Saturday, May 31, 2014
Steve Hinnefeld has posted a review of my book Hoosier School Heist on his blog, School Matters. Please read his review and check out his other pieces, too.
Here is an excerpt from Steven's review:
"Martin has a Ph.D. in literature, has taught in universities and published a book of Walt Whitman criticism. He can turn a phrase, and he can bring out the drama in a right-vs.-wrong narrative. Now working as a behavioral aide at a Vigo County, Ind., public alternative school, he grew up near Terre Haute, which may explain a lot. Maybe it’s the legacy of Eugene V. Debs or the memory of coal-field union wars, but Western Indiana progressives say what they think. Martin’s give-‘em-hell approach reminds me of United Mine Workers members I met while writing about coal strikes 30 years ago."
Oddly, Steve didn't know at the time of his writing that my father was a member of the United Mine Workers of America and participated in the strikes that Steve mentions. I remember the strikes well.
As labor professor Patrick Hill has been telling audiences across Indiana, it is time all of the unions join together and fight off the billionaires. So true. Check out Patrick and Randy Obenchain's (read his piece here) radio show The Workers' Voice coming every Saturday at 9am to Indiana Talks.
Friday, May 30, 2014
As Pearson Tag Teams with Microsoft for Common Core Curriculum in Urban America, Weingarten Attacks Conservatives for Attacking the Common Core
Weingarten has this quote in the New York Times today in a puff piece on Common Core resistance:
“The Tea Party is using the frustration with the implementation as the guise to eliminate standards in schools and to destabilize public education,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest teachers union. Its executive council recently passed a resolution supporting “the promise and potential of the Common Core State Standards.”
(The following is Doug Martin's letter to the editors of the Anderson, Indiana, Herald Bulletin, sent at 7:56 pm, May 30, 2014. If you would like to contact that newspaper, you can at email@example.com)
DOUG MARTIN'S NOTE TO THE EDITORS: "My letter is endorsed by ONLY myself. It does NOT reflect the views toward your paper of any of the panelists that appeared with me on the Rise Above the Mark event panel, and it does NOT reflect the views toward your paper of any of the makers of the film or the organizers of the event. In fact, the panelists, makers of the movie, and organizers of the event have NOT seen the letter I submit to your paper. And I do NOT endorse candidates for political office, since I have problems with both parties, so the views in my letter are solely my own. Thanks. Doug Martin)
After the screening, I was a member of the panel which consisted of Dr. Rocky Killion, the supt. of West Lafayette Community Schools, state representative Terri Austin, Daleville teacher Melanie Wright, and educator and radio host Justin Oakley.
Since the audience included two newspapers from Muncie and one from Indianapolis, the Herald Bulletin’s refusal to cover the event tells me it must not care that Anderson public schools are taking a financial beating because so-called school reform, as I point out in my book HoosierSchool Heist, is a hoax funded by out-of-state billionaires that is meant to wipe out public education entirely and funnel taxpayer money to religious schools and Republican campaign donors and acquaintances who profit from charter schools.
The Herald Bulletin’s editors should also know that I told those in the audience that night that people must boycott every paper in this state that uses the talking points of the billionaires, is too lazy or clueless to do investigative reporting, and refuses to aggressively support public education. Being a no-show, the Herald Bulletin is guilty of treason against the public. Therefore, teachers and parents should find their news elsewhere.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
If you are looking for a teaching job next year, you may see this on the Web or ads like it:
In a scurry to make sure that "post-test equating" had been done "properly," local systems were left holding the bag, since TCAP is supposed to figure into student final grades and, of course, teacher evaluations.
What embarrassment and scandal will be required to finally get rid of the lawyers and corporate bottom feeders mismanaging the State's education system!
From Joey Garrison at the Tennessean:
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Central Office Administrator Admits: "it is almost impossible to get a charter school like KIPP closed"
Since I was recently denied visitation to any of the KIPP schools in Memphis, I have considered a number of strategies that may help get me access. Today I talked with a very nice individual at Central Offices of Shelby County Schools (SCS). I explained that I had been denied the opportunity to visit any of the KIPP campuses for observation purposes and that no reason was given for that denial.
The person I talked with told me that KIPP has its own board and makes its own rules and that SCS has no control over charter schools unless there is a test performance issue.
When I shared that KIPP's state test scores are worse than the six Memphis schools that are slated for closure this year (ostensibly based on low test scores), the SCS administrator chuckled and said he was quite aware of KIPP's awful test scores being lower than the public schools to be shuttered.
However, he added, it is almost impossible to get a charter school like KIPP closed, considering the support KIPP has from certain members of the community.
I assume the certain influential community members include Barbara Hyde (the Autozone family), who is Chair of the Memphis KIPP School Board.
I shared with the nice SCS administrator that I have evidence from former teachers that both teachers and children are being mistreated in a cult-like environment at KIPP Memphis and that this could become a liability issue for SCS. The administrator said she understood, and any such mistreatment might have something to do with the fact that KIPP is not allowing my visit.
The administrator told me that he would be interested in reading more about the mistreatment of teachers and students, even though I should not expect any action to be taken on her part.
I am left quite stunned and contemplating my next course of action.
However, near the bottom of the piece, Peterson offers this fabrication, or thought disorder, claiming that Weingarten and Van Roekel represent and promote social justice:
Support for these types of move towards social justice unionism appears to be coming from the highest levels at both the NEA and AFT.
At the 2012 NEA Representative Assembly NEA Executive Director John Stocks called on members to become “social justice patriots.” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has promoted the Great Public School initiative that encourages unions to move in these progressive directions.
Randi Weingarten has been arrested protesting school closings in Philadelphia, and this past March she spoke at the newly formed Network for Public Education conference in Austin, Texas, during which she announced she would recommend that the AFT no longer accept money from the Gates Foundation.
Dennis van Roekel and Randi Weingarten are the greatest stumbling blocks to the kinds of social justice unionism that your piece would seem to advocate. Both of these misleaders support the central tenets of corporate education deform, including test based teacher evaluations and bonus pay, segregated charters, Common Core, and more intrusive data collection. With leaders like this selling teachers and public education down the river, who needs Bill Gates? Until the members of NEA and AFT dump the six-figure traitors that represent the antithesis of everything that social justice stands for, the national teachers' unions will remain part of the problem.