"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Teacher Education Minus Degrees, Professors, Research, or Accreditation

One may quibble with details, but the bottom line is that this bill defangs the U.S. Department of Education; it no longer will exert control over every school with mandates. This bill strips the status quo of federal power to ruin schools and the lives of children and educators. . . .This is a far better bill than I had hoped or feared. --Diane Ravitch

The neoliberal elites over at Brookings are celebrating the arrival of ESSA for a number of reasons, all having to do with new business and social steering opportunities that have never existed until now.  

For instance, ESSA makes those unwieldy alternative certification programs at universities so old school.  With the new and improved states rights version of ESEA, charter corporations can create their own teacher "education" programs and market them all over the country with help from the Title II.  Not only that, but states have to accept those new "teachers" at a Masters level on the pay scale, even though they have been "prepared" to teach without benefit of a college, professors, libraries, research, degrees, seat hours, or accreditation.  

But, hey, let's not quibble.  

Here is a clip from the Brookings gush (my bolds):
Aligning business models with student outcomes

An alternative way to improve teacher preparation is to build new institutions from the ground up with entirely different business models that are aligned with student outcomes. A few examples of new institutions that have done this include Match Teacher Residency, Urban Teachers, Aspire Teacher Residency, and Relay Graduate School of Education. New institutions can design their business models with strong incentives to prioritize practices like establishing selective admissions requirements, setting competency-based graduation requirements, creating close partnerships with local schools, designing high-quality curricula, and supporting graduates during their induction into the profession.

Along this vein, ESSA has a new provision that encourages states to foster new teacher preparation programs with innovative business models. Whereas the “alternative certification” provisions from prior versions of the law have resulted mostly in new programs within existing education schools, this provision gives states funding to authorize new “teacher preparation academies” that have very different business models from those of most established education schools. Section 2002(4) of Title II of ESSA requires states that authorize these academies to eliminate “unnecessary requirements” for state authorization, such as requiring that faculty hold advanced degrees or conduct academic research, that students complete a certain number of credit hours or sequence of coursework for graduation, or that preparation academies receive institutional accreditation from an accrediting body. Instead, the law specifies that states must ensure that each academy gives its prospective teachers “a significant part of their training through clinical preparation,” awards “a certificate of completion to a teacher only after the teacher demonstrates that the teacher is an effective teacher,” and “limits admission … to prospective teacher … candidates who demonstrate strong potential to improve student academic achievement.” The law also requires that states recognize the certificates from these academies, “as at least the equivalent of a master’s degree in education for the purposes of hiring, retention, compensation, and promotion in the State.”

Charter School Locusts Descend on Atlanta

If Atlanta parents and teachers need to learn one thing, that is to not waste your energy begging the corporate shill superintendent to alter her plan to shutter 26 Atlanta schools.  Civil disobedience is the only way to stop this, i. e., occupying schools, shutting down meetings, sickouts, blockades, going to jail and going to court.  Time to organize and stop begging.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Open letter to Dan Woods regarding the Gülen Network's Magnolia Charter Schools

"The Walton family, founder of Wal-mart, the worldwide retail giant, has donated millions of dollars to schools considered to be associated with the Gülen community." — Charter School Scandals

Who has ties to the cultish Gülenist Movement? Fethullah Gülen, Ref Rodriguez, Caprice Young, Monica Garcia, Richard Vladovic, Reed Hastings, Yvonne Chan, and Carrie Walton Penner

From: *****@ucla.edu
Subject: Open letter to Dan Woods regarding the Gülen Network's Magnolia Charter Schools
Date: February 02, 2016 14:22:46 PST
To: d.woods@mpglaw.com

Mr. Woods:

Just read your heavy-handed letter [1] to Arthur M. Pakowitz, Esq.

As a courtesy I wanted to address some of your concerns, which are clearly based in your ignorance regarding both privately managed charter schools, and the shadowy Gülen cult that your client is associated with.

Regarding your insistence that the Magnolia corporate charter school chain's financial information is transparent. This simply isn't the case, and it wasn't until the public school district called for an audit that one was conducted. Said audits revealed millions of "missing, misused funds" [2]. These were public dollars, squandered under the private management of your client.

