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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Achievement School District Responds

Jeremy Jones, one of the bristly, high-T clones of the Ahievement School District administration (see pics above and tell me which one is Jeremy), sent the following comment to my post yesterday on the ASD corporate corruptionism going on in Nashville and Memphis, as the poorest public schools are labeled "Priority" before being auctioned off to charter chain gang operators:
It is incredibly misleading to say "corporate," "corporation" and "corporatize" when characterizing the changes happening in Memphis in the effort to move the bottom 5% of schools to the top 25% within five years of joining the ASD. There are no "corporations" running schools in the Achievement School District. Additionally, White's Frayser Community Schools charter management organization was approved to run schools in the Achievement School District through a rigorous selection process managed by the National Charter School Association. It doesn't seem like you're offering any alternative solutions in this blog post for persistently failing schools operating in Memphis. If you have them, it would be great to hear them. If not, it is probably best that your opinions are fully informed by actual facts. The crisis in our schools isn't the threat of corporations, it is the fact that for far too many years, the system has committed educational malpractice on our students. 
First off, Jeremy seems confused about the facts--that, or he is simply lying.  Every one of the Wall Street backed out-of-state charter chains that are favorites of the ASD are all non-profit corporations, and they are all afloat on tens or hundreds of millions of non-profit dollars that are invested by corporate foundations, philanthrocapitalists, and venture philanthropists--all of whom get dollar for dollar tax write offs for supporting the replacement of public schools with corporate-run segregated lockdown charters that resemble penal institutions more than do schools.

Secondly, it is a pure flight of fancy to think that these new charter chain gangs can raise proficiency rates among the impoverished children that they contain to reach the top levels of the wealthy TN suburban schools.  Pure nonsense.  What I expect Commish Huffman to be counting on are manipulated test score value-added gains for children in these new minimum security reform schools--at least those high-gaining students who are not dumped back into the surviving public schools of last resort in Memphis and Nashville.  These gain scores effectively conceal the disparity in proficiency rates, and CREDO is already using such scores to feed the illusion and/or delusion that charters are outperforming public schools.  

As for the National Charter School Association doing the judging of ASD employees' charter applications, it seems a bit odd that an out-of-state corporate entity would be in charge of identifying out-of-state operators for Tennessee schools, who will now collect from taxpayers f thousands of public dollars per child per year to treat inner city kids like total compliance inmates.

Finally, blaming "educational malpractice" for the blight of poverty, low achievement, and malignant educational injustice in Memphis that has gone on since the end of slavery is a transparent and hackneyed excuse for the new brand of corporate colonialism that in moving in on urban American schools, where teachers are replaced by white, privileged missionaries who know nothing of the problems faced by the poor children of Memphis or anywhere else.  They are, however, reliable conduits of corporate ideology and anti-culturalism, who cannot see kids for the data that blinds them to the human desperation of the neediest children. 

Meanwhile, corporate skinheads like Jeremy hide behind their minstrel version of educational justice, where justice really means segregation and incarceration for urban children.  

I have some educational solutions, alright, but none that Jeremy or the former Mr. Michelle Rhee is interested in:

1) socioeconomically integrate the schools (biggest bang for the achievement buck ever);
2) return public schools to the public, rather than handing them over to corporations;
3) extend Medicaid to poor students;
3) demand more qualified teachers, rather than replacing teachers with unprepared temps from TFA;
4) base curriculum and instruction decisions with teachers and researchers, rather than contractors from the Gates Foundation or TFA alums who don't even know how ignorant they are;
5) adequately fund TN schools as the courts have demanded, rather than hiding behind another phony brand of accountability;
5) end high stakes standardized testing.

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