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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tami Abdollah and John Deasy gush that 'Size Matters'

"Just continue to follow the money. This Race to the Trough will make the Reading First crooks under Bush look like dopey Boy Scouts." — Professor Jim Horn

Plutocratic priest of privatization, LAUSD Superintendent John DeasyThe neoliberal cabal at Southern California's KPCC can't cheerlead for school privatization loud or frequently enough. Not content with Pat Morrison lobbing softballs to Broad Superintendent Academy graduate and former Gates Foundation employee John Deasy once a week, KPCC's intrepid education beat reporters are always looking for the latest anti-public-school story angle.

Tami Abdollah's latest piece, Size matters in new district-level 'Race to the Top' competition, is a fluffy homage to Deasy and fellow poverty pimp Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The light-on-facts article enthusiastically reports the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) "has worked to institute a lot of the" corporate reforms and privatization requirements that Duncan, Gates, Broad and Coleman want to see for Race to the Top.

I chimed in with the following commentary:

There's a fundamental misunderstanding of Race to the Top (RTTT) in this article. RTTT funds, if granted, are not for things that actually improve education like smaller class sizes or researched backed academic programs including project based learning and the like.

Instead RTTT funds are earmarked for The Gates Foundation and Education Department's pet projects that don't help educational outcomes at all. If anything, they exacerbate problems. RTTT funds are for more profligate data tracking systems. More mind-numbing standardized tests and test preparation for students already averse to school because of a glut of standardized tests. Moreover, RTTT is to be used for highly discredited pseudo-sciences including VAM/AGT.

The district would be better off finding legitimate sources of funding that they can put into classrooms and school libraries. RTTT represents a windfall for testing companies, publishers, and technology firms, but offers nothing for actual improvement to pedagogy. Pearson, Microsoft, and McGraw Hill stand to gain from LAUSD garnering RTTT.

Schoolchildren, educators, and our communities all stand to lose if LAUSD does somehow get tangled up in Duncan's RTTT bribe scheme.

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