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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Christie Hogs Spotlight at a Very Friendly Harvard GSE

The same day that the Globe was telling the story of 50 Harvard doctoral students protesting the takeover of the Graduate School of Education by technocrats, economists, and other corporate water carriers for the Oligarchs, the School warmly welcomed the nation's most morbidly obese bully governor to belch his rapacious poison against his own teachers, who until now, have helped New Jersey attain top five status in terms of NAEP results.  But all that matters not a whit, as New Jersey's militantly-ignorant governor has made clear through his first fumbling Secretary of Education, Mr. Schundler, who said publicly that NAEP scores were irrelevant.

Since that utterance, we have come to understand the profound honesty of those fool remarks, for NAEP results or nothing else matters in the continuing assault by the corporate Borg, of which Christie is a supersized chunk, an assault on collective bargaining and on the teaching profession.  Christie is the doublewide poster boy for the utter bankruptcy of the low achievement excuse that has been used for the corporate takeover of schools in the past.

Urban America is in the cross-hairs of the Oligarchs, and a hostile corporate occupation is underway in the takeover of schools and the subjugation and containment of urban children in total compliance apartheid KIPP-notizing camps. This is the new eugenics, wherein reproductive sterilization has been replaced by a more nuanced psychological sterilization that leaves children as compliant as Seligman's dogs under the spell of his learned helplessness experiments.

The Mammoth One (photo by Erik Jacobs, NYTimes) did make news yesterday, although it was not news to anyone who knows of the Oligarchs' hostility to publicly-elected school boards (see Arne Duncan).

He [Christie] broke some new ground in saying that he planned to change New Jersey’s system of elected local school boards, though he did not say how. . . .
“They’ll be the next step,” he said. “Even for me there’s just so much you can swallow at one time.”
Hard to believe, indeed.  But we all have confidence in your appetite, Sir--if nothing else.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Diane Ravitch on NPR's Fresh Air


Listen or Download here.

Interview Highlights

On the Obama administration's Race to the Top program
"Race to the Top is an extension of No Child Left Behind. It contains all of the punitive features. It encourages states to have more charter schools. It said, when it invited proposals from states, that you needed to have more charter schools, you needed to have merit pay — which is a terrible idea — you needed to judge teachers by test scores, which is even a worse idea. And you need to be prepared to turn around low-performing schools. So this is what many state legislators adopted hoping to get money from Race to the Top. Only 11 states and the District of Columbia did get that money. These were all bad ideas. They were terrible ideas that won't help schools. They're all schools that work on the free-market model that with more incentives and competition, schools will somehow get better. And the turnaround idea is a particularly noxious idea because it usually means close the school, fire the principal, fire the staff, and then it sets off a game of musical chairs where teachers from one low-performing school are hired at another low-performing school."
On teachers unions
"They're not the problem. The state with the highest scores on the national test, that state is Massachusetts — which is 100 percent union. The nation with the highest scores in the world is Finland, which is 100 percent union. Management and labor can always work together around the needs of children if they're willing to. I think what's happening in Wisconsin and Ohio and Florida and Indiana is very, very conservative right-wing governors want to break the unions because the unions provide support to the Democratic Party. But the unions really aren't the problem in education."
On the film Waiting for Superman
"Waiting for Superman is a pro-privatization propaganda film. I reviewed it in The New York Review of Books and its statistics were wrong, its charges were wrong, it made claims that were unsustainable. One of the charter schools it featured as being a miracle school has an attrition rate of 75 percent. And it made the claim that 70 percent of American eighth-graders read below grade level and that's simply false. ... And the producers of the film are very supportive of vouchers and free-market strategies and everything else. So I think that film has to be taken not just with a grain of salt, but understood to be a pro-privatization film."


Excerpt: 'The Death and Life of the Great American School System'

