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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How Duncan's RTTT Became Your New NCLB

During the reign of Bush II, NCLB was typically underfunded by $6-8 billion per year while unfunded mandates piled up for states and municipalities, so much so that by the time of the Wall Street heist in 2008, public education coffers were hollow. Now they are bare. Taking advantage of the public funding crisis, then, will be the centerpiece of the new oligarch-inspired RTTT (Race to the Trough), which will pit states against one another in a contest to see how fast they will approve policies that are intended to hand over public education to corporate management by selling out public institutions.

For instance, states like Massachusetts have taken the Gates Foundation grantwriters' advice for getting some of the bribe money by passing a law to double the number of segregated charter school test camps, where collective bargaining will be replaced by CEO control and teacher standards will be further weakened and the curriculums will become a corporate script, all in the name of "innovation." In the meantime, the public schools will lose about $12,000 for each student who enters the new apartheid containment camps. Here is a clip from a news article on the new laws and new policies in which Governor Patrick argues that the real problem is poverty, not teachers. His solution to the problem of poverty? Change teacher work rules:

The governor also responded to criticism that the legislation places too much emphasis on test scores and chastises teachers by letting superintendents go around union contracts in some cases.

“First, I don’t think teachers are the problem, I think poverty is the problem,” Patrick stated. “And in those rare circumstances where the work rules get in the way of doing what’s necessary to reach the kids who are struggling, then the work rules get relaxed. It’s as simple as that. It’s not about a critique on the profession of teaching, or on unions for that matter. Indeed, the union leadership was responsible for shaping much of this bill. But our focus is on the children and it has to be on the children, first, last and always.”

The education package was pushed through the House and Senate swiftly, in part to meet a deadline for possible federal money. . . .

So we are supposed to believe that the teachers' union crafted this corporate welfare plan and that these new testing policies and teacher policing policies will end poverty? Apparently something happens to the executive logic functions during the process of being assimilated by the Business Roundtable.

Where is Duncan on the new developments? Ed Week reports that, during a Q&A with mayors, Louisville Mayor, Jerry Abramson, had the audacity to ask a question related to Duncan's new segregation "incent" plan:

Jerry Abramson, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., asked how the Education Department plans to encourage districts to create racial diversity in their schools. He made reference to a landmark 2007 U.S. Supreme Court case in which his local school district was a defendant, Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education. In its decision, the court barred districts from using race as the primary factor in assigning individual students to schools. ("Louisville District Unveils New Student-Assignment Plan," Feb. 6, 2008.)

“You can’t put a price” on the value of ensuring that students get a chance to attend school in a diverse environment, Secretary Duncan said. He said the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights had been “to say the very least, underutilized over the last eight years,” an apparent reference to President George W. Bush’s tenure.

But he said that department officials, including Russlyn H. Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights, and Charlie Rose, the department’s general counsel, are now considering next steps on the diversity issue. He wasn’t specific about their plans, though. . . .

Apparently, there are only hundreds of millions in grants for weakening teacher standards and collective bargaining, strengthening the stranglehold of high stakes tests, and building data surveillance systems. Not a penny in grants to encourage diversity programs or integration plans.

Diversity? Priceless. For everything else, there is a Duncan bribe.

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