved, or at least reduced enough to stop complaints from coming, but the Common Core boondoggle will continue, with new and very expensive tests delivered online.
I suspect that these bad tests are a weapon of mass distraction, so that we forget what the real problem is.
STEPHEN KRASHEN
Los Angeles, April 11, 2014
The writer is professor emeritus at Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.
To the Editor:
Elizabeth Phillips is spot on. The state needs to take responsibility and immediate action because the current English Language Arts assessments undermine strong teaching and the Common Core much more than they encourage or assess it.
Meanwhile, there is one group that has the ability to immediately alleviate some of the negative impact of the tests — middle-school and high school principals. If all middle schools and high schools in New York City refused to use test scores in admissions, it would greatly ease some of the anxiety and pressure on the students, families and teachers.
There are better ways than the state tests to select students for our schools, but no better way to send a strong message to the state and the exams’ designer that the tests are not as important or reliable as they think.
MARK FEDERMAN
Brooklyn, April 10, 2014
The writer is the principal of East Side Community School, a public school that refuses to use test scores as part of the admissions process.
To the Editor:
The most important value of having the state’s test questions released to teachers (and the public indirectly) is giving teachers the information they need to improve instruction.
Previously, when the questions and students’ responses were released, teachers and administrators would review which questions produced the poorest results. This data analysis permitted corrections to the instructional materials used and the time devoted to specific topics and objectives.
It also offered a look at whether any specific teachers’ students did significantly less well than those of other teachers in that school, thus permitting targeted professional development.
MARC F. BERNSTEIN
New York, April 10, 2014
The writer is a retired superintendent of schools and a member of the adjunct faculty at Fordham Graduate School of Education.