Diane Ravitch
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education 
By Diane Ravitch
Hardcover, 296 pages
Basic Books
List price: $26.95
In the fall of 2007, I reluctantly decided to have my office repainted. It was inconvenient. I work at home, on the top floor of a nineteenth-century brownstone in Brooklyn. Not only did I have to stop working for three weeks, but I had the additional burden of packing up and removing everything in my office. I had to relocate fifty boxes of books and files to other rooms in the house until the painting job was complete.
After the patching, plastering, and painting was done, I began unpacking twenty years of papers and books, discarding those I no longer wanted, and placing articles into scrapbooks. You may wonder what all this mundane stuff has to do with my life in the education field. I found that the chore of reorganizing the artifacts of my professional life was pleasantly ruminative. It had a tonic effect, because it allowed me to reflect on the changes in my views over the years.
At the very time that I was packing up my books and belongings, I was going through an intellectual crisis. I was aware that I had undergone a wrenching transformation in my perspective on school reform. Where once I had been hopeful, even enthusiastic, about the potential benefits of testing, accountability, choice, and markets, I now found myself experiencing profound skepticism about these same ideas. I was trying to sort through the evidence about what was working and what was not. I was trying to understand why I was increasingly skeptical about these reforms, reforms that I had supported enthusiastically. I was trying to see my way through the blinding assumptions of ideology and politics, including my own. I kept asking myself why I was losing confidence in these reforms. My answer: I have a right to change my mind. Fair enough. But why, I kept wondering, why had I changed my mind? What was the compelling evidence that prompted me to reevaluate the policies I had endorsed many times over the previous decade? Why did I now doubt ideas I once had advocated?
The short answer is that my views changed as I saw how these ideas were working out in reality. The long answer is what will follow in the rest of this book. When someone chastised John Maynard Keynes for reversing himself about a particular economic policy he had previously endorsed, he replied, 'When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?' This comment may or may not be apocryphal, but I admire the thought behind it. It is the mark of a sentient human being to learn from experience, to pay close attention to how theories work out when put into practice.
What should we think of someone who never admits error, never entertains doubt but adheres unflinchingly to the same ideas all his life, regardless of new evidence? Doubt and skepticism are signs of rationality. When we are too certain of our opinions, we run the risk of ignoring any evidence that conflicts with our views. It is doubt that shows we are still thinking, still willing to reexamine hardened beliefs when confronted with new facts and new evidence.
The task of sorting my articles gave me the opportunity to review what I had written at different times, beginning in the mid-1960s. As I flipped from article to article, I kept asking myself, how far had I strayed from where I started? Was it like me to shuffle off ideas like an ill-fitting coat? As I read and skimmed and remembered, I began to see two themes at the center of what I have been writing for more than four decades. One constant has been my skepticism about ill-considered fads, enthusiasms, movements, and theories. The other has been a deep belief in the value of a rich, coherent school curriculum, especially in history and literature, both of which are so frequently ignored, trivialized, or politicized.
Over the years, I have consistently warned against the lure of 'the royal road to learning,' the notion that some savant or organization has found an easy solution to the problems of American education. As a historian of education, I have often studied the rise and fall of grand ideas that were promoted as the sure cure for whatever ills were afflicting our schools and students. In 1907, William Chandler Bagley complained about the 'fads and reforms that sweep through the educational system at periodic intervals.' A few years later, William Henry Maxwell, the esteemed superintendent of schools in New York City, heaped scorn on educational theorists who promoted their panaceas to gullible teachers; one, he said, insisted that 'vertical penmanship' was the answer to all problems; another maintained that recess was a 'relic of barbarism.' Still others wanted to ban spelling and grammar to make school more fun. I have tried to show in my work the persistence of our national infatuation with fads, movements, and reforms, which invariably distract us from the steadiness of purpose needed to improve our schools. In our own day, policymakers and business leaders have eagerly enlisted in a movement launched by free-market advocates, with the support of major foundations. Many educators have their doubts about the slogans and cure-alls of our time, but they are required to follow the mandates of federal law (such as No Child Left Behind) despite their doubts.
In our day, school reformers sometimes resemble the characters in Dr. Seuss's Solla Sollew, who are always searching for that mythical land 'where they never have troubles, at least very few.' Or like Dumbo, they are convinced they could fly if only they had a magic feather. In my writings, I have consistently warned that, in education, there are no shortcuts, no utopias, and no silver bullets. For certain, there are no magic feathers that enable elephants to fly.
As I flipped through the yellowing pages in my scrapbooks, I started to understand the recent redirection of my thinking, my growing doubt regarding popular proposals for choice and accountability. Once again, I realized, I was turning skeptical in response to panaceas and miracle cures. The only difference was that in this case, I too had fallen for the latest panaceas and miracle cures; I too had drunk deeply of the elixir that promised a quick fix to intractable problems. I too had jumped aboard a bandwagon, one festooned with banners celebrating the power of accountability, incentives, and markets. I too was captivated by these ideas. They promised to end bureaucracy, to ensure that poor children were not neglected, to empower poor parents, to enable poor children to escape failing schools, and to close the achievement gap between rich and poor, black and white. Testing would shine a spotlight on low-performing schools, and choice would create opportunities for poor kids to leave for better schools. All of this seemed to make sense, but there was little empirical evidence, just promise and hope. I wanted to share the promise and the hope. I wanted to believe that choice and accountability would produce great results. But over time, I was persuaded by accumulating evidence that the latest reforms were not likely to live up to their promise. The more I saw, the more I lost the faith.
From The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch. Copyright 2010. Excerpted by arrangement with Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Rick Snyder Targets 23 Michigan School Districts for Privatization

If you still know anyone who doubts that handing over our public schools to Wall Streetwalkers is a huge component of of the anti-democracy movement's agenda in the U. S., send them this clip.  No, Jerry Bracey was not a prophet, he had a helluva sense of smell.


Harvard's Ed Doctoral Students Protest Dumping of Social Justice Scholar

When Gary Orfield moved the Civil Rights Project from Harvard to UCLA, that move acknowledged a major shift that had been going on for a long time at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.  Simply put, Harvard's GSE is more aligned today with William Bennett than Harvard alum, William James. 

I congratulate the brave doctoral students who have begun an increasingly vocal protest to call for a return to research on social concerns at Harvard, rather than a laser focus on economic ones.  Doctoral students are also calling for a return to human research using qualitative methods rather than the abstracted empiricism used to dote on the dumbest of data, test scores.  But even more troubling to future scholars at Harvard is the dumping of scholars committed to social justice research agendas.  The latest denial of tenure to Mark Warren was the final straw for doctoral students.

Below is my letter to the Globe reporter, Tracy Jan:

Tracy,

As someone who almost never reads the Globe because it represents the print media version of Harvard's anti-people, anti-public, pro-corporate grad school of education, I have to offer a big thanks to you for your piece today on the doctoral student protests at Harvard regarding the recent refusal of tenure by a noted social justice scholar.  When a friend sent me just the link to the story, I clicked on it thinking that I would see another tribute to education as decided by Oligarchs like Gates and Broad and the Waltons. 

Your piece, however, begins to lay bear some of the dangerous and damaging threats to our democratic aspirations that have reached into the highest levels of organized education--Harvard.  This transition from equity to aggrandizement has been underway for some time, with a number of high-profile professors always at the ready to put the Harvard rubber stamp on the U. S. Chamber of Horror's plans for K-12 education.  We can go all the way back to ideologue, Paul Peterson, whose voucher research (cooked, as it turned out) was used in earlier days to push for school vouchers.  And it still shows up on some reading lists, even though it was properly discredited by real scholars.

The systemic nature of the education takeover by economists and other forms of efficiency zealotry is well underway at Harvard and elsewhere, and this quote from your story says it all--an economist in charge of studying inequality:
In the Graduate School of Education, only about 20 percent of faculty receive tenure, a figure the school is trying to improve through better mentoring, said Bridget Terry Long, a Harvard economist who studies inequality in college access.
Now if you really want to move to a related story, check out the DESE plan to judge the quality of our K-12 teachers on test scores.  You will find all sorts of Harvard connections, from the GSE to the Business School and back again.  . . . . . Try to find something in the Globe about it.  Other than stories that read like press releases from the Boston Foundation, you won't find much.

Thanks again and keep up the good work.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekend Readings

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the Current Shame of the Nation: Donald Trump and His Supporters

Read the entire commentary here.