You then make the absurd assertion that "Magnolia's eleven charter schools are public schools…" In case you actually believe that misrepresentation, let me disabuse you.

Generally charter schools are not public schools. Both existing case law and public policy have long established this. The Washington State Supreme Court (2015) held that charter schools are not "common schools" because they're governed by appointed rather than elected boards. The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010) ruled that charter schools are not "public actors." The California Court of Appeals (2007) ruled that charter schools are not "public agents." The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) joined many other government agencies in unequivocally determining that charters are, in NLRB's words, "private entities."

By definition if a charter school is run by a for-profit company, or a (501c3) non-profit corporation (e.g. Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation), then it is not a public school. The United States Census Bureau frames this issue best: "A few "public charter schools" are run by public universities and municipalities. However, most charter schools are run by private nonprofit organizations and are therefore classified as private." [3]

Because these lucrative charter schools are not public, and are not subject to even a modicum of public oversight, they are able to get away with violating the constitutional rights of their students. The decision in Scott B. v. Board of Trustees of Orange County High School of the Arts saw Rosa K. Hirji, Esq. write: "The structures that allow charter schools to exist are marked by the absence of protections that are traditionally guaranteed by public education, protections that only become apparent and necessary when families and students begin to face a denial of what they were initially promised to be their right." [4]

Lastly, there is ample documentation tying the Magnolia corporate charter school chain to the Gülenist Movement, namely through their intertwinement with the Los Angeles based Pacifica Institute—a Gülen organization which denies the 1915-1918 Armenian genocide. [5] Moreover, Fethullah Gülen's ties to the Magnolia charter schools was reported to Turkish readers as early as 2010. [6]

Far be it for me to do your research for you, but as a courtesy I offer the following footnote [7] as starting point for your own additional discovery.

I understand that the model rules of professional conduct call upon you to vigorously represent your client's interests, but one would expect an attorney of your standing to at least base your arguments in a modicum of reality. I suppose in a way I owe you and your firm a debt of gratitude inasmuch as you provide examples of the type of attorney I don't want to be—seemingly ones that hold billable hours more important than the public interest.

[1] https://twitter.com/GooseNetworkUSA/status/694588816066121728
[2] http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2014/07/21/17031/audit-finds-missing-misused-funds-at-la-charter-ne/
[3] US Census Bureau. (2011). Public Education Finances: 2009 (GO9-ASPEF). Washington, DC: US Government Printing O ce. Print. vi
[4] https://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/childrights/content/articles/winter2014-0114-charter-schools-upholding-student-rights.html
[5] http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/30/local/la-me-0930-ottoman-band-20110930
[6] http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/walmart-tan-gulen-okullarina-bagis/guncel/gundemdetay/27.08.2010/1281603/default.htm
[7] Compendium of Magnolia/Pacifica/Gülen resources:

Advocating Public Education and Social Justice

Robert D. Skeels
Juris Doctor Candidate
UCLA '14, PCL '18

"Problem posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor" — Paulo Freire

Where is Hillary on Common Core and Charter Schools?

A clip from Ed Week (my bolds):

4. Hillary Clinton is pro-Common Core. At her first official campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton praised Common Core and called parents who misunderstand the value of the controversial academics "unfortunate." She also inserted the idea that education is a "non-family" entity in the U.S., and an important one. For what it's worth, I agree with Clinton. I've seen too many parents argue against Common Core because it is different from what they did as kids -- but isn't that the point? The U.S. lags behind other developed countries, particularly when it comes to STEM topics, so we should be taking a different approach when it comes to these topics. While her "non-family" comment may appear harsh to some, I think it's good that Clinton is taking a confident approach early on and not softening her platform.

5. Hillary Clinton likes charter schools. As far back as when her husband was in the position she now seeks, Hillary Clinton has been a supporter of quality charter schools in the U.S. During Bill Clinton's time in office, charter schools grew from 2,000 to 5,800 nationwide and he was quoted as saying he wished there was "10,000" that were available to the nation's youth. Hillary Clinton has already mentioned that she also supports pubic charter schools -- an issue that she coincidentally aligns her beliefs with Jeb Bush. Expect more rhetoric from her about how quality charter schools lead to more opportunities to at-risk American students.

