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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Arne’s sudden interest in improving testing

Sent to the Denver Post, Oct. 21.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been an enthusiastic supporter of the common core testing program, accurately described as "nonstop testing" by education expert Susan Ohanian.  The common core imposes more testing on our children than has ever been seen on our planet, and no attempt was made to determine if the new tests result in higher student achievement.

Now Secretary Duncan ("A test for school tests," Oct 20) says he supports a movement to eliminate redundant and inappropriate tests.  This should have been done using small-scale studies before the tests were forced on millions of children. 

Stephen Krashen

original article by Arne Duncan: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_26762648/test-tests?source=infinite

A Response to Gates/Duncan

from Peg Robertson at her blog:

Please comment on this article Arne Duncan: A test for school tests. Even if you have time for just one line of comment - we must not allow these lies to stand as truth. Thank you everyone.

Here is my comment on the article:

First - we must understand that the call for less testing is simply an appeasement - and a distraction - from the privatization agenda which requires immense testing PLUS the full implementation of the common core standards. The high stakes testing and the common core standards MUST stay in place if corporations wish to continue cashing in on public education to the tune of 800 billion dollars and growing. So, Arne can say whatever he wants to attempt to appease the public but we must understand clearly that the goal is to privatize. And they will happily decrease the testing to appease the public so that they can continue to dismantle the public school system.

These tests test what matters least. None of these tests support instruction, unless of course your goal is to teach to the test - which requires becoming savvy at multiple choice and formulaic writing. In our public schools the testing never ends. At the elementary school level we are testing weekly in some shape or form. The common core standards, upon which all this testing and curriculum is based, are developmentally inappropriate, not internationally benchmarked and not based on research. The PARCC test, which Arne claims is oh so fabulous, has no peer review research to demonstrate that it is valid. PARCC is an experiment. Experiments require informed consent. There is no parental informed consent for the PARCC experiment, which public school children in Colorado will be subjected to this year.

The PARCC is already estimated to fail 70% of our children. When CMAS social studies and science scores come out on October 27th, the citizens of Colorado will also see that Colorado's children have failed those tests. Then, watch the corporate reformers say - YES - see??? Our schools are failing! Our children are failing! Our teachers are bad! Watch them add more common core curriculum (Which by the way is nothing but test prep of the worst kind...mundane, boring and requires children to practice for the common core tests day in and day out using all the new fancy technology necessary for these tests.) Watch them fire more teachers because our evaluation will be tied to these tests and since 70% of the children will fail it - well, you do the math. Watch the schools buy more technology in order to increase test scores  and watch the CDE gather more student data because data is the new gold. Watch this data get shared with corporations so they can churn out more products and better manage and monitor our children.

Watch teachers spend more time getting trained to administer tests versus actual professional development to support teaching. In the last year I have received "professional development" on how to administer TCAP, ACCESS, PALS, and TS Gold and CMAS. I wonder what new tests will be ushered in next year? Oh yes - and I have received "professional development" on new common core curriculum which is scripted - for the day in which teachers will simply be teacher as technician. Look up Carpe Diem schools if you are wondering what that looks like. The end goal is to have very few experienced teachers - that would be dangerous as we know too much. Teacher as data puncher is all that is needed in the privatization agenda. Thinking is dangerous  - we might wake up the masses  - and then the cash flow would end. Teachers must be obedient and follow the rules of the privatization agenda, therefore, making sure that our evaluation is tied to these high stakes tests keeps us silent as we teach to the test. It also pits teacher against child as teachers soon realize that their livelihood depends on the test scores of these children.

Watch specifically in the urban areas, where children live in poverty and do not have books or computers at home which already puts them at a disadvantage for these online tests. Not to mention that they are hungry, many are sick, and many are tired due to having no consistent place to sleep at night. These children in poverty already suffer from toxic stress which damages the pre-frontal cortex of their brain - add toxic testing and toxic test prep to the mix and the damage increases. Watch these schools get labeled as failing schools - when in truth they are abandoned schools. Watch the reformers come in and hand them over to a charter, fire the staff, and usher in Teach for America folks who have 5 weeks of teacher training. Watch them continue to ignore poverty.

