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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:19 AM

 

A teacher asks: Donate to Center for American Progress? Are you kidding?

I'm on the email solicitation list for the Center for American Progress, a "progressive" think-tank in Washington. And, apparently, they want my money - badly...

(His letter to them follows...)

Dear Tom:

I actually do give to several "progressive" causes. But as a working teacher, I will not give one damn dime to the Center for American Progress. Because you people are as responsible for pushing anti-union, anti-teacher, poorly-researched, reformy nonsense as any right-wing group in Washington. Why would I, as a working public school teacher and union member, support an organization that:

- Wants to implement test-based teacher evaluations, even as they acknowledge that the statistical models those evaluations are built on have high rates of error?

- Engages, in the words of John Thompson, in the "'Sister Souljah' tactic of demonstrating its independence from Democratic constituencies by beating up on educators"...?

- Advocates for increased class sizes on the basis of cost without comparing it to the cost of other policies?

It's bad enough we have to deal with education reforminess on the right; we really don't need it from the left as well. If you need money, go ask for more from Bill Gates or Eli Broad; they love the sort of stuff you're selling.

Best,
JJ


http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2012/12/donate-to-cap-are-you-serious.html

21 replies, 2545 views

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Reply A teacher asks: Donate to Center for American Progress? Are you kidding? (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
xchrom Dec 2012 #1
gtar100 Dec 2012 #2
anniebelle Dec 2012 #3
DailyGrind51 Dec 2012 #4
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #10
jtuck004 Dec 2012 #11
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #5
hootinholler Dec 2012 #8
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #9
Sunlei Jan 2013 #12
Android3.14 Jan 2013 #15
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #13
Android3.14 Jan 2013 #14
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #16
Android3.14 Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #18
fugop Jan 2013 #20
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #21
Sunlei Jan 2013 #19
dotymed Dec 2012 #6
Sunlei Dec 2012 #7

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:22 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:10 AM

2. Sad to hear. Didn't know that about the CFAP.

I hope they change because they've done a lot of other good work.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:32 AM

3. Thanks for the info.

I've always thought CFAP was a well-run progressive organization. They will see no more of my money.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:37 AM

4. To be "Progressive" means to welcome rather than fear change, only "Conservatives" fear attempting

anything new. If "new" works, after thorough objective analysis, keep it, if "new" doesn't work, reject it, however, to dismiss it out of hand, because you might have to alter your current method of doing things, is why "Conservatives" rejected the Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, Pay Equality for Women, and the Affordable Care Act.

Everything changes, eventually!

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Response to DailyGrind51 (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 01:38 PM

10. Privatization scams NEVER work.

 

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Response to DailyGrind51 (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:12 PM

11. Actually "progressive" refers to progress, reform, improved conditions, not just change


for the sake of change. Changes are proceeded by a plan to get somewhere better. And while everything may change, it's the quality of what happens on the other side that makes all the difference.

Progressives came about as a reaction to the bad things that were happening to people in the age of industrialization, many times where tyrants or poverty was a condition to be overcome. Progress means freeing people from those things, or even helping them free themselves. The opposition to the things listed above are actually followers of a neo-liberal philosophy that has nothing to do with opposing change.

For example, the opposition would embrace change if it meant sticking an ultrasound wand in the womb of every formerly free woman in this country.

They aren't against change at all. What distinguishes us is the kind of changes we work toward.

Oh, as far as testing...

"Testing improves education the same way that bombing promotes democracy"
Steve Cohn, Education professor at Tufts University.


