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

Monday, September 15, 2014

To Chris Barbic: There Will Be No Civility for Child Abusers and Corporate Profiteers

When Tennessee received its $501 million Race to the Top (RTTT) grant, it also accepted the requirement to annually label the bottom five percent of TN public schools for turnaround or charter conversion.   The Achievement School District (ASD) was set up to administer this task, and Chris Barbic was hired away from his job as CEO of a total compliance Texas charter chain to be Superintendent of the new ASD.  

As long as the RTTT rules stay in effect, Tennessee will have a continuing supply of bottom five percent schools each year to turn over to the ASD, which then may choose to hire new management and teachers or to hand out contracts to charter operators worth millions of dollars each year to run the “turnaround” schools.

So far the turnarounds haven’t done much turning.  Having completed its second year of operation, most of the 17 schools in the district are headed in the opposite direction from the fanciful goal of having the bottom five percenters in the top 25 percent of schools in five years (click chart below to enlarge).  So far, the ASD schools remain 20-25 points under the state average, which is no where close to the top 25 percent, which is ostensibly the destination of the ASD schools.  

Such reality checks do nothing, however, to alter the delusional thinking and tired corporate education rhetoric of Chris Barbic, who took time to pen an op-ed in Sunday's Tennessean.

The only reason that Memphis now has fewer students on the Priority List than it did three years ago is that the lowest performing schools have been shifted into the ASD, which puts them into another category.   Most of the Memphis ASD schools have no better off than they were before the bookkeeping change.  See below:

Having bombed in Memphis, the ASD now has its eyes on Nashville to expand the charter school market for the national chains like Rocketship, KIPP, Aspire, and Green Dot, all of which are lined up for a piece of the action in the most lucrative, anti-democratic, and miseducative racket that public education has ever tried to survive.  

Barbic's rhetoric remains focused on perpetuating the myths that 1) teachers are the biggest influence on student achievement, and 2) that children living in cars or under bridges will perform on tests the same as children in the leafy suburbs.  Meanwhile, he continues to ignore the fact that what matters outside the schools have the largest influence on what children learn, just as he ignores the fact that child poverty is increasing in Tennessee.

If Barbic wants "civility and collaboration," as his op-ed calls for, he should stop trying to replace public education in poor areas with corporate reform chain gangs that use abusive practices to culturally sterilize and behaviorally neuter economically disadvantaged children.  There will no civility for human rights violators and the practitioners of the new eugenics.  There will be only disdain, opposition, and public shaming.

1 comment:

  1. Real Americans have disposable income. Poor Amuricants are simply disposable. F#@& the poor. (sarcasm)