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

Friday, January 16, 2009

Duncan Uses Citizen's Briefing Book to Advance Business Roundtable Agenda

The Obama Team has up a website called Citizen's Briefing Book. According to the site, ideas can be entered, and others can vote the idea up (+ 10 points) or down (-10 points):
Share your ideas on any issue facing the new administration, then rate or comment on other ideas. The best rated ideas will be gathered into a Citizen's Briefing Book to be delivered to President Obama after he is sworn in.
I spent some time on this site, and below are the ideas related to education that were ranked between 910 points to 54,900 points. There are over a hundred other ideas with a lower ranking than 910. And please note that the idea, "Eliminate No Child Left Behind," has 1050 points but is not listed in this grouping of "Popular Ideas." (In order to find it, in fact, you have to search the phrase, "Eliminate No Child Left Behind"). On the other hand, the idea, "Reform No Child Left Behind (NCLB)" has fewer points (1100) and is included in the Popular Ideas. Hmm--those algorithms can be so picky.

The Briefing Book is a great idea if it works to actually affect decision making, and only time will tell that. The NCLB "eliminate" vs. "reform" business just cited does not bode well for a transparent process. But that shortcoming is insignificant in comparison to how the Secretary Designate is using the Citizen's Briefing Book. So far, the Briefing Book has been turned into a scam to promote the Duncan (Business Roundtable) agenda, which has nothing to do with what citizens are suggesting to improve education.

In Duncan's first YouTube comments (see below) on what he is hearing from the citizens who care enough to write down their education ideas, he opens with this as #1:
" First there has been a series of folks who are interested in looking at alternate routes into the teaching profession. That's something I'm actually a big fan of . . . over the past five years, I think we brought 1,200 new teachers into the Chicago Public Schools through alternative certification routes."
Now I can assure you that the "series of folks" interested in alternative routes to teaching are not among those who are writing ideas into the "Briefing Book." I could not find any idea, in fact, on alternate routes to teaching or alternate certification or anything related under teacher preparation that had more than a couple of comments and very few points. Duncan is using the Briefing Book as an entry point to continue the propagandizing for the BR agenda that he began in Chicago under Daley. And with Wendy Kopp's name being floated for a top job with Duncan, it would make sense for him to begin to soften the ground for the cheap solution to the urban teacher issue: a ready supply of non-professional, inexpensive, temporary, issue-ignorant, enthused, malleable, patronizing, and privileged lasses who will not hang around long enough to be overly concerned with benefits or rights.

Duncan's second issue pick relates to an actual idea from the Most Popular List--a greater emphasis on vocational education. Some serious fact-checking is needed, however, on Duncan's claim that at there is a vast shortage of skilled blue collar workers. Perhaps this will prove true if any money from the bailout actually goes to rebuild infrastructure after the banks' stolen cash is replaced.

And the third idea that Duncan pulls is student loan forgiveness, which is a ways down the list from the public's more popular ideas, which are listed here, even though they have escaped the attention apparently of the Secretary Designate, who has much bigger fish to fry and many fewer people to listen to with ideas that are worth a whole lot more.

This is a ranked list rom the most "Popular Ideas" that are related to education:

54,900 An end to the government sponsored abstinence education to be replaced by an introduction of age appropriate sex education

22670 Encourage Trade Schools

12970 Establish a Free Online Educational System for the Working Poor!

9980 Encourage Science and Technology

9850 Healthy Kids Learn Better

9080 Focus on the Art and Creativity


7270 Libraries of all types need our support

4790 Create an online E-Library

3900 Renew US leadership in education

3730 Return Civics Education to the Schools

3170 Money Management Taught in Public Schools

2900 National Service for College Students

1980 Financial Literacy Programs

1870 A New Curriculum

1690 Reclaiming America's Status as Science and Engineering Leader

1560 Studen [sic] Loan Help

1350 Re-introduce civics as a standard in high school education. Understanding

the constitution is fundamental to enforcing the constitution.

1330 STOP COLLEGE TEXTBOOK PRICE-GOUGING - help our students by reforming system!

1240 Solar and Wind Powered Schools

1210 Invest in Education (teacher pay)

1140 America needs more Doctors, Scientists and Engineers to solve today's and tomorrow's problems.

1140 No Child Left Inside - Promote Environmental Education

1120 Stop the privatization of public works

1120 Green Textbooks

1100 Reform No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

1050 Include teachers in educational decision making

1030 Financial Literacy and Budgeting in Education

1020 Public School Gardens

990 Expand Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

950 Foreign languages should be an integral part of American education.

920 Cost of Education

910 Stop Credit card companies from taking advantage of college students

At least a hundred other ideas fall between 910 and 40 in the "Popular Idea" section, which is where I found this, the closest thing I could find that has anything to do with teacher qualification:
40 Teacher Qualifications
No degrees in education as a qualification for teaching. Prospective teachers must have a master's degree in their chosen field. Learning to be an educator is another, further step in the quest to be a teacher.
Finally, I found what is probably the least popular education idea:
-240 Abandoning public education
Too bad that the Business Roundtable, the ed industry, and Arne Duncan don't feel the same way.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:18 AM

    This is very interesting blog . I just wanted to say thanks you for writing and giving your knowledge to such an informative helpful blog.
    So thanks!