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:43 AM

5. Because, after all, the school system is doing so awesome

Our kids are doing so well, who needs to support any change at all?
/sarcasm

After teaching for ten years, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that our backwoods ignoramus Republican voting population is a result of the past 50 years of "progressive" education. In order to have a progressive population that supports humane governance that includes sane healthcare/environment/domestic and foreign policy, we must hold students accountable, hold teachers accountable, dissolve school boards and create a national curriculum.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:59 AM

8. Enjoy your stay then

To blame the state of our schools on progressiveness is simply wrongheaded.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:25 AM

9. The data are compelling.

A namby pamby approach to public education leads to the downfall of a progressive democracy. The debacle in Florida would never have happened if people had a good education.
In the effort to make education modern, we managed to create multiple generations of ignorant people who are more concerned with feeling good about themselves or providing validation for any stupid opinion that floats down the Pike than with actual learning. Our students have the highest self esteem in the world. In fact, the only population I know of that has higher self esteem than US students is the U.S. prison population.
More than fifty years ago we started pretending that we'd been educating people wrong for the past 400,000 years or more.
We denigrated rote learning, pushed the meme that education was wrong unless it was fun, and we started social promotion and pretending that our students were learning to cover up the fact that they are leaving our high schools with a majority of them reading, writing and performing arithmetic several grade levels below what people were doing back in the 1940s.
The rise of liberalism comes from a well-educated society, and a well educated society takes a traditional, pragmatic and data-driven approach to public education.
Teaching and learning is what we humans do. We've been doing it ever since Brak showed Grok how to sharpen a stick. It's not a big secret with all the stupid jargon thrown around in modern education. I should know; I've been tossing around Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, Bloom's Taxonomy, and modalities of learning for years.
The problem with evaluating teachers with student tests is that no one is holding the students accountable. The problem with local school boards is that they respond to a parent's need to feel good about their kid rather than the child's need for a strong education. The problem with a patchwork curriculum is that social and cultural references are lost and we lose cohesiveness as a nation.
Until we recognize that education is more than a child's right, that it is also child's responsibility, we will continue to see teachers lose respect, continue to see a celebration of mediocrity, and continue to see dip shits like Palin, Bachmann and Limbaugh with a place at the forum of public discourse.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:38 PM

12. catching all those 'no child left behind' test score cheaters last year was a very GOOD start.

Many schools and hundreds of cheater teachers were exposed. Thousands of students were pushed ahead when they really did not have an education.

It will take decades to fix that mess and the students are not at fault at all.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:21 PM

15. My fear is that the fix is a collapse of the public system

Public education had such amazing potential, but it has turned into such a travesty.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:47 PM

13. My father had the sort of education you wish to see

Last edited Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:18 PM - Edit history (1)

He could tell you how much he loathed it in English, Latin, Greek, French, Hindustani, Tamil and Burmese.

Irony definitely intended.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:19 PM

14. That's my point. Your father is able to express himself

Students today, far too often, are unable to express or even comprehend their loathing in English.
"Thay terkk yar jerbs!"

Ask your father if he would rather he never learned those languages.

The strongest lessons are the ones we loathed learning. You think a child enjoys falling down trying to learn to walk? Somehow I suspect loathing is exactly what a toddler feels.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:44 PM

16. Evidently I didn't express myself perfectly, dad passed away in 1973 and left school before WWI

Why would you want children to loathe school and learning?

That's not a good way to prime someone for a lifetime of learning which is what's going to be needed for everyone in the high tech and constantly changing world we have today.

Toddlers don't care about falling down, they're so close to the ground and their mass is so low there's nowhere near the impact of an adult falling down. I've raised a child and helped with three grandchildren and unless they bump their head or something most toddlers just take it all in stride, so to speak.

What we really need is a better class of parents if we want children who are highly educated, there is no single thing that predicts success in education more strongly than a thoroughly involved parent or parents. My daughter started kindergarten already knowing how to read because I taught her and read to her every single day, that was a huge advantage that a lot of the other kids who didn't know how to read at that point never caught up with.