Against Evaluating Massachusetts Teachers Using Student Test Scores

I recently posted on the national push by the U. S. Chamber of Horrors put teacher evaluation by test score into every state, even the bluest states.  Corporate control is a post-partisan issue simply because the SCOTUS decision allowing unlimited political spending by corporations makes them necessary to any politician.  They own the game, and they will continue to own it until that decision is overturned or until we have a Constitutional amendment.

And so today the State Board of Ed passed in a hurried, confused, and insulting way a proposition to put in place a new evaluation scheme using test scores to evaluate teachers. By the way, the state board of Ed is so business friendly that they hate to be called the state board, preferring instead the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  No state, no board.  Both bad.  

The AFT chief dipdog was there to declare his victory in strong-arming the membership to support this travesty, and the MTA folks had some muddy rhetoric that could easily be read as supportive or non-supportive.  So a 60 day public comment period has begun, and I hope you you will have something to say.  I had a little bit to say today, using my three minutes in slightly shortened version of what you see below.

Statement at the MA DESE Meeting, April 27, 2011
Jim Horn

For the teachers who are growing our future today and can't be here, I speak against this latest plan by the Business Roundtable to further cripple our public schools, to more profoundly objectify our children, to pull apart the teacher-child relationship built on caring and trust.

This new corporate reform represents a well-funded form of bullying at the highest levels, not by elected officials or their appointees, but by unelected oligarchs whose hostile ideology threatens a takeover of public institutions in order to hold steerage of an economy whose jobs they have been shipped abroad, where children who can’t read or write work for slave wages to make the goods that Americans once made.

Corporate meddling in schools is nothing new.  At the turn of the 20th Century, efficiency zealots insisted that schools operate as efficiently as the Henry Ford’s new production lines.  Bolstered by the new psychometrics, and inspired by eugenics, those scientific managers kicked off the first orgy of tabulation in American schools, replete with scandalous IQ and achievement tests used to drive class wedges into the heart of the common school.

It took an economic depression and a world war to end that testing crusade, but it didn’t take long for a similar sorting machine to replace it, and another one after that with a new corporate label—accountability.  So for the past 30 years we’ve devoted enormous energies to more sorting the poor by testing, that deform children, debase our ethics, and blow up our public schools, thus leaving urban poor kids more intensely segregated in corporate welfare charter schools built on a chain gang pedagogy that accepts no excuses, not even hunger or homelessness.

Even so, public school teachers of the Commonwealth persist in their noble work of teaching children, and teaching them well despite the unending attacks in the media. 

In January, in fact, Governor Patrick announced that our 4th graders tied for first, and 8th graders tied for second on the most recent NAEP tests, having led the nation since 2005.  On the 2007 TIMSS international math and science test, our 4th graders ranked second worldwide and 8th graders tied for first.  If it weren’t for the bottom quintile of poor kids, in fact, most states’ schools would be ranked among the top countries in the world.

So what is the crisis to be averted this time by making test scores even more high stakes? Beneath the threadbare corporate veil of concern for achievement, we find here a transparent attack on teachers, on academic freedom, job security and autonomy, and on the teacher-student bond as teaching and learning give way even more to testing production.  To achieve these goals is essential, however, if children and teachers are to be molded to fit a global economy with fewer local options and more dead end jobs. 

One teacher recently interviewed spoke facetiously or cynically (it is hard to tell the difference these days) of how students may soon enter her classroom labeled as “pay cut” or “bonus.”  This is harsh, but the reality is that a model that explicitly ties children’s scores to monetary worth creates such an atmosphere. Even effective and empathic teachers will be aware of how individual students may influence their own family’s economic security. Tying teacher pay or job security to test scores will not make teachers more accountable for student achievement, but it will have a deadly impact on the now tenuous relationship at the heart of student learning and growth. 

This whole business of using value-added testing to evaluate teachers requires much more research before it can ever be done responsibly.  I urge you to heed the National Research Council findings instead of parroting papers by the New Teacher Project or Education Trust or NCTQ,  whose funders control both sides of the aisle of that same corporate jet fueled by tax credits.  Don’t turn children into Pay Cut Sally or Bonus Billy based on their socioeconomic status before they ever sit down at a desk.  This is bad policy that threatens to finish off the profession and to turn teaching toward a low-level child management occupation of last resort. 

When the disgusted Spanish philosopher Unamuno confronted the fascist General Milan Astray in 1936, he said:

         You will win because you have more than enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to convince you need to persuade. And in order to persuade you would need what you lack: Reason and Right in the struggle. I consider it futile to exhort you to think of Spain.

I do not think it futile to exhort you to help preserve the teacher-child relationship in Massachusetts.  We are not yet a corporate dictatorship.  In the meantime, the teachers, parents, and other active citizens of the Commonwealth are not persuaded.  Reason and Right are lacking. We shall continue to stand for Reason and Right and to resist all else.





Making Room for More Child Labor and Unregulated Voucher Schools

Monday, April 25, 2011

The New Voucher Reality, Brought to You by Those Who View Public Institutions as the New Red Menace


