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

Monday, October 10, 2005

Reading First Thugs Under Investigation

Even as Connie Briggs is paying the price (for now at least) for her outspoken crititcism of the strong arm tactics by the corporate socialists in charge at US DoE, USA Today reports of U. S. Senators of both parties meeting this week to request an investigation of Reading First from the GAO.

While they are at it, perhaps they will have a look at NCS Pearson, Inc., the education testing outfit with ties to Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and other regular cronies at the feeding trough in Washington. Yesterday, we found buried on A16 of the Washington Post, this story about Pearson's entry into other markets with the testing of air marshall candidates following 9-11. That kind of out-of-field favoritism would not be remarkable except for the fact that several hundred million dollars (343 million of them) were apparently spent in posh hotels across the country, where Pearson set up testing facilities to screen candidates. From the Post:
By March 29, 2002, the decision had been made to start using hotels. Within months, the program would include some of the nation's finest. Among them: the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan; the Hawk's Cay Resort in Duck Key, Fla.; the Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa in Telluride, Colo.

Does this sound like an echo (see The Nation piece) from another meeting several years ago to celebrate the new ed reforms in the works, just after Bush took office:

[N]ot surprisingly, the Bush legislation has ardent supporters in the testing and textbook publishing industries. Only days after the 2000 election, an executive for publishing giant NCS Pearson addressed a Waldorf ballroom filled with Wall Street analysts. According to Education Week, the executive displayed a quote from President-elect Bush calling for state testing and school-by-school report cards, and announced, "This almost reads like our business plan." The bill has allotted $387 million to get states up to speed; the National Association of State Boards of Education estimates that properly funding the testing mandate could cost anywhere from $2.7 billion to $7 billion.


  1. There's an article in today's NYT Metro section "Financial Woes Worsening at State's Public Universities."

    One can't help but wonder what could be done with the billions of dollars slated for more and more testing. This country is testing itself to death - literally.

    A few years ago, when I returned to UMASS in Amherst and to Rutgers, two state universities that I attended in the late 70's, early 80's, the deterioration in the physical grounds and the buildings was strikingly noticeable. It appears the war on public schools and everything else public, extends to higher ed as well. As tuition rises at public universities because of a lack of funding, will they too become a bastion for the rich and privileged?

    Traveling around with my daughter to visit private and public colleges and universities last year, I felt like I was visiting the two Americas.

    BTW, the new library at Monmouth is awesome. Wonder what's happening with the library at CUNY, Rutgers and UMASS?

    Let's pour billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into testing poor kids - who will never even be able to afford to go to college -- no matter how high their scores are -- that's what I call closing the achievement gap.


  2. I too felt that familiar nausea when I read the article on Pearson, a leading educational testing company with reported insestuous ties to McGraw-Hill finding yet another source of monumental financial gains..resourceful, aren't they??

    In the same vent, take look at this website on the PBS special ( http://www.pbs.org/makingschoolswork/index.html ) on public education.

    This entire project is a slanted piece of propoganda...and no surprises there--look at the supporters.

    Since McGraw-Hill used their pr people to publicize this show, I looked and looked for their mention but I suppose their interests are hidden in the pockets of these supporting foundations.

    See for yourself the "objective" information PBS offers with this "documentary" ( read: political-edumercial )

    This superintendent is currently "moving on up"... to Harvard--http://www.pbs.org/makingschoolswork/dwr/nc/smith.html

    smith interview:

    Eric Smith: I'm a huge advocate of No Child Left Behind. I think it's the only answer for America. I think that there is some fine-tuning that obviously needs to be done but in general it is absolutely right on target.

    I think one of the greatest assets of No Child Left Behind is that it's added to the nature of the work that we're already doing in Charlotte, the issue of special education, of special needs children. And I think that the work that's going on in America now around how you bring quality education to special needs children, how do you intervene in a way to avoid children ever being stuffed into special ed. is going to prove to be one of the greatest legacies of No Child Left Behind.

    Eric Smith: It's extraordinarily risky to take a bold strategy in a school district and very difficult. You have to have some political backing with you. You've got to have people that are willing to go through the tough fight before you see the results. It's very challenging. The more political a school district is the more difficult it is for superintendents to lead with the expectation of dramatic progress. In Charlotte, I was very fortunate to have the support of the business community, the support of the faith community and the support of some key parents in Charlotte, too, to allow the district really enough time to make the progress we needed.

    ...take a look at the foundations who supported this venture:


    Ford Foundation funded the research and development of Making Schools Work, and is the primary contributor to the production of the program as well as to media promotion, advertising and outreach. The Ford Foundation has four fundamental goals: to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. In education, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase educational access and quality for the disadvantaged, to educate new leaders and thinkers and to foster knowledge and curriculum supportive of inclusion, development and civic life. The foundation also supports free and responsible media that addresses important civic and social issues as well as high-quality productions that enrich public dialogue on such core issues as building democratic values and pluralism.

    The Broad Foundation contributed to the production of Making Schools Work. Founded in 1999 by Eli and Edythe Broad, its mission is to dramatically improve urban public education through better governance, management and labor relations. The goals of the Broad Foundation are to train a broad, deep bench of current and aspiring leaders in education; to redefine the traditional roles, practices and policies of school board members, superintendents, principals and labor union leaders to better address contemporary challenges in education; to attract and retain the highest quality talent to leadership roles in education; to equip school systems and their leaders with modern tools for effective management; to provide tangible incentives for educators to advance academic performance; and to honor and showcase success wherever it occurs in urban education.

    Carnegie Corporation of New York contributed to the production of Making Schools Work, and funded the design and development of the show's web site. The foundation was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 and seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in this world." Andrew Carnegie's charge that the Corporation dedicate itself to the “advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding” has led it, over nearly 100 years of work, to support efforts to improve teaching and learning that have the potential to make a lasting and long-term contribution to the field of education.

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded the production of spin-off programs by PBS stations and much of the outreach for Making Schools Work. CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 to facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, non-commercial high-quality programming and telecommunications services. The fundamental purpose of public telecommunications is to provide programs and services that inform, enlighten and enrich the public. While these programs and services are provided to enhance the knowledge and citizenship, and inspire the imagination of all Americans, the Corporation has particular responsibility to encourage the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities.

    The Spencer Foundation contributed to the production of Making Schools Work. Established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer, the Spencer Foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to improve education. It is thus committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.

    ...follow the links for more about how these business magnates plan to "fix" our schools.

  3. insest=incest (sorry)