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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Insanity Chart of "No Excuses" Reform

Often cliches are cliches because their being repeated grows from truth:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

Traditional public education and the "No Excuses" Reform movement share the insanity:


Public School Problem
“No Excuses” Reform
Poor, Latino/Black, special needs, and ELL students assigned disproportionately inexperienced and un-/under-certified teachers
Assign poor, Latino/Black, special needs, and ELL students Teach for America recruits (inexperienced and uncertified)
Public schools increasingly segregated by race and socioeconomic status
Charter schools, segregated by race and socioeconomic status
Three decades of standards-based testing and accountability to close the test-based achievement gap
Common Core State Standards linked to new tests to create a standards-based testing and accountability system
Inequitable school funding that rewards affluent and middle-class schools in affluent and middle-class neighborhoods and ignores or punishes schools in impoverished schools/neighborhood
Drain public school funding for parental choice policies that reinforce stratification found in those parental choices
State government top-down and bureaucratic reform policies that ignore teacher professionalism
Federal government top-down and bureaucratic reform policies that ignore teacher professionalism
Rename high-poverty schools “academy” or “magnet” schools
Close high-poverty public schools and open “no excuses” charters named “hope” or “promise” [see above]
Ignore and trivialize teacher professionalism and autonomy
Erase experienced teachers and replace with inexperienced and uncertified TFA recruits [see above]
Poor, Latino/Black, special needs, and ELL students assigned disproportionately to overcrowded classrooms
Poor, Latino/Black, special needs, and ELL students assigned to teachers rewarded for teaching 40-1 student-teacher ratio classrooms
Poor, Latino/Black, special needs, and ELL students tracked into test-prep classrooms
Poor and Latino/Black students segregated into test-prep charter schools; special needs and ELL students disregarded [left for public schools to address—see column to the left]
Teacher preparation buried under bureaucracy at the expense of content and pedagogy
Teacher preparation rejected at the expense of content and pedagogy
Presidents, secretaries of education, governors, and state superintendents of education misinform and mishandle education
Presidents, secretaries of education, governors, and state superintendents of education [most of whom have no experience as educators] misinform and mishandle education
Fail to acknowledge the status quo of public education (see above): Public schools reflect and perpetuate the inequities of U.S. society
Fail to acknowledge the status quo of public education [see above and the column to the left]: NER reflect and perpetuate the inequities of U.S. society



4 comments:

  1. 'Rename high-poverty schools “academy” or “magnet” schools'

    The school where I teach wasn't a high-poverty school, but it was going to be closed because of declining enrollment. Many of the local kids were from the farms surrounding the school. The decision was made some ten years ago to change it to a magnet school. It's now the only all-school magnet school in our district. We have four magnets: Science, Math, and Computer Science; Humanities; Global Ecology; and Independent Studies. All kids are in one of the four magnet programs.

    The effect has been to change this high school that was going to be closed into the top ranked school in our state. Our Global Ecology program is well-respected. Our kids take many field trips to match what they are learning in the classrooms to real world experiences. Our SMCS magnet places kids in the best universities in America, including Princeton, Berkeley, MIT, and Stanford. And our Computer Science kids have won major competitions in cyber security and programming.

    I believe all the kids that attend our school, including the local kids, have been more successful than they would have been at a non-magnet school. Plus they are able to collaborate with other bright kids.

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  2. Excellent. I would only suggest that the title is misleading. There is nothing 'insane' about this corporate agenda. It has been cold-bloodedly rational ever since IBM's Lou Gerstner and Arkansas governor Bill Clinton called the 1989 meeting in Charlottesville--to deliver ed reform for George Bush the elder. The only thing they didn't get at that time was the national test. That had to wait for Barack Obama. Destroying public ed IS the corporate agenda and our politicos are handmaidens of the corporate raiders.

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  3. My own school district recently landed a school over 50% student poverty rate in the "Significantly Exceeds Expectations" category in the new school report cards issued by DPI. By all accounts, this is a good school--but notably it serves my school district's Talented and Gifted (TAG) students. Select students and added resources certainly make a difference in this anomaly. What would the school's achievement scores look like without the TAG kids? I suspect similar to other non-TAG schools with high poverty rates.

    http://oneteachersperspective.blogspot.com/2012/10/another-distractor-school-report-cards.html

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  4. This just begs the question, "are our supposed 'education experts' really doing their job?" I just can't get why they seem to be having a hard time getting the picture.

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