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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,141

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Danziger on Supreme Court recent rulings.

Great post at Muckety on widespread influence of Campbell Brown, hubby Dan Senor.

This is why reformers have so much power. Takes money and networking....public school teachers seldom have that.

Brown and Senor take on New York teachers

I tried to post the image of their contacts, but it won't seem to link or embed. Be sure to look at it.

Brown, a former CNN anchor, is the founder of Partnership for Educational Justice, which wants to abolish teacher tenure in New York.

She is also a director of Success Academy Charter Schools, a charter school network that has tangled with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Her husband, Senor, is a former adviser to the Romney campaign and spokesman for the Bush administration’s Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Senor is on the board of StudentsFirstNY, another group that has faced off against the teachers unions. The organization is an affiliate of StudentsFirst, founded by former DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee.

The couple’s school connections overlap in many ways, as illustrated in the interactive Muckety map above. StudentsFirst and Success Academy share funders and board members, including billionaire hedge funder Daniel Loeb.

So Campbell is with Eva Moskowitz

And Senor is with Students First and Michelle Rhee.

I did not know that.

War on teachers began with the DLC's stance on charter schools in 2000.

I guess we should have seen the war on teachers coming down the road. I think it was bound to happen, not because our party really intended to scapegoat teachers....but because they were in the way of financial profit. Things got out of hand when Arne Duncan was appointed and given free rein to make changes. Now it's like a steamroller.

It is actually a result of the rightward turn taken by the Democratic party leaders, which was led by the think tanks like the DLC (The Democratic Leadership Council).

Al From announced in 2000 that charter schools were the way to go.

"New Democrats" Call for School Choice

The issue of school choice has for years caused fissures in the Democratic Party, which receives significant support from labor unions including the anti-school choice Michigan Education Association (MEA).

However, the voices for greater competition in education are increasingly being heard from within the party.

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is now calling for reforms including school choice and merit pay for teachers.

In addition to school choice and merit pay, From's reforms include the establishment of performance goals for individual schools, national standards and testing, a national teacher corps, character education, and post-secondary vocational programs. Other proposals include lengthening the school year and day, ensuring access to preschool, and allowing experts who lack certification to teach.

Those things are now happening.

The rightward turn was very obvious when that group held a press conference in 2003 to announce that Howard Dean should not be president.

The 'D' in DLC Doesn't Stand for Dean (David Von Drehle, May 15, 2003, Washington Post)

More than 50 centrist Democrats, including Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, met here yesterday to plot strategy for the "New Democrat" movement. To help get the ball rolling they read a memo by Al From and Bruce Reed, the chairman and president of the Democratic Leadership Council. The memo dismissed Dean as an elitist liberal from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the party -- "the wing that lost 49 states in two elections, and transformed Democrats from a strong national party into a much weaker regional one."

...."We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."

Then came the new young New Democrats speaking out about how we needed to get away from the New Deal mindset. This article is from 2004.

It's time to pass torch, younger Dems say

They certainly did not mean to pass that torch to a more liberal generation.

"This generation is looking for ways to participate because we're tired of losing," says Jamal Simmons, 33, a consultant who has worked for presidential hopeful Wesley Clark and several other Southern candidates.

Simmons and his fellow "Young Turks" worry about the Democratic Party's dependence on interest groups, their relations with minority groups, the stereotypes that they are weak on defense and values, the Republican appropriation of the "reformer" label and the swaths of America that Democrats seem to have written off.

"We respect the struggles of the feminist movement, the civil rights movement and Vietnam, but (we) are not defined by those struggles," says Kirsten Powers, 37, a New York-based strategist and commentator for Fox News. "We want to take what is good in liberalism and make it better, and get rid of what is not working."

...Simmons, Powers and New York City-based consultant Dan Gerstein have been three of the bluntest commentators. "The party in certain respects is fossilized," says Gerstein, 37. "It's trapped in the last vestiges of the New Deal coalition. That coalition is no longer an electoral majority or even close to it."

A former aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., Gerstein wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Democrats have "fallen right back into the elitist, weak-kneed, brain-dead trap" they thought they'd escaped with Bill Clinton.

When Harry Reid and other Democrats called for George Bush's Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, to resign because he called teachers unions terrorist organizations....one would have thought it would set the tone for the future.

I don't want to link to CNS news, but it is from July 2008.

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate's second ranking Democrat, said Thursday that Education Secretary Rod Paige should resign for comments he made earlier this week describing the National Education Association as a "terrorist organization."

"I met with the governors who were there, and Secretary Paige did not say once that the National Education Association was a 'terrorist organization,' he said it twice," Reid told CNSNews.com. "I think it's despicable. I personally think the secretary should resign."