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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 05:26 PM

17. Teaching your own kids to read is a nice situation if you can afford it

Is that what you mean by a "better class of parent"? 'Cause I don't know about you, but most people with kids, especially parents living in poverty, are of a "class" of people who are working as hard as they can already. The real problem, like I mentioned earlier, is that the crippled education system has created multi-generational ignorance.
I taught my kids how to read as well, but then the school was unable to challenge them, and it's been mediocrity from first grade onward. The teachers actually expressed dismay that they came to them already able to read. The teachers aren;t stupid. Many know that what they are doing is a stopgap at best.
It is obvious you are mishearing my words in order to reinforce a preconceived notion. A child need not loathe education in order for it to be good. The problem is that we pretend that education requires far less effort than it actually does, that if it does create frustration that there is something wrong with the process. Any stage actor will tell you that memorization takes effort and includes frustration, but the reward for learning a part well is well worth that pain and effort.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 05:58 PM

18. It doesn't cost anything at all to teach someone to read

All you need is some books and a willingness to actually do the job at hand, if you have been reading to a child regularly from infancy they are usually eager to learn how to decode those squiggles that tell the stories they love to hear over and over again.

And I was one of those "class" of people who was just barely getting by at the time, at least partly because I was devoting more time to my child than to my career at that point.

Your insinuation that I am the one with preconceived notions and you are not is quite amusing.

Really advanced students often aren't challenged in school, I know I wasn't and I was two grades ahead of my age cohort through most of my primary and secondary schooling which of course caused social problems for me that I long ago realized I will never completely overcome.

Learning styles differ, I'm terrible at rote memorization although I have much better than average memory if I understand something, it's the understanding part that makes things stick in my mind when virtually no amount of rote repetition will put it there without understanding. I have a relative who is exactly the opposite, she memorizes even long passages easily but has a real aversion to trying to understand what she is memorizing, it actually interferes with her memorization to try and understand.




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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:16 AM

20. Kids don't need to learn to read before kindergarten

I read to mine all the time, and it was wonderful. Still do, and they're 10 and 8. I didn't teach them to read, although they knew their letters. I didn't see it as this big necessary thing. Still don't. Both learned to read in kindergarten, not before. Both are well above grade level readers. Neither was bored in kindergarten because we didn't feel the need to push them ahead of school.

One thing I agree on is that what makes kids strong learners is parental support for learning at home. The kids that I see struggling, already getting lost in the system, are those whose parents never check their folders, never teach them the importance of homework (by checking it every night and checking what's coming home), by caring about what's being done.

Frankly, most kids will say they don't like school no matter how much people think they need to make learning "fun." Learning is work. It requires dedication and focus. It's by nature not going to be seen as fun. Still, school is a kid's "job." They should know that. Some things in life are important, even if they're not fun.

All that being said, teachers have the toughest, often most thankless job out there. They're my heroes for doing what they do every day.

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Response to fugop (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 11:37 AM

21. I've actually taught three children to read, they all were eager to learn it

As I said, they are excited to be able to read their favorite stories themselves, if they have heard the stories many times while looking at the books it's a quite natural process for them to start following along, it doesn't take much encouragement at all for the ones I have taught.

One thing I emphasized when teaching reading was to read with feeling in the voice rather than the monotone most kids tend to use when reading out loud, that really encourages reading a little beyond where you are speaking so that you know what the correct emotion or voice for a given passage is.

One of the things I have noticed over the years is that at some point most children stop asking "why?" all the time. The adults I most enjoy conversing with are those who still have that hunger to know why things are the way they are, a fairly small subset of the people I come into contact with these days.



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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 09:55 AM

19. It doesn't take money to make a good parent and have well educated children.

Seems like you were well aware your kids were as you said, "not challenged, an education of mediocrity"

Then you step up and challenge them, you add to their education. There is no excuse of lack of time to spend with your kids..if you put the time into knowing their school sucked. then you could have put the time into helping your kids be better than average. I hope you didn't tell your kids that.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:45 AM

6. I received a similar request.

My e-mail was from people trying to raise money, through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, for vaccinating children in developing countries. This could have been a legitimate and valiant cause. When I read that it was through the Gates foundation, I wrote them back. I suggested they have the Gates divert some of their vast (and gotten through exploitation) fortune to fund this project rather than rw organizations like center for american progress.

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Response to dotymed (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:53 AM

7. good post, thank you. These right wing groups squander billions to set America back to the dark ages

If they only could have focused on the good and positive for all people instead of the harm to destroy.

Think of how many new schools and hospitals could have been built with those billions.

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