Meanwhile, when teachers do nothing but test and test prep day in and day out, we have no time to actually support the learner. This nonsense about "college and career ready" is so short sighted. What about problem solving citizens?  The common core and high stakes testing together are designed to destroy our public schools. The federal mandates under Race to the Top have opened the door wide to allow corporations to cash in using our children's data . If we hope to stop it, we need to revolt by refusing to allow our children to take these tests. I, personally, have refused to administer the PARCC test. See here, and I will continue to support parents in refusing these tests.  If anyone expects politicians, or mainstream media - such as the lovely Denver Post - to listen to anything that speaks to the truth, it will require a full-on revolt from the parents. Starve the beast - no data means no profit - game over. If I can help let me know. My email is writepeg@juno.com and my blog is 

www.pegwithpen.com


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Isenberg Offers Antidote to the Ravitch Sedative

When Diane Ravitch published Death and Life of the Great American School System, it broke down a bunch of barriers and gained mainstream attention for long-neglected insights and observations that formed the core of her book.  Since then, Ravitch has grown her new anti-reformy fiefdom built on borrowed material into a sprawling empire that includes a growing cadre of speechifers and worshipful, protective acolytes who vie for her attention while hoping that some of her celebrity will rub off on them.  

Meanwhile, Ravitch has used the excuse of friendship to support corporate unionism and the malfeasance of the prostituted toadies that run the AFT and NEA.  She has used corporate education reform as an effective foil to sell her books, while refusing to use her firsthand knowledge of how the corporate education complex operates to bring it down.  And while she delays the sharing of her knowledge of how the fetid inner circle of CorpEd works, she continues to insist that these self-serving and corrupt Koretians, Hooverites, and other fascist thought misleaders are good people with misguided agendas.  Good people don't keep doing the same bad things even though they know better.

If you're tired of righteous panel discussions, blog posts turned into lucrative book deals, corporate unionists posing as the resistance to the corporate education agenda, and endless talk about getting rid of "over-testing," then it could be that there was someone in the last feel-angry Ravitch meet-up that you attended who feels the same.  Obviously, Leonard Isenberg is one who wasn't even there who feels that way.

Ravitch's role in creating and nurturing the corporate monster is a part of history she refuses to tell.  If the truth would set Ravitch free from her role in keeping NAEP cut scores impossibly high and the Sandia Report off the front pages, it could also bring her demigod status back down to the ground level that is so alien to her.  And that could ruin, too, the place she has chosen for herself between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Jane Addams in the history of great American women. 


I think just to the left of Elizabeth Dole and the right of Hillary Clinton would be much more appropriate. 


Smoking Gun! Wall Street Banker Marshall Tuck violated student and parent civil rights!

"...raises significant concerns that [Marshall Tuck run] PLAS continues to disregard state law, regulation, and LAUSD policy and is failing to implement transparent and uniform procedures to ensure parent and student rights are protected." — MALDEF / Public Counsel

Smoking Gun! Wall Street Banker Marshall Tuck violated student and parent's civil rights!

Those of us who have had the great misfortune of watching Eli Broad's protegé, Wall Street Banker Marshall Tuck, operating in Los Angeles over the years have witnessed numerous nefarious activities. From Tuck's thinly veiled white supremacy, to his cutting of vital health education classes, to his gutting ethnic studies, to his overall failure as an administrator, no reasonable person would ever support Tuck, if they were aware of his actual record. Unfortunately the corporate media have had no interest in discussing what Tuck actually did rather than what he says he did. If the media were doing their jobs, there were plenty of things that they could have done some investigative reporting on. In addition to Tuck's corporate, top-down management, there were persistant rumors of California Education Code violations, civil rights violation, and more, but we had difficulty finding people willing to come forward.

Back in July, a high profile bilingual education activist sent the following to a group of us.