Reid, the Senate's minority whip, joins a growing chorus of lawmakers advocating Paige's resignation. Over the course of the week, Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) and Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) have voiced criticism of the education chief.

Funny thing though, there are no Democrats standing up for teachers' unions now. Not even as teachers are having the contracts and due process rights taken from them by legal actions.

Of course it is not just public education that is on the firing line now. And that we should have seen for sure, many did and spoke out.

Matt Stoller in 2007 at MyDD told of what really happened when when new trade deals were announced publicly by Nancy Pelosi.

Well this is interesting. On the day of a massive series of votes on Iraq and the day after a DoD Authorization mark-up in which habeas was struck, there's a huge press conference announcing a bipartisan free trade deal with increased labor and environmental standards. Labor is flipping out, apparently unsure of what to do. I've made three or four calls and the details are somewhat murky. One person I spoke with was Peter Chandler of Congressman Mike Michaud's office. Michaud signed a letter that someone else slipped to me from six Democrats (the others are Allen, Ryan, Kildee, Hare, Linda Sanchez) asking for an internal caucus discussion of an impending deal. Forty minutes after they sent this letter came the press conference.

Peter told me that no one except the people in the room had seen the language, so the caucus at large is not ok with it yet. He's suspicious because a big announcement is made suddenly with the Republican leadership on Ways and Means, and Democratic caucus members have very little information about it. Fair Trade Democrats wanted to be partners in the effort to make sure the new deal is a complete departure from the NAFTA trade deal, but they were apparently boxed out by leadership, including Rangel. I heard from a someone less reliable source that Rangel promised labor they would have a chance to see the language in the agreement and discuss it before an announcement, but that didn't happen.

There are a lot of murky details, and more is going to come out. But let's just look at who was in the room for the announcement.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus
House Ways & Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel
House Ways & Means Ranking Member Jim McCrery
New Democrat Coalition Leadership:
Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Chair, New Democrat Coalition
Rep. Adam Smith. Vice-Chair, New Democrat Coalition
Rep. Ron Kind, Vice-Chair, New Democrat Coaltion
Rep. Artur Davis, Vice-Chair, New Democrat Coalition
Rep. Joe Crowley, Vice-Chair and Whip, New Democrat Coaltion

The DLC warned for years about the dangers of liberals getting too much power in the party.

Al From is wrong again.

Recently, Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, used a front page New York Times story to warn Senator Obama and other Democratic leaders that, "the antiwar people cannot define the Democratic Party."

Al From is wrong, again.

For years, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has been warning the Democratic Party about the dangers of being associated with progressive values, ideas and policies. Time and again, their advice has proven disastrous.

In 2003 Democratic senator Evan Bayh said these words:

n 2003 Evan Bayh had some powerful words about "the left". He was afraid we would take over the party.

Bayh under Fire

Bayh has a history of sparring with the left in his party. As chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council in 2003, he warned of then-rising presidential campaign of Howard Dean. “The Democratic Party is at risk of being taken over by the far left,” he told DLC members in 2003. “We have an important choice to make: Do we want to vent, or do we want to govern?”

In 2009 Bruce Reed, the then chairman, in an interview with CQ Politics said the mission of the DLC was complete. The link appears to be dead, but I saved his words.

“The political mission of the DLC has been largely accomplished,” said Reed, who’s had the group’s No. 2 post since 2001. “Twenty-five years ago, the forgotten middle class had serious doubts about Democrats, and now Democrats are winning the middle class, suburban voters, moderates by handsome margins. Our next challenge is to deliver on that promise and earn those votes for years to come.”

The DLC disbanded I think in 2011, and the above mentioned Kirsten Powers announced that the Third Way was taking its place. I guess that makes them the new policy shop for the Democrats.

Teachers from Hawaii and New York sound off in righteous rants about Arne's ed reform.

Alan Isbell is a fourth-grade teacher at the Wailuku Elementary School in Wailuku, Hawaii. He is a delegate from the Hawaii State Teachers Association at this week's National Education Association convention in Denver.

School reform is just another advertising campaign

No Child Left Behind. Race to the Top. Everything's Better with Blue Bonnet on It.

Notice the similarities between government education reform programs and other advertising campaigns? They both have catchy slogans. They both employ exaggeration, statistical deception, and cockamamie claims to sell their products. As a result, many in high places make hay, assumedly without experiencing a twinge of guilt over the campaign's spewing of lies.

Thousands of teachers have converged upon Denver this week for the National Education Association's annual convention. A great many of those educators, when it comes to government reforms in education, are mad as hell, and are not taking it anymore.

....Why? Because it is so much political doggerel. Teachers know it. Principals know it. District superintendents know it. The emperor wears no clothes.

The emperor referred to here is none other than U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

And from New York a blog called Opine I Will.