By Troutfishing at DailyKos (ht to Ken Bernstein): 
"It's being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education.  How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education?  Regardless of your personal stance on "school choice," it's important to know who is behind the voucher movement and the agenda they don't share with the public or advertise in their media campaigns." - Rachel Tabachnick
Eric Prince has become widely known as founder of the private mercenary army formerly known as Blackwater. Prince's sister, Betsy DeVos, is leading an astroturfing war on public schools. Last Thursday, April 21, Indiana passed a DeVos astroturf entity-backed, sweeping voucher bill. Indiana was part of a national pattern. As early as tomorrow the Pennsylvania state legislature will vote on a similar, DeVos-backed astroturf voucher bill. At stake is the future of public education and even the American middle class itself.
On this issue, mainstream media has largely ceded its public interest watchdog function. Only a few Internet media outlets are publicizing this issue. If you care about this, you can help--pass this story along: to friends and family, to teachers and union members you may know, to anyone you know who cares about the future of the public good, the well-being of the American lower class and middle class, and American Democracy itself.
Back in September 2010, a landmark report was published by Rob Boston of Americans United For Separation of Church and State, titled Michigan Multi-Millionaire Betsy DeVos Is A Four-Star General In A Deceptive Behind-The-Scenes War On Public Schools And Church-State Separation. Few noticed.
A few weeks ago researcher Rachel Tabachnick noted, with alarm, that the scheme was coming to fruition--as voucher bills have flooded into state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, and other swing states. The stakes couldn't be higher; by some tallies, spending on public education in America is as high as $700 billion a year. So privatizing that spending could be a terminal blow against the American middle class, unions, and even secular society itself--with religious right schools poised to vacuum up that money, which could then fund the teaching of creationism and right-wing, ideologically charged curricula.
Tabachnick's first report, Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools, focuses on the DeVos-led astroturfing war on public education in Pennsylvania, where a voucher bill may come up for a vote as early as Tuesday April 26th, and in Florida, which has a 100% voucher plan coming before the legislature.
The second report in the series, Pro-Voucher Astroturfing: Campaigns Across Nation Coordinated by DeVos, Funded by a Few Mega-Donors, looks at the national pattern, in which DeVos-funded entities have funded voucher initiatives in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa, and New Jersey.
So, governor-led attacks on the public sector in Michigan, Wisconsin, and elsewhere are part of a larger pattern, a full-frontal assault on the public sector and unions. In the crosshairs are the middle class, secular society, and the redistributive function of government. The chief weapons in this war are money, deception, and money.
In the September 2010 AU report, Rob Boston noted,
"[the] growing prominence of DeVos as a linchpin in the voucher movement. Although hardly a household name, if Betsy DeVos has her way, every American could feel her reach: DeVos’ goal is nothing short of a radical re-creation of education in the United States, with tax-supported religious and other private schools replacing the traditional public school system.
DeVos rarely states it that bluntly. Instead, she crouches behind the euphemism of “school choice” and pretends to be a kindly advocate for downtrodden youngsters trapped in public schools described as “failing.”
Driven by a relentless faith in ultra-conservative religion and the privatization of public services, DeVos and her husband, Dick, who is best known as the former president of Amway, are pouring millions from their personal fortune into a nationwide voucher push.
They’ll be bringing plenty of anti-public school allies along for the ride – chief among them the Walton Family Foundation, an entity operated by the heirs of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.
Publicly available documents tell an interesting story of interlocking organizations linked by an ambitious political agenda aimed right at the heart of public education. It’s an alarming tale in which Betsy DeVos poses as a benign benefactor of poor children – all while spearheading a billion-dollar store chain’s crusade to crush unions and privatize a public school system that serves 90 percent of American youngsters."

Let the Green Charters Wither and the Chain Gangs Bloom

A clip from Michael Winerip's latest, which focuses on the benefits of the well-connected corporate charterites of the Bloomberg dominion, where advantage goes to Wall Street, i. e., City Hall acolytes.  While progressive independent charters like Growing Up Green struggle to find space and pay rent, KIPP and the Moskowitz KIPP wannabes, with hundreds of millions in Wall Street tax write-offs, pay no ($0.00) rent. My bolds:  

. . . .The city pays a charter $13,527 per child. To increase his revenue, Mr. Greenberg set his average class size high, at 28 students per class. He would prefer to have 25, but those three extra children in each classroom — a total of 27 additional students at the school — generates $365,229 in revenue, which literally pays the rent.
Rent is not something charter chains worry about. KIPP, the nation’s biggest (99 schools) and richest ($160 million in corporate grants over the last four years) chain, pays no rent for its seven charter schools in the city. Nor does Eva Moskowitz, who has opened seven Success Academy charters in Harlem and the Bronx. Achievement First has 10 charters in Brooklyn that do not pay rent, andUncommon Schools has 12. Citywide, 67 percent of chain charters receive free space in public school buildings, compared with 51 percent of independent schools.
“I look at every dollar of every oil and electricity bill,” said Mr. Greenberg, whose school in Long Island City, Queens, is flourishing. There are 700 applicants for 90 spots for the next school year. The school blends Mr. Greenberg’s progressive philosophy with a testing regimen. Every six weeks, students take assessment tests on laptops. Michelle Hessey’s science class is raising seven baby chickens, and the kindergarteners are caring for their teacher’s pet, Walter the duck.
To improve the ratio of teachers to students, Mr. Greenberg uses his reading, music, art, science and gym teachers to assist classroom teachers each morning for language arts and math lessons. “If I didn’t have to pay rent,” Mr. Greenberg said, “I’d have more money for science, resource materials, books, more teachers.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In a Tizzy in Tennessee

The California Senate recently approved a bill that would require schools to teach LGBT history. That's a big win in most books, but not if you're Tennessee State Representative Stacey Campfield. Since the California Senate passed this pro-gay bill, it's only a matter of time before the fine state of Tennessee follow suit - sort of like how there are certain Middle Eastern countries that follow Sharia Law, which logically means it's only a matter of time before Sharia Law comes to the United States (obvious sarcasm pointing out the absurdity of Rep. Campfield's actions).

Actually, Tennessee already blazed some trails by being the first state to effectively ban Sharia Law in 2010.

Well, Rep. Campfield is carrying that torch and standing up against even the threat future pro-gay legislation (or any teachers currently teaching about homosexuality). Below is the video of discussion of the bill:


Rep. Campfield makes it pretty darn obvious that this is about prohibiting the teaching of homosexuality - you can skip to the 1:30 mark to see his line of questioning that makes this abundantly clear.

But here's where this starts to get even wackier: the legal counsel of the TN Organization of School Superintendents, Chuck Cagel, testifies just after the 1:32:00 mark. He cites the case of Garcetti vs. Ceballos and explained that teachers do not have first amendment rights when it comes to curriculum issues. On top of that, TN state law already puts limits on what can be taught through curriculum adoptions, and both the state board of education and local boards have to approve of that curriculum. From counsel Cagel:
"The theory that a teacher can just walk in and address any subject that they wish is not supported either in federal law or in our state law. In fact, our state law says that if you wander off that curriculum and address the subjects Senator Campfield makes reference here today, then you are subject criminal prosecution. And you are also subject to dismissal as a teacher in a local school system. So I don't know what bigger hammers we can have in the code..."
So there's nothing about homosexuality in the curriculum; TN teachers cannot wander from that homosexual-free curriculum; and, if they do wander from that homosexual-free curriculum, teachers (even tenured teachers) can lose their job. When asked by Rep Campfield about any specific bans on teaching homosexuality, Cagel makes it clear that teachers cannot teach about homosexuality given the current law. But keep in mind this bill would also potentially cause problems for school employees looking to curb anti-gay bullying and students looking to form LGBT clubs (see the ACLU link below).

