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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Relay School of Education: The New Test U School of Penal Pedagogy for the Poor

re lay: an electromagnetic device for remote or automatic control that is actuated by variation in conditions of an electric circuit and that operates in turn other devices (as switches) in the same or a different circuit.

If you consider it either ridiculous, dangerous, unethical, unscientific, or simply stupid to fire and hire teachers based on gains or losses among invalid and non-reliable student test scores, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Last Fall when the Oligarchs convened the leaders of the lonely hearts club of teacher accreditation outfits known as NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) to declare that teacher education needed to "incubate a whole new form of teacher education," those of us familiar with NCATE's fealty to the Business Roundtable knew something big was in the warmer.

Now we know.  The first hatchling is christenend the Relay School of Education, a creation of political hack, David Steiner, who has created the neo-eugenics corporate model for training educational technicians to program poor children so that they can pass tests.   Bloomberg and Tisch, in turn, made Steiner New York's ED Commissioner, whose office just recently voted unanimously to approve the new school in a market already saturated by other programs.

What makes Relay (think "remote or automatic control") a uniquely monstrous offspring of teacher education is that degrees are only awarded to those candidates whose student test scores show a year's worth of gains during the year that candidates are learning to teach on poor people's children.  Those who get their degrees based on student test scores, then, go into schools with the unquestioning acceptance of test scores as the only reason for schools or teachers to exist.  Flip the switch!

This new model was designed with the KIPP/TFA ethos of anti-cultural imperialism by white elites clearly in mind.  In fact, KIPP co-founder, David Levin, is one of the three founders of this new Test U, and many of the 200 candidates getting underway this coming Fall will be Wendy Kopp's carefully-recruited Ivy League missionaries.

So where does NCATE play a role in this fledgling corporation? From Elizabeth Green, who is quickly becoming the Oligarchs' go-to-girl to get their stories into print:
Teacher U [Relay School of Education] has received praise at the national level, including from a group that has defended traditional schools of education in the past: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. James Cibulka, the president of NCATE, submitted a letter to the Regents endorsing the Teacher U team’s application, citing a recent report by NCATE that cited Teacher U as an “exemplar” of needed efforts to “turn teacher education in the United States ‘upside down.’”
Yes, yes, upside down.  No evaluators sent out yet, but Cibulka knows quality before he sees it, apparently.  So top-heavy with cash, how could they fail to capsize teacher education!  In fact, one of the other three founders of Test U, aka Relay School of Education, is none other than hedge fund superstar, Larry "L-Train" Robbins.

It's worth recalling that everyone was not out to lunch on the eminent explosion of the bulging home mortgage bubble in 2008, leaving Wall Street in shambles and the hedge funders and other casino capitalist rats swimming for their offshore bank accounts.  Larry "L-Train" Robbins was one of those seers from the inside, who had the uncanny ability to make money when everyone else was taking a hit.

When a Fortune Magazine interviewer in late 2007 asked L-Train how his Glenview Capital hedge fund was up 20 percent for the year when some other funds were getting creamed, part of his answer offered this clue:
  . . . . Second, we've maintained a short position in mortgages since late 2006. That gave us a hedge against liquidity contraction and it gave us early and valuable insights into the consumer lending market and its deteriorating conditions
Now we know the Fed could not have known was was going on because Greenspan said so, right?, or certainly not the media or anyone who read Fortune Magazine in 2007, but the L-Train had some remarkable insight, you might say. With quality leadership by such civic-minded swine, how can Test U fail?

By the time David Steiner has completed his mission in Albany, Relay will likely have an endowed chair waiting for him.  Will they call it the Frederick Winslow Taylor Endowed Chair of Educational Efficiency?  Sounds good, doesn't it?

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