Marzano and Detroit's Six Million Dollar Hustle

New York Times Fails to Acknowledge Its Own Noteworthy Education News

Susan Ohanian
A few days ago I received an e-mail alert from the  the  New York Times which highlighted the noteworthy education items published in their pages. Here is what was on the list:
  •  Girlfriend, Mother, Professor? 
  •  Treasury Auctions Set for the Week of Jan. 25 
  •  Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Clash on Issues and Vie for Votes of Iowa Women
  •  'Downton Abbey' Season 6, Episode 4: The Engine Purrs 
  •  Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting a Pension 
  •  Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Battle for Party’s Future
There was no mention of a  story by David Gonzalez, the best ed story  appearing in the paper since Michael Winerip transferred out. Note: Mr. Gonzalez isn't the paper's education reporter. He covers a different beat, but he sure does know a lot about the teacher under discussion and the community in which he taught for so long. I was especially delighted that Gonzalez managed to get in a hot link to a New York Post account of the principal issuing toilet plungers to students.

I was so outraged by Gonzalez's account of teacher abuse that I immediately  e-mailed the Times letters department--and  1 1/2 hours later they told me they were publishing it:

To the Editor:
Re "A Teacher, Beloved but Disillusioned, Decides to Walk Away" (Side Street column, Jan. 25):

As a longtime teacher, I thank David Gonzalez for giving voice to the bizarre and capricious assaults on teacher professionalism that infect the many schools enforcing the dictum "Common Core or die."

Tom Porton, a Bronx teacher, clearly offered unique gifts to students, but he is not alone in finding that the work he so loved for decades has turned to torture.
Charlotte, Vt.

 Here's the story:

By David Gonzalez

Tom Porton is used to drama: Since arriving at James Monroe High School as an English teacher 45 years ago, he has taught and staged plays. Outside, in the Bronx River neighborhood where the school is, there was plenty of drama in the 1980s, when AIDS and crack ravaged the area. His response then was to establish a group of peer educators who worked with Montefiore Medical Center to teach teenagers about H.I.V. prevention. His efforts earned him awards, including recognition from the City Council and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and led to his induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

Now he is at the center of drama: Last month he clashed with Brendan Lyons, the school's principal, who disapproved of his distributing H.I.V./AIDS  education fliers that listed nonsexual ways of "Making Love Without Doin' It" (including advice to “read a book together”).

This month, he said the principal eliminated his early-morning civic leadership class, which engaged students in activities such as feeding the homeless, saying it was not part of the Common Core curriculum. Mr. Porton was already skeptical of that curriculum, saying it shortchanged students by focusing on chapters of novels and nonfiction essays rather than entire works of literature.

So, next month Mr. Porton -- a 67-year-old educator whom students praised as a lifesaver and life-changer -- is walking away from teaching. He handed in his retirement papers on Friday.

"My career has always been based on the emotional and social well-being of the child," he said, inside an office whose walls were decorated with awards, proclamations and photos of him alongside several school chancellors; Michael R. Bloomberg, the mayor at the time; and the rapper DMC. "Now, I don't know where teaching is headed. I just know I can't anymore. I find it torture. I'd rather separate myself from the classroom doing something that is distasteful and try to spend my days doing things that are important."

Mr. Porton has been teaching and coordinating student activities long enough to see Monroe go from a large urban high school to one housing several smaller schools, including his, the Monroe Academy for Visual Arts and Design. Mr. Lyons -- who repeatedly replied "no comment" to questions during a telephone conversation -- arrived at the school at the start of the academic year. A previous tenure at a Manhattan high school was marked by his  replacing paper hall passes with toilet plungers, which students used to wreak havoc on property and one another.

In December, on World AIDS Day, Mr. Porton handed out his flier, as he had for almost 25 years. Mr. Lyons sent him an email saying the flier was "inappropriate," and asked that he collect those already distributed. Though Mr. Lyons said he would discuss the matter later with him, Mr. Porton said that conversation never took place.

H.I.V. and AIDS may have faded from the public mind, but they remain a danger in places like the South Bronx, especially among young blacks and Latinos. Mr. Porton said the school has failed to meet Department of Education mandates to educate students about the diseases, making his work all the more necessary.