The TN branch of the ACLU wrote about the bill here. Current TN standards for K-8 health education are available here. You can read the actual bill and an amendment here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IRA President: Access to books makes a difference

The title of International Reading Association President Patricia Edwards, "President's Message" (Reading Today, April/May 2011, page 16) is "Access to books makes a difference."

She discusses research related access to reading and the relationship of reading to growth in literacy, and notes that "children of poverty need more access to reading material," as well as the importance of libraries.

The issue of access to books, she writes, "gets lost in the attempt to find the best practices or the most evidence-based approaches to teach teaching."

NCTE President Yvonne Siu-Runyan has been a very strong supporter of libraries and providing access to books as well.

With the presidents of both major literacy organizations openly declaring strong support for libraries, perhaps this will help stop the de-funding of public and school libraries we see today throughout the US.

"Red Menace" Daniels Signs Bill Maim Collective Bargaining of Indiana Teachers

The whitest and shortest Tea Party governor of the U. S. has signed legislation to silence any voice that teachers have at the bargaining table regarding teaching conditions, curriculum, class size, evaluation procedures, field trips, or any other education issue outside of salary or working hours.  This new big government takeover of local issues is just the latest example of how Koch-inspired ideology has made it necessary for local control Republicans to be replaced by corporate oligarchs who know best what is needed at the local level.

With these new restrictions to union participation in place, we will see very soon now the same corporate education agenda that the U. S. Chamber of Horrors is sending out to every state that will take their dirty money or that will be intimidated by their lies. Story appears below this letter by an Indiana teacher:

You may not have heard yet, but we educators in Indiana are about to lose nearly all of our current collective bargaining rights. A bill is now headed to Governor Daniels signed yesterday] that will cut those rights back to almost nothing.
 
The current law says they MUST bargain on salary, wages & hours only, with a list of subjects such as working conditions, curriculum, etc. that CAN be bargained on.
 
But this was too much for the ruling class to handle and bargaining will now only be on salary & benefits. I now feel like we are on the road to serfdom & I am a simple wage slave under the boot of the oligarchy.
 
And the ISTA never even called for a statewide strike. (I am seriously considering leaving the union next year) And most teachers in the state were ambivalent at best and did nothing serious to fight it.
 
Our evaluation system is also about to be dramatically changed, and not in a good way.
 
This is a catastrophe........
 
Brent Holt
Jeffersonville, IN

From the Tribune-Star:

TERRE HAUTE — Teachers’ unions in Indiana will no longer be able to negotiate such items as school calendars, class size or teacher evaluation procedures under a new law that restricts collective bargaining rights.
“It limits local control on what we can and cannot bargain,” said Shane Grimes, area Uniserv director with the Indiana State Teachers Association.
On Wednesday, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed Senate Bill 575 into law. It prohibits contracts between school districts and teachers unions from including anything other than wages and wage-related benefits. The GOP-led Indiana Senate voted 30-19 Tuesday for the bill, which had previously been approved by the Republican-ruled House.
The teacher collective bargaining law has been in place since 1973, Grimes said.
He doesn’t understand how dismantling that law, and taking away most items that are negotiated, helps local people have more control, he said.
Vigo County Schools Superintendent Dan Tanoos said he does not agree with the changes to the collective bargaining law. “We bargain very cooperatively with our teachers association,” he said. The new law “is a step backwards.”
The Legislature is using a “broad brush” approach that affects all school districts because of problems with collective bargaining agreements in some school systems. “It takes the administration to accept those agreements,” he said, and those superintendents should share in the blame where problems exist.
In some districts, SB 575 may mean “wholesale changes” in teacher working conditions, Tanoos said.
In Vigo County, “We have a great relationship and we want to maintain that working relationship,” Tanoos said. Even though the law has changed, “I still think we would want to have meaningful discussion” on issues affecting teachers.
The Vigo County Teachers Association and administration have begun contract talks early this year, and Tanoos hopes an agreement can be reached in about a month. The new legislation, which takes effect July 1, is a factor in the early negotiations this year, he said.
Dan Vukovits, co-president of the Rockville teachers association, said he wasn’t familiar with all the details, but he believes SB 575 does represent a loss of local control as far as school communities, boards, administrators and teachers “working through issues that happen locally.”
SB 575 “will turn things upside down” in public education, Vukovits said.
 Two provisions of the law take effect immediately:
  • Current teacher contracts may not extend past the budget biennium.
  • Districts may not collectively bargain teacher evaluation procedures or criteria. According to the state Department of Education, teachers will still be involved in evaluation procedures and criteria through “required discussions with school leadership.”
One teacher concerned about the changes affecting public education is Dan Wunderlich, a chemistry teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School who has taught for 39 years.
“The entire atmosphere that’s been established in the state and nationally is concerning to a lot of people,” Wunderlich said. Many educators worry that talented people who are considering going into the profession will decide otherwise “because of all the negatives being thrown out.”
He believes SB 575 will take away the team approach that now exists between teachers and school officials. “I’ve always felt that we had moved away from the ‘us and them’ situation and we were really approaching our profession as a team,” Wunderlich said. He believes SB 575 “is going to move us away from the team approach and back to a situation that could evolve to ‘us and them’.”

What’s happening at the Statehouse “is disheartening,” and the changes have occurred very quickly, Wunderlich said. “I can feel the difference when I talk to my colleagues. There is a real feeling of uneasiness.”

The World According to the Koch Boys (and the John Birch Society)

The Nation has published a propaganda trove that the Kochs sent out last fall before the election to tell employees, their families, and anyone else unfortunate enough to encounter this mess how to get their political minds right.
The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.
Below are a few clips.  This first excerpt gives you a taste of the level of sophistication of the razor sharp reasoning included in this packet.  Apparently, governments and unions are viewed singularly for purposes of, well, simplicity?:

Yes, the mobility of labor.  Oh, you can't relocate to Bangladesh and work for 30 cents an hour to make those jeans you like so much?  Well, I guess you will just have to stay in the U. S. and take advantage of that mandated benefit of minimum wage, at least until such socialist policies bankrupt our economy.  Then what will you do? Huh? Huh?