I know that LAUSD and PLAS, under the leadership of Marshall Tuck, had a Uniform Complaint filed against them in 2009 for their actions at Ritter Elementary School. The complaint, on behalf of the parents, was filed by the Office of the Public Counsel (OPC) in conjunction with MALDEF. The complaint was upheld, remedies were directed, but no change of procedures or actions ever took place. How can I track down the UC? Do you think I should contact the OPC and the lawyer I was working with on behalf of the parents of the students in their now defunct Dual Language Program? Any advice would be appreciated.

The last few months have seen us encounter myriad dead ends trying to obtain documentation of the successful Uniform Complaint, but once we finally got copies last weekend, it became obvious why people have been trying to hide it. The Uniform Complaint Cause of Action filed jointly by Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Public Counsel Law Center on behalf of families whose civil rights had been violated by Marshall Tuck is perhaps the most damning documents I've ever seen. United Teachers of Los Angeles' Cheryl Ortega has already written a piece: Marshall Tuck Betrays Latino and African American Parents, that outlines the history, background, and details surrounding this tragedy at Ritter Elementary School. Therefore, I want to look at some of the more salient points in the Uniform Complaint against Tuck.

A. Failure to Provide Notice of Placement in an English Immersion Program

Here the lawyers discuss how Marshall Tuck and his Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) lieutenants violated state law, and cite a common law case supporting their interpretation of PLAS's violation.

B. Failure to Notify Parents of Their Right to Apply for a Parental Exception Waiver.

The attorneys outline how Marshall Tuck and PLAS ignored the California Education Code. I love how the section ends with: "...violated the parents' rights under California law."

C. Failure to Form an Alternative Language Class When 20 Waivers in a Given Grade Have Been Provided.

MALDEF and Public Counsel show unequivocal evidence that Marshall Tuck failed to adhere to the provisions of the California Education Code.

D. Failure to Provide Required Response to Waivers, to Assess Each Waiver on Its Individual Merits, or to Provide Notice of the Right to Appeal if the Waiver is Denied.

Citing numerous violations of the California Education Code, Proposition 227, and other state laws, the lawyers take Marshall Tuck and his corporate team to task for blatant law breaking. Tuck, as demonstrated above, would eliminate any program that he believed was interfering with preparation for standardized tests. Students weren't important, their test scores were. Like all neoliberal corporate education reformers, PLAS and Tuck were entirely ignorant on pedagogy. The Uniform Complaint's answer to PLAS's insistence that Dual Language Programs hurt test scores is instructive:

PLAS's response that the existing program at Ritter Elementary was not producing the desired results is insufficient. There is ample evidence in LAUSD and statewide that Dual Language Programs, when implemented by a competent school-site team, not only produce far superior results in terms of academic achievement for all participating children but result in children who can speak and write in two languages, a clear assest in our world economy, and who may also have better appreciation of cultural and linguistic differences. It was PLAS's responsibility, in keeping with its goal of creating an excellent school, to create an excellent DLP, not to abolish the existing program.

Marshall Tuck abolished the existing program.

As the Uniform Complaint document segues into the section that outlines Marshall Tuck and PLAS's ongoing violations, there's one more passage that I want to reproduce. Bear in mind that these events had been going on for over a year, and that both PLAS's executive team, headed by Chief Executive Officer Marshall Tuck, and PLAS's unelected Board of Directors had been entirely intransigent and uncooperative for that entire duration. The community, parents (and their lawyers), teachers, and everyone else tried to work in good faith with PLAS, but that good faith was not reciprocated.

Public Counsel and MALDEF expected that this year PLS would make every effort to ensure it followed state law, regulation and LAUSD policy consistently and uniformly. This appears not to have happened.

Please read the entire document to get and idea of how egregious Marshall Tuck and his cabal really were. The opening quote of this essay, reproduced from page one of the Uniform Complaint, shows exasperation with Tuck's lawlessness. Ironically, Tuck's entire campaign has centered around the abject lawsuit filed by reactionary millionaire David F. Welch. The Welch suit was designed to strip teachers of their bare modicum of protections they currently have, including their small degree of academic freedom. The suit, which used students who for the most part weren't even public school students, is being appealed, and hopefully will be overturned in its entirety. Tuck is quick to talk about the rights of students, but as it has been demonstrated, he methodically violated the civil rights of both his students and their parents on an ongoing basis.