Yes, I do quote education bloggers. Of course I do. They blog about education because they know what they are talking about....unlike the mainstream corporate media spouting talking points from billionaire reformers.

Ashamed to be a teacher today

Today was the first day I was ever ashamed to be a teacher.

Today I finished administering the sixth day of New York State Common Core assessments. I was a facilitator in a process that made my 10 year old students struggle,to the point of frustration, to complete yet another 90 minute test. I sat by as I watched my students attempt to answer questions today that were beyond their abilities. I knew the test booklets I put in front of them contained questions that were written in a way that 95% of them had no chance of solving. I even tried to give my students a pep talk, in hopes of alleviating their angst, when I knew damn well they didn’t stand a chance. Today I was part of the problem.

As I watched my students, I was angry that my efforts to stop this madness were not successful. I was angry at my students’ parents for not opting out their children. I was angry at my administrators for not stepping up to the plate and attempting to end this madness. I was angry at Governor Cuomo, NY Education Commissioner King, the Board of Regents, my state senator, my state assemblyman, President Obama, and even my state union. I was angry that my students were victims in the abusive game to drive a political agenda.

I lost it today. I lost a little bit of my self esteem. I lost my faith in my Party. I lost my faith in my ability to protect my students. I lost my faith in our future.

I watched my students valiantly attempt math questions that most adults could not answer. These questions were wordy, and purposely confusing in a warped way to prove some vulgar point about our public education system. Historically, my students excel on standardized tests, often finishing near the top of our district and state. Today I witnessed , no I was part of!! students enduring an abusive situation.

And also the words of the former assistant Education Secretary under George HW Bush.

We are living in an era when the very idea of public education is under attack, as are teachers' unions and the teaching profession. Let's be clear: these attacks and the power amassed behind them are unprecedented in American history. Sure, there have always been critics of public schools, of teachers, and of unions. But never before has there been a serious and sustained effort to defund public education, to turn public money over to unaccountable private hands, and to weaken and eliminate collective bargaining wherever it still exists. And this effort is not only well-coordinated but funded by billionaires who have grown wealthy in a free market and can't see any need for regulation or unions or public schools.

In the past, Democratic administrations and Democratic members of Congress could be counted on to support public education and to fight privatization. In the past, Democrats supported unions, which they saw as a dependable and significant part of their base.

This is no longer the case. Congress is about to pass legislation to expand funding of charter schools, despite the fact that they get no better results than public schools and despite the scandalous misuse of public funds by charter operators in many states.

Diane Ravitch at Huffington Post

Posted by madfloridian | Thu Jul 3, 2014, 10:59 AM (4 replies)

Scalia's words on government as "minister of God" with power to avenge.

Whenever the Supreme Court takes center stage, these words return to my mind. They literally scare me.

Justice Scalia: Government is the minister of God with powers to "avenge" to "execute wrath"

This is a video about Dominionism, it is about the part of the religious movement in the US that is not going to go away. We have to keep on being aware and dealing with it.

Joan Bokaer of Cornell University's Theocracy Watch gives a rundown on the growing danger of Dominionism, also known as Christian Reconstructionism, the ideology behind the scenes of Christian extremism in the United States and abroad. An important video for anyone who wants to understand the motives of the American Taliban and what's happening to American politics.


From the video near the beginning, she quotes the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 2002:
"Government...derives its moral authority from God. It is the minister of God with powers to "avenge" to "execute wrath" including even wrath by the sword."

First Things May 2002

A look at testing in the "pre-No Teacher Left Unblamed era". A retired administrator speaks out.

Your Kid Is Being Bullied - But Not in the Way You Think

Dr. James Arnold is retired. Was Assistant Principal at Shaw HS, Principal at Shaw in 2001 and Superintendent of Pelham City
Schools in 2010. He is a published author, has written 7 children’s books and contributes
regularly to the Atlanta Journal and Washington Post on educational matters.

He's also a blogger and recently started his Twitter feed

I remember these days he talks about when standardized testing was used as a tool by both parents and teachers to help guide the students' progress.

Right now your child in public education, from kindergarten through their senior year, is being bullied. Bullied by accountabullies that will tell you the only way public schools and public school teachers can be held accountable is through more and more standardized testing and data driven instruction and data points and data walls and data analyzation and more and more data until they finally prove that testing your kid is necessary and required but testing their kid in a private school is not really important. What?

Almost all of the tests I took during my educational career were teacher -made tests. You remember; those tests that individual teachers constructed designed particularly for the students in their classes that covered a well defined content area or subject. That was back when teachers were trusted and allowed to teach without legislative and Federal over the shoulder intrusiveness. The scores we made on those tests, believe it or not, ended up being a significant part of our grade at the end of each grading period.....