Mr. Lyons, who would not say if the school met the mandates, never explained his objections to Mr. Porton. At the start of this semester, Mr. Porton said, the principal eliminated the 40-student leadership class because he said it was not part of the standard curriculum, even though the class met before the formal start of the school day. Because of that, combined with Mr. Porton's disappointment over the standardized test frenzy that rules in many schools, he chose to leave.

"School is not pleasant, the way it was when I started," he said. "They pay lip service to the social and emotional well-being of the child. My generation of teachers had a mind-set about how to teach a child. Today, many young teachers see teaching as a way to kill time on the way to something else."

Reaction among students and former students, many of whom learned of Mr. Porton's retirement on Facebook, was immediate and full of outrage.

"How can anyone think what he does is inappropriate?" said Janelle Roundtree, a former peer educator who graduated from Monroe in 1995 and went on to Howard University. "He changed Monroe. He was in the forefront of so many things. The school is losing out on this one."

David Gonzalez (no relation to this writer), a musician, poet and performer who graduated in 1973, was so grateful to Mr. Porton that he nominated him for the Kennedy Center’s Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, which he received in 2011.

"Tom has been the consistent heart of that building since I was at Monroe in the '70s," said Mr. Gonzalez, who still wonders how the teacher managed to get tickets to Broadway shows. "He was always looking for the heart and soul of the individual. I would never have had the confidence to do what I do without him. He changed my life forever."

And now, Mr. Porton will change his own life.

"It was bittersweet," he said after filing for retirement. "I'm sort of resigned to making the change. But there's still a part of me that feels I'll have to figure out where I'm going to go each day. Hopefully, somebody's going to ask for my expertise somewhere. Let's put it this way: I'm looking for a job."

Monday, February 01, 2016

Ravitch Revisionism

It has taken just over a month since the passage of the god-awful rewrite of ESEA for Diane Ravitch to begin revising the history of her earlier enthusiastic support for the piece of dreck legislation that Gary Orfield and others have noted will turn back education policy in this country by more than a half century.  

In initiating her own limp revisionism, Ravitch has skewed a number of facts and left out out others, while failing to account for her quick pivot from unabashed ESSA fan to its harshest critic.  

A correction is required, then, and in order to do so in a manner that does not misinterpret Diane's blog post, I will post her remarks in italics, which I will intersperse with bracketed clarifications.
It was difficult for Congress to agree on a replacement for the failed No Child Left Behind. NCLB was supposed to be reauthorized in 2007, but it took eight long years to finally reach a bipartisan agreement.

The good part about the Every Child Succeeds Act is that it spells the end of federal punishment for schools, principals, and teachers whose students have low test scores, and it restricts the ability of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to dictate how schools should reform. There is no more AYP (adequate yearly progress); there is no more deadline of 2014 by which time every student everywhere will be proficient, which was always a hoax that no one believed in.
[I'm afraid there is bad news in Diane's good news.  The federal punishments in ESSA continue, if we mean by punishment annual testing in all schools and  months of test prep that go with annual testing in high poverty schools.  For even though Adequate Yearly Progress has been officially removed, those schools with highest poverty and the lowest scores must engage in a test-based version of The Hunger Games, whereby every poor school battles to avoid ending up dead in the bottom 5 percent of schools.  

By federal mandate in ESSA, the schools in the bottom 5 percent must be turned around.  And with ESSA's massive charter incentives to states and the corporate foundations, charter conversion will be the turnaround of choice in most states. 

So even though the ludicrous 2014 target date for proficiency is now gone, every poor school in America has a target on its back with the new ESSA.   And with a new 5 percent of lowest performing schools emerging each year, the privatization will continue just as before under NCLB, except that there will be much less federal oversight.  Of course, none of this is news to Diane, even though she does not talk about any of it when she is offering the "good news" about ESSA].  There would be no "good news" if she did.]
The bad part about ESSA is that it preserves the mindset of NCLB, a mindset that says that standards, testing and accountability are the keys to student success. They are not. NCLB proved they are not. Since “A Nation at Risk” in 1983, policymakers have been in love with the idea that this combination will cause a dramatic rise in test scores and close the achievement gap among different groups. It has done neither, yet ESSA continues the fable. 
[Some policymakers of the past believed this "fable," while others were guided by a desire to present public schools in the worst possible light in order to clear the way for the introduction of school vouchers (back in the pre-charter days).  Diane knows a great deal about this group of "policymakers" because she worked for them.  She knows about the desire to end the "public school monopoly," for it was her boss, GHW Bush, who made the phrase famous.  And it was Ravitch, herself, who tried to suppress reports questioning the education doomsday scenario started under Reagan, and it was Diane who howled the loudest in the New York Times when the Sandia Report finally appeared.  