The cretinous GOP candidate for California, a banker just like Tuck, keeps insisting (with no substantive evidence) that "Jerry Brown is betraying the children of California." Perhaps he's alluding to the two charter schools Brown has ties to. But here we have a clear, unequivocally documented case of multiple betrayals, deceptions, and malfeasance by another candidate for a different office:

Marshall Tuck betrayed parents and ignored the law!

Let's reelect State Superintendent Tom Torlakson

Smoking Gun: Marshall Tuck Violated Student and Parent Civil Rights! by Robert D. Skeels

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let Coakley Lose

Some of us are done with "Democrats" who support corporate education agendas.  I say let Coakley's incompetence take her where it will.

By Matt Murphy STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE Posted Oct. 20, 2014 @ 5:49 am
MALDEN
BOSTON, OCT. 19, 2014.....Democratic gubernatorial nominee Martha Coakley spent part of her weekend trying to patch up her campaign's relationship with a key constituency after her recent comments about charter schools left members of the state's largest teachers union feeling "deep anger and disappointment" with their candidate .
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has endorsed Coakley in the race for governor, but their alliance began to show signs of strain after Coakley reacted last week to the state's disqualification of two proposed charter schools in Fitchburg and Brockton.
Coakley, who said she supports lifting the cap on charter schools, called on the Department of Education to reconsider, and issued a statement saying, "Families and children in Brockton and Fitchburg deserved better. We shouldn't let a technicality get in the way of offering increased opportunities to our children in school districts across the state."
That statement, according to MTA President Barbara Madeloni, left members of the teachers union who could be critical to Coakley's get-out-the-vote effort angry and confused by their candidate's position. . . .

Wall Street and Marshall Tuck - TuckForWallStreet.com


Our public schools should be places where kids want to learn and teachers want to teach. Marshall Tuck has the wrong vision for California schools. He’s spent years working on Wall Street. Tuck's education is in bringing in profits on Wall Street — and so he wants to increase high-stakes testing and expand corporate charter schools. Is there any doubt Tuck will put the bottom line for his friends on Wall Street above what our kids need?

East Nashville United Parents Shut Out of Board Meeting by Astroturf Charter Group

From East Nashville United:

At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, our members showed up in force to signal their opposition of Dr. Register’s Third-Way Proposal because it was not created with genuine and earnest community input. There, we met a new community group wearing blue t-shirts that said “East Nashville Believes.” Primarily made up of parents and teachers from charter schools in East and–according to some of the parents in attendance–North Nashville, these parents, students, and charter school teachers and operators made their opinions on choice felt—and then some.

Still, the presence of this group was somewhat curious. Not once since Dr. Register announced his proposal has anyone debated anyone else’s decision to make a choice.


East Nashville United has asked for a community-driven plan, period.

Well-organized, with Twitter hashtag at the ready, those in blue shirts arrived well over an hour before Tuesday’s meeting. When our members arrived 30 or so minutes before the start of the 5:00 p.m. meeting, they had no place to sit.

After four weeks of attending packed priority school meetings, providing child care, and canvassing East Nashville neighborhoods to engage in conversations about education in East Nashville, we were largely shut out of the most important school board meeting since the announcement of Dr. Register’s plan. Until that evening, we hadn’t seen the folks in the blue shirts at these priority school meetings or on the streets knocking doors. When we met with some of the leaders just a few days before, not one mentioned that they would be attending, or that they had formed a new group. We were disappointed, given the lost opportunity to collaborate (not just by talking, but on food, transportation and childcare — there doesn’t seem to have been a reason for two separate sets of childcare options).

We respect the charter community, as well as its students, teachers, and parents.  We welcome them to the conversation.

 
We admire the dedication they have to their schools and realize that dedication was earned. The charter community showed up to support its schools because these schools are working for them. That’s obvious, and it is something we celebrate with them.