So you see, then, that any attempt at "fairness," you social justice pinkos, is really an attempt by socialist government elites (in Brussels and Washington) to take over more control and add more costs to your bologna sandwich.  "Overspecifying and enforcing" Wall Street or Koch Industries or BP?  Recipe for corruption, abuse of power, subservience and stagnation.  Let the free market roll!

History lessons:  Coolidge and Harding, good because they cut taxes.  Hoover, bad--way too liberal for the Kochs--he raised taxes:

So you see, boys and girls, it was Hoover's statist policies that caused the Great Depression, and it had nothing to do with the "free-market" casino capitalism, money gorging, and corruption that brought down the Stock Market in 1929 (see 2008).  And don't forget that even though Hoover started the Great Depression with his liberal policies, it was Roosevelt who kept it going.

Why the American people elected him four times will be taken up, no doubt, in the next installment of the World According to the Kochs.  Stay tuned.

Allergy to self-selected reading & libraries continues

The Alliance for Excellent Education has just published: Engineering Solutions to the National Crisis in Literacy: How to Make Good on the Promise of the Common Core State Standards. This document argues that we need to continue reading instruction in the upper grades.

My comment, posted at: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/04/high_school_group_calls_for_co.html?r=497182197

"The Alliance policy document fails to mention the one well-documented way of improving literacy for high school students: extensive, self-selected reading. There is no discussion at all of reading for interest/pleasure and no mention of libraries, despite the massive evidence showing the positive effects of self-selected reading and providing access to books."


Duncan and Obama Enabling Christie's Public Demolition Projects

Jersey Roundup:
On a day when the NJ Supreme Court heard a challenge to Governor Christie’s $1.6 billion in school aid cuts, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan came to Newark and failed to offer support for full funding of the state’s public schools. Instead he embraced Governor Christie as a “partner” in his education reform efforts. Christie has prioritized huge spending cuts, vouchers, charters, merit pay, and the elimination of tenure.
Duncan held a town hall meeting with Newark Mayor Cory Booker to promote a federal teacher recruitment program. But in addition to ignoring the funding issue, Duncan did not address the sharp debate in Newark about the direction and control of school policy. The role of the Mayor, the State and private foundations and consultants has led to sustained public protests and calls for greater transparency and community involvement in decision-making.
After his Newark appearance, Duncan met with Governor Christie, whose attacks on teacher unions and school budgets have drawn national attention. "Secretary Duncan and I have a lot of common views and interests on the school reform agenda,” Christie said. What he and the president are doing is making possible the kind of reforms that are happening in New Jersey.” 
Gov. Christie says he agrees 'wholeheartedly' with Obama's education reform efforts
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/gov_christie_calls_himself_an.html
"Secretary Duncan and I have a lot of common views and interests on the school reform agenda," Christie said. "What he and the president are doing is making possible the kind of reforms that are happening in New Jersey, that are happening in other states. I agree wholeheartedly with the president's efforts in this regard," Christie said
Gov. Christie's legal team tells N.J. Supreme Court to keep hands off education dollars
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/gov_christies_legal_team_tells.html
With former Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero leading the charge, the Christie administration basically told the state’s highest court it should step aside and let the other two branches of government handle school funding
As Abbott Returns to Supreme Court, Familiar Faces Play Pivotal Roles
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/11/0421/0059/
The court -- just five justices sitting -- was hearing oral arguments over the latest Abbott challenge and whether Gov. Chris Christie’s and the legislature’s $1 billion in state aid cuts this year left schools unable to provide the "through and efficient" education the state constitution requires. 
New Jersey Supreme Court should stand by Abbott
By Avidan Cover
http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/120261504_New_Jersey_high_court_should_stand_by_Abbott.html
What is indisputably at stake is New Jersey's long commitment to narrowing the achievement gap between wealthy white students and poor black and Latino students.
Most NJ residents want more education spending, but not by Supreme Court order
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/042111_Poll_Most_NJ_residents_want_more_education_spending_but_not_by_Supreme_Court_dictate.html
Sixty percent of voters said schools should get more money, compared to 36 percent who disagreed. Meanwhile, 53 percent said the court should not order more spending, as opposed to 42 percent who want the court's involvement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Continuing Bailouts of Wall Street (Wives, Too) That You Never Were Supposed to Know About


NC Court of Appeals Rules 3-0: Wake School Board Broke Law

This state ruling should add impetus to the grassroots efforts in Wake County to vote out the resegregationist Koch-Heads who have the Wake County Public Schools in total disarray.   From the Progressive Pulse:

From the N.C. Justice Center and the UNC Center For Civil Rights:
Court Decision: Wake School Board Violated State Open Meetings Law
Advocates say the ruling is a “victory for open and transparent government”

RALEIGH (April 19, 2011) — The North Carolina Court of Appeals today found that the Wake County School Board violated the state Open Meetings Act by intentionally excluding the public from meetings about the county’s diversity policy last year.
The ruling formally affirms a previous Wake County Superior Court decision, and in so doing clearly states that the school board violated North Carolina’s Open Meetings Act both through a ticket policy and the exclusion of the public from the Committee of the Whole.
“This is a great victory for the rights of all citizens to open and transparent government,” said Mark Dorosin of the UNC Center for Civil Rights. “It is also, I believe, a decisive statement that the school board cannot continue to attempt to push through its agenda without meaningful input and scrutiny from the public.”
The ruling specifically cites violations that took place at the March 23 school board meeting. The core of the court’s holding is that the school board’s actions violated the Open Meetings Act and the public trust that it codifies.
The decision was a 3-0 ruling. Both Wake County Superior Court and the Court of Appeals have now found the Wake County School Board in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
The open meetings lawsuit was brought by a diverse group of Wake County parents and students, who were represented by multiple groups, including the UNC Center for Civil Rights, NC Justice Center, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, NC NAACP, and private attorneys.
“Community engagement is critical to democracy,” said Swain Wood, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “This ruling is an important stand against public officials who attempt to ignore and shut out opposing viewpoints by violating the law.”
According to the Court of Appeals decision, “[t]he complete exclusion of members of the public from the COW meeting for a significant portion of the meeting is the most obvious violation of the Open Meetings Law in this case . . . particularly as there was a larger room immediately available in the same building[.]“… “The convenience of the members of the COW and staff was not a sufficient reason to deny public access.”
The ruling also rejected the School Board’s cross-appeal, calling their attempt to keep the dismissal but remove from the order the findings they do not like as “inconsistent with the fundamental precept of Anglo-American jurisprudence that you cannot have your cake and eat it, too[.]”
For more information, please contact: Mark Dorosin, Senior Managing Attorney, UNC Center For Civil Rights, 919-843-7896.