Ravitch was the most those prominent voices that the Times labeled "the purveyors of bad news."]
At the outset of the Senate deliberations, Senator Lamar Alexander offered a choice between annual testing, as in NCLB, and grade-span testing (e.g., grades 4, 8, 12). A group of civil rights organizations issued a statement saying that annual testing guaranteed the civil rights of disadvantaged minorities. This sealed the deal; most other organizations and the Democratic majority fell in line behind the civil rights groups. In my view, annual testing does nothing to advance civil rights; to the contrary, it labels children based on test scores and disproportionately and adversely harms children of color and children with disabilities and English language learners. These groups should have been fighting for measures other than standardized tests, but they did not.
[This is the purest of fictions, and one that portrays Diane's privatizing pal, Lamar Alexander, in the best light possible.  Diane knew then and she knows now that the small scrum of civil rights organizations that embraced annual testing in January 2015 represented groups that owed much to the corporate foundations and the Obama Administration for buttering their bread so sweetly over their years.  News stores containing criticism of the "testing civil rights thought disorder" were widespread in the weeks and months following the "civil rights groups'" capitulation to the testing juggernaut.  No deal was sealed until the AFT, NEA, FairTest, and NPE pushed forward to promote the ESEA deal that the presumed Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and her Wall Street bundlers could get behind.  That is what sealed the deal. 

So what helped much more to "seal the deal" was the embrace of the ECAA/ESSA by Ravitch, NEA, FairTest, and AFT.  In April 2015, Diane threw all of her support behind the Alexander/Murray compromise, which was like turning a fire hose on the tiny flames of resistance to the emerging ESEA debacle.  Diane said in a blog post in April:
One may quibble with details, but the bottom line is that this bill defangs the U.S. Department of Education; it no longer will exert control over every school with mandates. This bill strips the status quo of federal power to ruin schools and the lives of children and educators. . . .This is a far better bill than I had hoped or feared.
[It is that 1000 pages of details that were not worth quibbling about, which now, from the safety of post-deal analysis, requires Diane to revise her own history of support.]
And so the children of American remain saddled with annual testing, and states remain saddled with the enormous expense of annual testing.

My view: The federal government should not dictate any testing. The decision to test or not should be left to every state. Contrary to the belief promoted by ex-Secretary Duncan, NAEP testing gives us all the information we need based on sampling about performance in math and reading, by race, language, gender, poverty status, disability status, and also achievement gaps. Annual tests of every child are a waste of instructional time and money. They provide no useful information.

I am disappointed, though not surprised, that the law encourages more privatization of public schools by promoting the funding and expansion of privately managed charter schools. More genuine and beloved community public schools will be replaced by corporate McSchools. The new federal money plus Walton’s new $1 billion commitment, plus Eli Broad’s charter zealotry, will spur the continuing destruction of public education, especially in urban districts, but their ambition is to go beyond the big cities and into the suburbs, the exurbs, and even rural areas.
[Diane could not be surprised because she was part of a cabal that had access to the contents of the emerging bill before she put gave the NPE seal of approval on it last April.  I guess the 70 pages detailing the billions in new charter incentives were just "details" not worth quibbling about last April.  Certainly they were not important enough to share with her readers.]

I am disappointed that the new law encourages phony “graduate” schools of education, like Relay and Match, which have no scholars, no research, nothing but charter teachers teaching charter teachers how to raise test scores. This will not improve education. It will simply expand the supply of charter school enforcers who have learned to “teach like a robot.”
I am disappointed that there are strict limits on the number of children with disabilities who can be exempted from regular state testing and given accommodations. This seems to me to be a decision that should be made at the school level, not by the federal government.