At no point have we ever suggested that the district close down charters schools in East Nashville. In fact, we have made it very clear that we support all of our East Nashville schools, from our priority schools, to non-priority schools like Warner and Stratford, to charters like KIPP and Liberty Collegiate, who are as much a part of our community as any other school east of the river.

But the fact is, this doesn’t need to be yet another conversation about charters.

 
We’ve had those conversations in Nashville again and again and come away dumber and dumber each time. Yet, for some reason unknown to us—perhaps because they are winning the debate at the state and local level—they have shut us out of our repeated attempts to collaborate. It appeared from last Tuesday that the folks in the blue shirts want to fan that debate back into flame. We hope that’s not the case.

We want a more interesting dialogue.

 
We want a discussion about all of our East Nashville schools and how we can make sure that they are serving the needs of our children. We aren’t going to accept a top-down plan that throws our schools—all our schools—into a state of panic and chaos. We want a plan that reflects the diverse needs of our East Nashville communities.

How then do we get there? From the very beginning, East Nashville United (and only East Nashville United) has pushed for a community-driven task force to make recommendations to MNPS. We advocated for a position from East Nashville Charter Schools on the task force. We repeat: East Nashville United pushed for a community-driven task force and for a East Nashville Charter School representative on the task force. This is a fact, and cannot be disputed.

On Tuesday, Dr. Register announced that he would be forming such a task force. This was a first step in ensuring that MNPS devises an effective, thoughtful plan for our schools—and not a collection of slogans disguised as policy. We have more work to do in ensuring that our task force has the time and resources necessary to do its job, but we’re making progress. Over the next few weeks, you can expect to see us at neighborhood meetings, football games, and walking your streets talking about schools.

We renew again our invitation to the charter school community to join us—and build on what we have already accomplished.
We have done this privately with very little success. We will continue to do so in spite of the roadblocks.  We want a genuine conversation about education policy for all schools in East Nashville, and hope that the charter school folks on this side of the river will participate. We know they love their schools; we hope they’ll spread the love for the rest of the schools in East Nashville as well.

We can’t afford to waste time on petty squabbles about who said what on facebook, or what rumor is floating around the East side.

The children in our schools need the help of their community–ALL of their community–and we must answer that call, before any more time is lost.

Practice Practice Practice


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Get "Building the Machine" for Every Parent, Educator, and Student Group in America

Building the Machine brings to light new understanding of Common Core that I have not encountered before.  New degrees of deception are laid bare, and a range of implications are explored in a finely-edited and dark-toned piece of documentary filmmaking. The film comes in an extended 3 DVD set that includes original documentary, the parents' interviews, and supplementary episodes on Disc 3 that examine the standards, data mining, national curriculum, and the little-understanding subject of international benchmarking.

My comments are limited to Disc 1.  The first disc runs just over a half hour and would make a fine centerpiece for any PTA or student group meeting.  In introducing both proponents and opponents of Common Core in the intro, the facts to follow become even more devastating as the viewer is allowed to see how good intentions can go so bad and how the corporate machine may easily exploit any good intentions to grow corporate revenue by diverting the river of cash that Americans rain into education each year.

We hear about the cloaking during the early drafts of CC and the truncated response to public comment that never altered the original course.  We hear the shabbiness of the argument that states were involved in decision-making and drafting, when it was only a group of governors and state execs rubber-stamping a process and product that citizens did not even know about.  We hear of how the national standards had to appear as an "immaculate conception" that had no linkages to the Bush I agenda of national curriculum and national testing that was launched during the DC high times of Lamar Alexander and Diane Ravitch.

We hear about the five members of the Validation Committee who refused to sign on even with huge political pressure, and how their names were expunged from the Committee as if they never existed.

We hear about the two months that states had to write Race to the Top grants based on Gates guidance, and how 45 states came to sign on almost overnight to national standards that were being written by David Coleman, Susan Pimentel, and Jason Zimba.

