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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Jane Watson: "Doublethink" is alive and well

Sent to Yakima Herald-Republic (WA) for "Saturday Soapbox"
By Jane Watson
August 31, 2012

“Doublethink” is alive and well.

In 1948, George Orwell wrote 1984. “Big Brother is Watching You” was born. So was “doublethink,” the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. TVs watch YOU. Language is paradoxical. Less is more. War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

The organization Stand For Children endorses gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and Charter Schools. Who doesn’t want to Stand For Children? Who wants Children Left Behind? Who doesn’t want Students First?

The fallacies and failures of NCLB (No Child Left Behind – aka No CORPORATION Left Behind) are well documented. ‘Nuff said.

The CEO of Stand For Children is Geoffrey Canada, a well financed man who opened Harlem’s Children’s Zone, a school which was able to provide many benefits to students who otherwise would have been left to the resources of public schools. Canada was able to spend $14,000 per student to help mitigate the effects of poverty. [Wish public schools could do that!]

When students did not get acceptable test scores, Canada kicked an entire class out of school to maintain Harlem Children Zone’s high test scores. http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=9289. Presumably, these students went to public schools, which don’t turn away anybody – kind of like the Statue of Liberty.

Charter schools take money from public education. They do not do better than public schools. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/charter-schools/about-the-brill-story-on-chart.html
Most national research shows that on average public schools perform as well as charter schools or better.

Michelle Rhee heads Students First. She was chancellor of DC public schools, (2007 – 2010) which had low test scores. When she was chancellor, test scores rose. Ms. Rhee’s reputation rests on those test scores, which soared while she was chancellor. Last March, USA Today published the results (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-03-28-1Aschooltesting28_CV_N.htm) of a yearlong investigation of the Washington schools that found a high rate of erasures on tests as well as suspiciously large gains at 41 schools — one-third of the elementary and middle schools in the district. Michelle Rhee is now under investigation for fixing test scores. Michelle Rhee taught third grade for one year, but couldn’t control her class, said the stress gave her hives, and taped children’s mouths to keep them quiet. Rhee’s first year test scores showed a precipitous drop in her class: Average math percentile dropped from 64% to 17%. Average reading percentile dropped from 37% to 21%

In straight talk, Students First does not put students first. Stand For Children does not stand for children. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) leaves children behind.

Where does one get the truth? Talk to teachers. They’re the ones on the front line. They know students are more than test scores. They know children are being robbed of music, art, and many other things by the narrowing of the curriculum as a result of excessive testing.

Go to Parents Across America website. http://parentsacrossamerica.org/ Sign up for their newsletter.

Go to the Save Our schools website. Help them keep the “public” in public ed. http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/ Attend their webinars and tweets with educational professionals. (499)


Charter Schools

Charters vs. public schools: Behind the numbers


Gerald Coles: KIPP Schools: Power Over Evidence

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