I am disappointed that the law does not permit parents to opt out of state testing. As a law written by a dominantly Republican Congress, it is surprising that it does not recognize parental rights. Furthermore, a Congress that favors choice of schools should also favor the parents’ choice to say no to testing that they believe is useless and unnecessary for their child’s education.

I would have written a different law.

[Perhaps in a later post Diane will explain how it is that the Republican Congress "favors choice of schools."  You must ask the poor and minority parents in Boston, Chicago, Memphis, Los Angeles, and every other American city why their choices have been ignored as their schools are closed and handed over to corporate know nothings with plans to behaviorally sterilize their children.  It was a Republican majority in charge when the education genocide began in earnest in 2000.]

I would have removed testing and accountability altogether from the law and left that to the states. Why should Congress decide how often children should be tested? What is their authority for making this decision? What knowledge do they have? If states want to know how they are doing, they can review their NAEP scores.

I would have strengthened the enforcement of civil rights and student privacy within the law.

I would have established standards for charter schools, so that they disclose their finances fully and accept students that are similar to those in the community they serve. I would have prohibited for-profit charter schools and for-profit virtual charter schools.

I would have increased funding for special education.

I would have encouraged teacher education programs to raise their standards for entry, but not by relying on standardized tests (they might look, for example, at grade-point average and essays about why the candidate wants to teach. I would have encouraged the professionalism of teachers by requiring certification in the subjects taught, as well as at least a year of student teaching, so that states were not able to drop their standards for teachers. I would have required certification for district superintendents and state superintendents.

I would have funded and required school nurses, psychologists, librarians, guidance counselors, and social workers in every Title I school. I would have expanded funding specifically for reduced class sizes in Title I schools. I would have required an arts program staffed with certified arts teachers in every school.

But instead, we are saddled with standards, testing, and accountability.
[Last April when Diane found the ESEA rewrite much better than she might have hoped for, did she not notice all these important missing elements that she would now include?  Was Alexander's bill so good that she had no recommendations at that time other than to sign on the dotted line? 

Last April she mentioned none of the improvements that she now heartily champions, and it was then that she had the opportunity to advocate and gather support among her followers for any or all the improvements listed above.]
The good thing that the law does is to shift the issues to the state level (except when it doesn’t). That means that citizens have some chance to get a better perspective on education by voting out those legislators who are currently crippling public education in their states.
[As I have pointed out before, there is nothing for the unfunded corporate education resistance to celebrate when a single battle front becomes fifty battle fronts.  ALEC and Gates and Broad and The Waltons have the resources to amplify their war on schools in all fifty states.  Where are the resources coming from to organize and oppose these monsters in 50 states?  

Does Ravitch believe they can be voted down, one district at a time, when the billionaires have unlimited funds to buy politicians?  Does Ravitch really believe the revolution against CorpEd will be won at the ballot box? And more importantly, does she believe that resegregation, testing child abuse, and new initiatives like competency based education can be regulated by a neutered  
U. S. Department of Education that ESSA has guaranteed.]
The outlook is that, as a result of ESSA, the states in a downward spiral–like Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, Kansas, and many more–will continue in that direction until there is a rebellion among the citizenry. ESSA gives people a chance to take action. But that’s about all it does. I’m grateful that AYP is gone; I am grateful that the timetable is gone; I am grateful that the Secretary of Education can no longer boss everyone around. I am glad that Race to the Top is gone. Otherwise, it is NCLB handed over to the states to tinker with.

After 15 years of nonstop testing and accountability, we need a new vision. ESSA is not it. 
[Diane Ravitch knew last April when she endorsed it that ESSA was "NCLB handed over to the states to tinker with."  She could not say that because she had a job to do that had nothing to do with telling the truth to the people who line up for her autograph after they buy her books and cheer her empty rhetorical jabs at those she in bed with.  

As she always has been, Diane is serving someone other than the children, teachers, and parents that she officially loves and regularly turns her back on when the "policymakers" callAs such, Diane is the mistress of manipulation and disingenuity and a barrier to effective corporate education resistance.  

By failing to act when she could have before this ESSA was passed with her blessing, she has demonstrated in spades where her loyalty lies.  It's her bed that she has made, and now she must sleep in it.  Yes, Diane, we need a new vision, and you don't have it.]

