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

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Thursday, September 09, 2010

No Takers on My Offer of $100? Grayson, Kuster? Anyone?

I am getting all sorts of solicitations from Alan Grayson, ann Kuster, and others, all asking for money.  I don't have much money, but I have enough to offer the first 10 candidates who say yes a hundred dollars each.  As before, here is the deal:
I know, a hundred bucks is a drop in the big corporate bucket, but if the 35,000+ souls who signed the Educator Roundtable petition would make a similar commitment, then we could be talking some serious contribuing power.

The new PDK/Gallup Poll is out, and it has some good information for any politician who cares about what the public thinks.  We know that the Oligarchs don't care--they would not be trying to privatize public education and the teaching profession if they cared what the public thinks.

Here is the deal that I will make with the first ten politiicans aspiring to win or retain a U. S.  House or U. S. Senate seat who are willing to support the following positions.   An email from your office with your signature in support of these postions gets a $100 check from me.  Ready?

While only 13% of Americans surveyed would choose to close a poor-performing school in their neighborhood and reopen it as a charter school, 54% would "keep the school open with existing teachers and principal and provide comprehensive outside support."  Would you work to advance federal education policy that is consistent with these positions?

While 28% and 19% of Americans surveyed would have the federal government set education standards and decide what is taught, respectively, 69% and 80% would have education standards and what is taught decided at the state or local levels.  Would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

While only 22% of Americans surveyed view No Child Left Behind as helping the public schools in their communities, 73% believe NCLB is hurting their local schools or making no difference in their local schools.  Would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

While 23% of Americans surveyed would grade the school they know most about, the one their oldest child attends, with a C, D, or F (only 1% F), the corporate reformers who run the U. S. Department of Education have declared an education crisis that requires turning public schools upside down or privatizing them.  Even so, 77% of Americans would give the public school their oldest child attends an A or a B.  Would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

While only 6% of Americans surveyed view the implementation of standardized testing/grading as the way school could earn an "A," 34 percent believe the best way for a school to earn an A is to improve teaching. Last year in 2009, when the PDK poll asked Americans if they believed in "relaxing  teacher education and certification plans so more people could qualify to teach these subjects," 71% said NO.  Would you work, then, to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

In 1990, 51% of Americans surveyed would like to have a one of their children to become a teacher in the public schools. In 2010 that 67% of Americans would like to have a child "take up teaching."  Today 71% " trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools."  Despite the fact that the corporate education reform machine that runs ED spends overtime bashing teachers, criticizing their professionalism, and trying to embarrass them, would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions offered by the PDK/Gallup survey?

While only 13% of Americans surveyed see the primary purpose of evaluating teachers as "establishing their salaries based upon their skills," 60% of Americans believe the primary purpose of teacher evaluation is "helping them improve their ability to teach." Would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

The vast majority of Americans, 76% reject the notion of paying students for good behavior or grades.  Would you work to advance education policy that is consistent with these positions?

The history of public attitudes in the PDK poll toward charter schools has been up and down and then up again. This year support has edged up to 68%.  Even so, what the public knows about charter schools remains wildly uncertain.  Last year in the 2009 PDK survey, for instance, a majority of 51% believed that charter schools are not public schools and 57% thought that charter schools charged tuition.  Almost half (46%) believed charter schools are free to teach religion.

So it is clear from what Americans say that there is widespread confusion about the nature and function of charter schools.  That being the case, would you work to educate the public about charter schools and how they affect public school funding, and would your advance education policy that is consistent with the most reliable research findings on the value of charter schools when compared to student performance in public schools and when the negative social and pedagogical effects (segregation and test prep) of charter schools are taken into account?

Click chart from 2009 PDK survey to enlarge.

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