Parents and Other Citizens' Guide to the Broadies (rhymes with Toadies)

From Parents Across America.  Please follow the link to Parents Across America because their post has a bunch of links built in.  Great job, guys:

In recent months, three prominent school district superintendents have resigned, after allegations of mismanagement, autocratic leadership styles, and/or the pursuit of unpopular policies. All three were trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady(class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island.
Three more Broad-trainees have been recently placed in new positions of authority: John Deasy (class of 2006), as Superintendent of the Los Angeles United School District, John White (class of 2010), Superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans,  and Chris Cerf (class of 2004), New Jersey’s Acting Education Commissioner. Tom Boasberg was appointed Denver’s Superintendent in January 2009, shortly after taking an “Intensive” training at the Broad Academy.   (See map below from the Broad website, showing where until recently their trainees served.)

This summary is designed to help parents and other concerned citizens better understand the Broad Foundation’s role in training new superintendents and other “reform” activities, and how the foundation leverages its wealth to impose a top-down, corporate-style business model on our public schools. It is time for communities to become aware of how this major force works.
What is the Broad Foundation?
The Edythe and Eli Broad Foundation engages in venture philanthropy in four areas: education, medical research, contemporary art, and civic projects in Los Angeles. The foundation was established in 1999 by billionaire Eli Broad (b. 1933) who made his fortune in real estate and the insurance business.
A closer look at the Broad Foundation’s “investment” in education
The Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Broad Foundation form a powerful triumvirate. The combined net worth of the three families who operate these foundations is $152 billion. By strategically deploying their immense wealth through training school leaders, financing think-tank reports, and supporting “Astro Turf” advocacy groups, these three foundations have been able to steer the direction of education reform over the past decade.
The Broad Foundation is the least wealthy of the three, but has still spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.” But what does that actually mean?
The signature effort of the Broad Foundation is its investment in its training programs, operated through the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems and the Broad Institute for School Boards. The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems is the larger of the two and consists of two programs: the Broad Superintendents Academyand the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
The Broad Superintendents Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.
The Broad Superintendents Academy’s weekend training course provides an “alternative” certification process which has come to supplant or override the typical regulations in many states that require that individuals have years of experience as a teacher and principal before being installed as a school district superintendents.
The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a two-year program, during which individuals with MBAs, JDs, etc. in the early stages of their careers are placed in high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, or state and federal departments of education. The Broad Center subsidizes approximately 33 percent of each Resident’s salary.
For financially struggling school districts, the Broad Foundation’s offer of trained personnel or services for a free or reduced cost is extremely appealing, and creates a “pipeline” of individuals with the same ideology who can be installed in central office positions.
The Broad Institute for School Boards provides three training programs for elected school board members and non-Broad-trained superintendents conducted in partnership with theCenter for Reform of School Systems (CRSS). The Institute trains new board members at a one-week summer residential setting. Its Alumni Institute is an advanced course for experienced school board members. The third program, Reform Governance in Action, is by invitation only and provides “a long-term, training/consulting partnership program to selected large, urban districts.” The Broad Foundation underwrites 80 percent of all program costs through a grant to CRSS.
The “Broad Prize for Education” is an annual monetary award which is designated for college scholarships; it is given to the urban school district which the foundation deems as the most “improved” in the country. The selection process is sometimes seen as more political than based on actual results.
The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools).
In addition, the foundation offers free diagnostic “audits” to school districts, along with recommendations aligned with its policy preferences.  It produces a number of guides and toolkits for school districts, including a “School Closure Guide,” based on the experiences of Broad-trained administrators involved in closing schools in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade County, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle.
The foundation finances the Education Innovation Laboratory, run by Harvard economist Roland Fryer, which carries out large-scale experiments in schools districts, focused onteacher pay for performance and rewarding students for good test scores and grades. So far, these trials have failed to demonstrate positive results.
The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization.
Eli Broad has said he “expects to be a major contributor” to Students First, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for the expansion of charters, vouchers, and an end to seniority protections for teachers. And journalist Richard Whitmire, author of “The Bee Eater,” an admiring biography of Rhee, expressed his gratitude in the book to Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter lobbying organization, for serving as the “pass through” for funds from the Broad Foundation which allowed him to “invest everything in book research.”
The foundation provided start-up funds to New York City’s Leadership Academy, which trains individuals to serve as principals in the city public schools, several of whose graduates have been accused of financial misconduct, as well as  arbitrary and dictatorial treatment of teachersstudents and parents.
The foundation also helps sponsors media events (a PBS series on the “education crisis” hosted by Charlie Rose, the series Education Nation on NBC, etc.). These programs help promote for Eli Broad’s vision of free-market education reform.
In addition to using his foundation to effect change to American public education, Eli Broad has made personal campaign contributions to candidates who are favorably disposed to his preferred policies, even down to the local school board level. In this way, he has helped influence the selection of superintendents who are aligned with him ideologically, even though they may not be Broad Academy graduates.
For instance, Broad contributed to the campaigns of school board candidates who supported former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Alan Bersin’s appointment as superintendent of San Diego’s school district. A 2006 Vanity Fair article by Bob Colacello reported that “Broad believes reform must come “the top down” and that his foundation “plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state’s legislature.”
In 2003, Joseph Wise (class of 2003) was installed as superintendent of Christina School District, Delaware’s largest. In 2006, Wise was succeeded by Lillian Lowery (class of 2004), who served until 2009 when she was appointed as the state’s Secretary of Education. Two Broad Residents work under Lowery at the state level. Another Broad superintendent, Marcia Lyles (class of 2006), replaced Lowery as superintendent of Christina School District.