We hear from Stanford mathematician, Jim Milgram and from curriculum expert from Massachusetts, Susan Stotsky, the only two content experts on the Validation Committee.  We find out from Milgram what was to me a most insidious aspect of Common Core for which I was totally unaware.  Hidden within Race to the Top verbiage is a requirement for public colleges in states that sign on the Common Core commitment: No remedial courses for credit will be allowed in state colleges and universities.  What this will do, of course, is drive down the quality of the courses to fit where students are whose preparation remains affected by underfunded schools, racism, and poverty.  This, in turn, will open the pubic colleges to criticism and failure labeling, which, in turn, will drive the corporate PR campaign to privatize public colleges and universities.

The insanity of having a single test to measure preparedness for college and careers is also explored in some detail.  The bottom line, of course, is that you end up with a test and and test-based curriculum that does neither.  Those not interested in college will drop out in larger numbers from high school, and those headed to college will only be prepared for 3rd and 4th tier institutions.

The last part of Part I examines the absurdity and dangers of central education planning for a nation so vast and diverse.  As one Chicago teacher suggests, the race we are in, if there is one, should be to keep democracy alive and ahead of capitalism.

All three discs are available for under 30 dollars with shipping.  A final note: the documentary is funded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.  Why, you ask?  Because home schoolers know, too, that with Common Core tests becoming college entrance tests, then their children will be forced into the same mold.  For those phony federalists like Lamar Alexander and his fans who remain advocates for a neo-stalinist approach to education, all I can say is get your head out of your ass: there will be no voluntary local adoption when there is no choice.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Deasy Gone: Good Riddance

When you have go so low in the barrel as to pull up the scumbag, Steve Barr, to say something good about John Deasy, you know things could not get much worse for the oligarchs' agenda.  And so another Broad alum meets a fitting end.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ProPublica Must Read Reporting on NC Charter Scam

A clip:
. . . .Mitchell’s schools are also distinguished from public schools by their different tone. Staff and students pledge to avoid errors that arise from “the comfort of popular opinion and custom,” “compromise,” and “over-reliance on rational argument.” Students must vow “to be obedient and loyal to those in authority, in my family, in my school, and in my community and country, so long as I shall live.”

The schools also use a rigid instructional approach in which teachers stick to a script and drill students repeatedly through call and response. Latin is taught as early as elementary school.

Mitchell’s company has managed the schools’ staffs with similar rigor. A strong sense of hierarchy took root as the schools expanded. When a new corporate office was built to house the management company, teachers jokingly began calling it the “White House.”

From the “White House,” Mitchell and other top administrators could watch teachers in their classrooms via surveillance cameras installed in every classroom, in every school.
During a tour of school grounds with this reporter, Mitchell and the school’s IT director discussed surveillance software called iSpy. “We need to call it something else,” Mitchell offered with a chuckle. “Call it iHelp or something.” Mitchell said the cameras give administrators the ability to observe teachers in action and offer them tips and coaching.

As Mitchell was looking to expand his enterprise in the mid-2000s, he ran into a roadblock. North Carolina, like many states, had been cautious when it first allowed charter schools and had placed a cap on their growth.

By the time Mitchell applied in 2007 to open a charter school in Duplin County, the state was nearing that cap—and his plans fell through when the State Board of Education, deciding among three charter applicants, chose the other two schools to fill the spots remaining that year.

Mitchell wanted to get rid of the cap. Restrictions were being lifted or eliminated in many states, thanks to lobbying from the charter sector and to federal incentives set up by the Obama administration, which awarded states money based in part on their openness to charter schools. Mitchell and others favoring charters pushed for North Carolina lawmakers to follow suit.

In 2011, they got what he wanted. . . .

Haslam Gives Corporate Reform Schools 9 More in Memphis

Although the all-important state tests show TN's Achievement School District has the lowest and the lowest scores of any schools in Memphis or elsewhere in the state, the corporate swindlers are lined up to receive 9 more schools next fall from skinhead ASD superintendent, Chris Barbic. 