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Computer science for all?

Sent to the New York Times, Jan. 31
President Obama has called for "a Deeper Commitment to Computer Education," (January 30), proposing that $4 billion be invested in computer science education. In the past, these proclamations were based on the assumption that there is a serious shortage of technology-trained workers in the US. This claim has been shown to be false. In fact, there is a surplus.
Now the message is that computer knowledge is needed in many professions. (The president mentioned auto mechanics and nursing.) But this is computer use, and does not require knowing how to program and design software.  It requires knowing how to use specific programs. It is not "computer science," just as driving a car does not require deep knowledge of auto mechanics.  Nevertheless, the president emphasized programming and learning to code, "computer science for all."
My daughter has pointed out to me that to learn how to use many programs, all you need is a good friend to show you how.
I was not surprised to read that the president of Microsoft thought the president's proposal was a good idea.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/us/politics/obamas-budget-urges-a-deeper-commitment-to-computer-education.html?_r=0
Sources: Salzman, H. & Lowell, B. L. 2007. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1034801 Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. 2008. Making the grade. Nature 453 (1): 28-30.Salzman, H. 2012. No Shortage of Qualified American STEM Grads (5/25/12) http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-foreign-stem-graduates-get-green-cards/no-shortage-of-qualified-american-stem-grads. Teitelbaum, M. 2014: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-teitelbaum-stem-fears-20140420,0,120851.story#axzz2zYCn7SCA; Weismann, J. 2013. More Ph.D's than the market can absorb:The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts. The Atlantic, Feb 20, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-phd-bust-americas-awful-market-for-young-scientists-in-7-charts/273339/

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Alabama Leads the Way toward 19th Century Education

Ever heard of an adjunct K-12 teacher?  I had not, either, until Alabama defined it for me, as someone with at least a high school diploma teaching part-time in an Alabama public school.
Someone who is not a certified teacher can now teach your children in Alabama.

The State Board of Education approved a new category of educators called adjunct teachers.

The board says it is a way to solve the teacher shortage in Alabama for certain subjects.

An adjunct teacher is someone who has worked in a career field other than education, will work part time under a licensed teacher and has a high school diploma or equivalent.

Katy Bryan is a mother of two elementary school kids in Huntsville.  In theory, under the new resolution, her kids could soon be taught by someone who does not have a state teaching certification. Bryan has some concerns with the idea.

"I think that they probably need to have a teaching certificate because just because they're knowledgeable about a subject might not mean that they're skilled at teaching techniques," Bryan said.

Mary Scott Hunter sits on the State School Board who approved the resolution. Hunter represents District 8 which includes Madison, Limestone, Jackson, DeKalb and Etowah Counties in Alabama. She says the goal is to find people to fill specialized classes like welding, because those can be hard for a district to fill.

Beverly Sims is the District 3 Director for the Alabama Education Association, who represents Madison County, Madison City, J.F. Drake Technical College and John C. Calhoun Community College.

Sims says she is okay with the idea of adjunct teachers for career tech classes, but is worried that some of these adjunct teachers might not be fully prepared to handle the challenges of a classroom.

"Classroom management and the various learning styles of the kids and the biggest problem is going to be learning the federal laws and the state laws," Sims said.

While Bryan says she has concerns as a parent, she says there could be a place for adjunct teachers.

"I think there could be advantages like a lot of engineers in our area are good at mathematics, physics and those types of topics," Bryan said.

WAAY 31 reached out to some area school districts.  Huntsville City Schools and Madison City Schools spokesmen say the resolution is on their radar, but the people who can talk on the issue weren't available Monday.

Susan Ohanian's Letter in Today's NYT

Re “A Teacher, Beloved but Disillusioned, Decides to Walk Away” (Side Street column, Jan. 25):
As a longtime teacher, I thank David Gonzalez for giving voice to the bizarre and capricious assaults on teacher professionalism that infect the many schools enforcing the dictum “Common Core or die.”
Tom Porton, a Bronx teacher, clearly offered unique gifts to students, but he is not alone in finding that the work he so loved for decades has turned to torture.
Charlotte, Vt.