Along with Bill Gates, Broad contributed millions of dollars to the campaign to extend mayoral control of the public schools in New York City under Michael Bloomberg. Among the leaders he is close to and has personally advised behind the scenes are former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
How the Broad Foundation affects public school families
Broad and his foundation believe that public schools should be run like a business. One of the tenets of his philosophy is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.
As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, a proponent of this philosophy has said,“…we can afford to make lots more mistakes and in fact we have to throw more things at the wall. The big companies that get into trouble are those that try to manage their size instead of experimenting with it.”
A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests.
Several communities have forced their Broad-trained superintendents to resign, includingArnold “Woody” Carter (class or 2002), formerly of the Capistrano Unified School District;Thandiwee Peebles,( class of 2002), formerly of the Minneapolis Public School District; and John Q. Porter (class of 2006), formerly of the Oklahoma City Public School District.
A number of other Broad-trained superintendents have received votes of “no confidence” from the teachers in their districts, including Rochester’s Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008), Seattle’s Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003); Deborah Sims (class of 2005) while Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District (CA); Matthew Malone (class of 2003) while Superintendent of the Swampscott School District (MA); and most recently,Melinda J. Boone (class of 2004) Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools (MA).
The Oakland Unified School District (CA) experienced a series of three consecutive Broad-trained, state-appointed administrators over a period of six years. The first, Randolph Ward (class of 2003), aroused huge protests with his plans to close schools and even hired a personal bodyguard for the duration of his tenure. Ward was followed by Kimberly Statham (class of 2003), and Vincent Mathews (class of 2006), all of whom left the district in financial shambles. A civil grand jury found that
“….the district was hampered by continuous staff turnover, particularly in the area of finance, numerous reorganizations and a succession of state administrators…After nearly five years of state management, OUSD’s budget remains unbalanced and the district’s future is unclear.”
Joseph Wise (class of 2003), formerly Superintendent of the Duval County Florida Public Schools, was found to have spent thousands of dollars on personal purchases while a superintendent in Delaware, before being fired by his Duval post in disgrace. While a finalist for the post of Superintendent in Washoe County in Nevada, Kimberly Olson (class of 2005) pled guilty of having engaged in war profiteering when she was a colonel in Iraq.
Chris Cerf (class of 2004), the acting New Jersey Education Commissioner, has been criticized for not identifying his involvement in a consulting firm which developed an secret plan to turn many Newark public schools over to charter operators. The Broad Foundation acknowledged that it put up $500,000 to pay for the plan.  Deborah Gist (class of 2008), Rhode Island Commissioner of Education, has supported the firing of all teachers in Central Falls and more recently in Providence, and is aggressively fighting seniority protections for teachers.
General Anthony Tata (class of 2009), has been embroiled in controversy for dismantling Wake County’s desegregation plan. John Covington (class of 2008), Superintendent of Kansas City Schools, has announced his intention to close half the schools districts in the city. Robert Bobb (class of 2005),  the Emergency Financial Manager of the Detroit Public Schools, recently sent layoff notices to every one of the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all its teachers, and said that nearly a third of the district’s schoolswould be closed or turned over to private charter operators. At a recent town hall which Bobb had called so he could go over his plan, angry students, parents, and teachers drove him from the meeting. He was escorted out by his six bodyguards.
Conclusion
Eli Broad is a wealthy individual, accountable to no one but himself, who wields vast power over our public schools. Parents and community members should be aware of the extent to which the he and his foundation influence educational policies in districts throughout the country, through Broad-funded advocacy groups, Broad-sponsored experiments and reports, and the placement of Broad-trained school leaders, administrators and superintendents.
Parents Across America considers Broad’s influence to be inherently undemocratic, as it disenfranchises parents and other stakeholders in an effort to privatize our public schools and imposes corporate-style policies without our consent. We strongly oppose allowing our nation’s education policy to be driven by billionaires who have no education expertise, who do not send their own children to public schools, and whose particular biases and policy preferences are damaging our children’s ability to receive a quality education.
For more information on the Broad Superintendents and Residents
Maps showing where some of the Broad superintendents and residents are currently employed can be found on the Broad Foundation’s website: Broad Superintendents Academy Fellows and Broad Residents, as well as links to more information about them.
The only complete list of Broad Superintendent trainees is here, on The Broad Reportwebsite, which was created by Sharon Higgins, a founding member of Parents Across America.
See also our video: “Parents Across America speak out about corporate interests in education.”
Additional Reading
Barkan, Joanne. “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule our Schools,” Dissent Winter 2011.http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=3781
Colacello, Bob. “Eli Broad’s Big Picture,” Vanity Fair 01 December 2006.http://broadartfoundation.org/press/0612_VanityFair_EB039.pdf
Forbes Staff. “The World’s Billionaires.” Forbes Magazine 09 March 2011.http://www.forbes.com/wealth/billionaires
Foundation Center. “Top 100 U.S. Foundation by Asset Size.”http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/topfunders/top100assets.html
Gammon, Robert. “Eli’s Experiment.” East Bay Express 10 October 2007.http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/elis-experiment/Content?oid=1084299&storyPage=1
Higgins, Sharon. “The Broad Report” http://thebroadreport.blogspot.com/
Peters, Sue and Dora Taylor. “Seattle Education 2010” blog.http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/
Saltman, Kenneth. “The Rise of Venture Philanthropy and the Ongoing Neoliberal Assault on Public Education: The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.” Workplace, 16, 2009http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/article/viewFile/65/saltman
Scott, Janelle. “The Politics of Venture Philanthropy in Charter School Policy and Advocacy.” Educational Policy January 2009.http://epx.sagepub.com/content/23/1/106.abstract
Shafer, Jack. “Bully in Search of a Pulpit.” Slate 09 November, 2006;http://www.slate.com/id/2153362/
Tough, Paul (editor). “How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System.” New York Times 09 March 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/magazine/09roundtable-t.html?_r=2
View the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation grants on the IRS Form 990s at the National Center for Charitable Statistics or GuideStar. The foundation’s Federal Employer ID Number (EIN) is 954686318.