But then, we know these school conversions to chain gangs have never been about "achievement" at all but, rather, about the iron-fisted paternalistic control and humiliation of the children of the poor.  It is about the poors' cultural sterilization and behavioral neutering, so that will grow up smiling, self-blaming, and brainwashed to believe anything their white handlers tell them. 

No public school would ever be allowed to do to these children what the KIPPs, Aspires, and Rocketships do behind closed doors without public oversight.  And no middle class child would ever be subjected to such treatment as is regularly meted out in the total compliance corporate segregation camps that our state and federal governments have given their stamps of approval.  The shame of the nation continues unabated.

When will the age of open bigots like Marshall Tuck holding education positions end?

"You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens?
Those brown kids change the world." — Sherman Alexie

There should be no space in education for bigots like Marshall Tuck, Tom Horne, and John Huppenthal

California might be poised to take Arizona's crown for having an unabashed white supremacist in the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI). Arizona, which had back-to-back SSPI bigots in Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, apparently served as a longtime model for California based business-banker-cum-school-CEO Marshall Tuck. Horne and Huppenthal both lost their respective offices this year, but not before doing unconscionable damage to both Arizona schools, and the psyches of countless children of color.

The parallels between Eli Broad trained Tuck and the recently deposed Arizona reactionaries are striking. Take Huppenthal's stance on languages other than English:

"We all need to stomp out balkanization. No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv stations, no spanish newspapers. This is America, speak English."

Los Angeles Students and Community Protesting Marshall Tuck's racist decision to kill Ethnic Studies at Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Photo by Robert D. Skeels.
Students Protesting Marshall Tuck's racist decision to kill Ethnic Studies. Photo by Robert D. Skeels.

Compare Huppenthal's hate speech to one of Tuck's many hostile acts against Spanish speakers when he was "CEO" of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS).

In the following year, we witnessed Spanish language signage on the campus disappear. Bilingual restrooms, parent center, nurses office signs were all replaced with English-only signs.

Marshall Tuck was equally responsible for removing the renowned Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP) at Ritter, a program with a nation-wide reputation for addressing the needs of Standard English Learners.

Tuck was able to accomplish in praxis the very things that Huppenthal was so keen to express in theory. In addition to these colonizers' battles against languages other than English, Tuck and his Arizona counterparts waged open war on any curricula that didn't celebrate "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy". In Arizona it was manifested as this:

Tom Horne and John Huppenthal's racist HB 2281, which, among other things, banned Ethnic Studies in Arizona schools.

In Los Angeles, it looks like this:

The initial decision was surreptitiously announced by one of Villaraigosa's education henchman, ex-Green Dot Schools Corporation flunky Marshall Tuck. Tuck has been PLAS' CEO since the privately managed organization began. Eliminating the only Ethnic Studies program at Santee High School is tantamount to cultural sterilization.

There are certain wealthy white actors that admire how Tuck eliminated Ethnic Studies Programs. Given the growing local community movements for Ethnic Studies as a K-12 graduation requirement, Dax Shepard and Tuck's troglodyte views against these important programs are fortunately in the waning minority.

Ultimately we must remember that the Tucks, Huppenthals, and Hornes of this neoliberal era are chosen by those ruling the corporate state for a reason, and that is that they reflect the ideology of those rulers. Dr. Rodolfo Acuña writes of one such racist (Michael Hicks), who can stand in for anyone mentioned in this essay:

"He mirrors those in power who have media consultants that filter their words. They are the biggest threat to traditions of free speech that made this country different."

The names behind neoliberal corporate education reform, specifically the Broad/Gates/Walton triumvirate, are the root cause of the disease. Tuck is just a symptom. We can only hope that Californian voters see through the fortunes and lies backing him, and send him on the same path as his fellow racists Horne and Huppenthal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Test Prep U. Will Run U of Memphis Program for Segregated Teacher Preparation

From the Memphis Corporate Appeal:
. . . .The program is scheduled to start next fall in classes taught by Relay Graduate School of Education, a New York nonprofit organization that offers master’s degrees to meet “today’s urgent demand for effective teachers,” according to its website.

