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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fryer and Rhee Teaching Children to Demand: Show Me the Money

Hoping to further his "research" on how to instill rat learning in children with ca$sh rewards, crackpot economist-cum-education-researcher, Roland Fryer, has brought some of Eli Broad's bags of money to the D.C. area for another grand experiment on unwary middle schoolers. Michelle Rhee, of course, is in for a million + with D.C. education funds.

Operating under the appellation of the American Inequality Lab (AIL), Fryer and his paymasters are on their way to finding a prominent place in the dustbin of discarded educational atrocities against the poor, if and when people eventually wake up to this kind of Wall Street-inspired corruption of children. The name for this exploitation: Capital Gains.

What are children learning? To show up on time and keep their mouths shut, of course. Seems to me that Broad and the rest of the social entrepeneurial tax cheats who advocate this kind of experimentation on children could save a bunch of money simply by getting rid of school, altogether, and giving all these children jobs now rather than later stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or emptying garbage cans at the mall. But, then, I guess I am missing the whole point of going to school.

Clips from WaPo:

. . . . The $2.7 million for the program has already been set aside, half coming from the District and the rest from a grant to Harvard by the Broad Foundation.

Those who forgot that yesterday was day one picked up on it quickly. In Meredith Leonard's sixth-grade English class, there was the usual low-level din until she issued the reminder.

Silence blanketed the room, she said. "Everybody was in awe."

Under Capital Gains, every two weeks, students will be scored on 10-point scales according to a series of performance indicators. All schools in the program are required to review behavior and attendance, which means showing up on time for every class. Individual schools can choose other criteria, including grades, homework, class participation and adherence to the dress code. Each point is worth $2. . . .

. . . . For the first two pay periods, beginning Oct. 17, checks will be distributed by school staff. Later, they will be deposited directly into student-owned savings accounts at SunTrust Bank. Students will be able to access the money with or without their parents, and no one can withdraw money without the child, officials said.

Each school has a program coordinator, officials said, who will be responsible for ensuring that no student withdraws money under duress. "We can arrange for appropriate responses on a case-by-case basis," said Dena Iverson, spokeswoman for Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

Betts and his staff did a two-week trial run this month to give teachers practice with the scoring system and to give students an idea of what would be expected to earn points. He said that the sixth- and seventh-graders were "right into it" and that attendance and punctuality ticked up. Grades did not.

Eighth-graders, he said, are "crafty folk" and are likely to wait until the program ramps up before they make many changes. "They're like 'Jerry Maguire': 'Show me the money,' " he said.

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