Relay was founded by a group of charter schools and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corp. and others. Neither The New Teacher Project nor Relay would respond to a reporter’s questions. . . .
Well, that's part of the story.  Per usual, Gates' reporter on the scene, Jane Roberts, leaves out a few things about Relay.  Here is some of the rest of the story by Carol Burris, and here is my original post from 2011 on Relay's teacher prep for segregated corporate reform schools:
re lay: an electromagnetic device for remote or automatic control that is actuated by variation in conditions of an electric circuit and that operates in turn other devices (as switches) in the same or a different circuit.
If you consider it either ridiculous, dangerous, unethical, unscientific, or simply stupid to fire and hire teachers based on gains or losses among invalid and non-reliable student test scores, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Last Fall when the Oligarchs convened the leaders of the lonely hearts club of teacher accreditation outfits known as NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) to declare that teacher education needed to "incubate a whole new form of teacher education," those of us familiar with NCATE's fealty to the Business Roundtable knew something big was in the warmer. 
Now we know.  The first hatchling is christenend the Relay School of Education, a creation of political hack, David Steiner, who has created the neo-eugenics corporate model for training educational technicians to program poor children so that they can pass tests.   Bloomberg and Tisch, in turn, made Steiner New York's ED Commissioner, whose office just recently voted unanimously to approve the new school in a market already saturated by other programs. 
What makes Relay (think "remote or automatic control") a uniquely monstrous offspring of teacher education is that degrees are only awarded to those candidates whose student test scores show a year's worth of gains during the year that candidates are learning to teach on poor people's children.  Those who get their degrees based on student test scores, then, go into schools with the unquestioning acceptance of test scores as the only reason for schools or teachers to exist.  Flip the switch! 
This new model was designed with the KIPP/TFA ethos of anti-cultural imperialism by white elites clearly in mind.  In fact, KIPP co-founder, David Levin, is one of the three founders of this new Test U, and many of the 200 candidates getting underway this coming Fall will be Wendy Kopp's carefully-recruited Ivy League missionaries. 
So where does NCATE play a role in this fledgling corporation? From Elizabeth Green, who is quickly becoming the Oligarchs' go-to-girl to get their stories into print:
Teacher U [Relay School of Education] has received praise at the national level, including from a group that has defended traditional schools of education in the past: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. James Cibulka, the president of NCATE, submitted a letter to the Regents endorsing the Teacher U team’s application, citing a recent report by NCATE that cited Teacher U as an “exemplar” of needed efforts to “turn teacher education in the United States ‘upside down.’”
Yes, yes, upside down.  No evaluators sent out yet, but Cibulka knows quality before he sees it, apparently.  So top-heavy with cash, how could they fail to capsize teacher education!  In fact, one of the other three founders of Test U, aka Relay School of Education, is none other than hedge fund mogul, Larry "L-Train" Robbins. 
"L-Train Robbins"
It's worth recalling that everyone was not out to lunch on the eminent explosion of the bulging home mortgage bubble in 2008, leaving Wall Street in shambles and the hedge funders and other casino capitalist rats swimming for their offshore bank accounts.  Larry "L-Train" Robbins was one of those seers from the inside, who had the uncanny ability to make money when everyone else was taking a hit. 
When a Fortune Magazine interviewer in late 2007 asked L-Train how his Glenview Capital hedge fund was up 20 percent for the year when some other funds were getting creamed, part of his answer offered this clue:
  . . . . Second, we've maintained a short position in mortgages since late 2006. That gave us a hedge against liquidity contraction and it gave us early and valuable insights into the consumer lending market and its deteriorating conditions
Now we know the Fed could not have known was was going on because Greenspan said so, right?, or certainly not the media or anyone who read Fortune Magazine in 2007, but the L-Train had some remarkable insight, you might say. With quality leadership by such civic-minded swine, how can Test U fail? 
By the time David Steiner has completed his mission in Albany, Relay will likely have an endowed chair waiting for him.  Will they call it the Frederick Winslow Taylor Endowed Chair of Educational Efficiency?  Sounds good, doesn't it?