...... Students in the pre-No Teacher Left Unblamed era generally took one or two standardized tests during their educational careers. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills was widely used, but the scores did not define the student or the teacher, and parents may have privately done the happy dance when their kids were in a top percentile but did not hang their heads in shame when their progeny were scored on the wrong end of the bell curve because - this is hard to believe - the information was private and not open for public discussion. No attempts were made to shame students or teachers into higher levels of performance. Unbelievably, the information was sent home to parents, but, more importantly, used by teachers to denote where improvements in instructional focus might occur. There is little chance of that happening today with our post-mortem assessment mentality where the tests are given at the end of the school year and results returned far too late for teachers to affect any sort of learning focus from those results. There were no “gotcha” moments when scores were announced because, well, scores weren’t announced.

Well those days are gone, but it's good to see administrators as well as teachers realizing there really is bullying going on now as far as testing goes.

And it's not going to get any better. In fact Arne Duncan has come up with some theories of his own about all the problems testing will solve.

Dr. Arnold had a guest column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about that new policy.

Guest post at Atlanta Journal Constitution. The 'bizarro" state of American education today.

Dr. Arnold's letter to Arne Duncan. Good to see administrators speaking out also.


Doctors, Dentists, insurance companies, police officers, lawyers and every other profession you can name are not only allowed but required to take into consideration pre-existing conditions, prior service, previous records and personal history of their clients when computing recommendations, outcomes, professional services, treatments and payments. If you truly consider teaching a profession, can you offer them less? To hold teachers or members of any other profession accountable for things they cannot control is reprehensible.

One of the first things every teacher does at the beginning of a new school year is learn about his/her students. It is incumbent upon administrators to follow that example. Learn about teachers, learn about your profession, learn about those things that motivate teachers to help students succeed at higher and higher academic levels. Learn also the difference in motivations for professional teachers and for corporate reformers. Teachers, as you noted in the past, are indeed members of a profession of “nation builders and societal leaders dedicated to our highest ideals.” Please do not confuse teaching, as you seem to have done, with social engineering and misguided corporate reform for financial gain. We cannot fix every student and we cannot save them all, but we will save every child that we can. You must be the leader out of the wilderness of blame and the wrong headedness of equating student progress to a score on a standardized test. Talk to real teachers. Learn from real teachers. Be a teacher. Lead.

Guest post at Atlanta Journal Constitution. The 'bizarro" state of American education today.

Maureen Downey of the AJC hosts an education writer's post about Arne Duncan's policies.

Jim Arnold is a former superintendent of Pelham City Schools. He's written several guest pieces for the Get Schooled blog and has his own blog.

Here is Dr. Jim Arnold's blog.

The 'bizarro" state of American education today. More Joker than Superman?

Education seems to have entered its own Bizarro World with Arne Duncan’s policies and beliefs. President Obama’s appointee to head the U.S. Department of Education, second only to Bill Gates as the most powerful force in US educational policy, believes strongly in the Bizarro theory of educational improvement; whatever research says, do the opposite.

....In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up,” Duncan recently noted the performance of special education students in several states was not meeting his lofty expectations. His solution, again meeting Bizarro requirements, was to raise expectations and subject SPED students to more standardized testing by using National Assessment of Educational Progress as an indicator of their progress.

Even though NAEP was not designed to measure this, Bizarro reasoning says it’s OK because “it’s the best we have.” Parents of students with a learning disability will be happy to know their concerns, fears and worries can be erased with the amazing combination of higher expectations and more testing. Who knew?

...If standardized testing were an effective measure of teacher performance and student academic achievement, why haven’t private schools and post -secondary institutions jumped on the bandwagon so their students would not, so to speak, be left behind. That there is no such groundswell seems to indicate the benefits of standardized testing presented by accountabullies in the name of accountabalism only accrue to public school students.

Isn’t it a shame that the children of those making the rules almost always attend schools exempt from those policies?

Posted at Twitter

Duck Dynasty's Jase promotes book in FL church. Rolls onto stage on ATV with pastor.

Just a wee bit sensational in my mind. But he played to a full house at the megachurch in Lakeland, a crowd of 3,600.

Duck Dynasty Star Promotes His New Book in Lakeland

Picture courtesy Lakeland Ledger

Jase Robertson, star of the reality TV series "Duck Dynasty," entertained a capacity audience of about 3,600 Sunday morning at Lakeland's Family Worship Center.

Robertson, part of a Louisiana family whose business revolves around manufacturing duck calls, arrived on the stage at the front of the spacious sanctuary riding an all-terrain vehicle, along with the church's pastor, Reggie Scarborough. Robertson wore camouflage pants, a black T-shirt and black cap. His trademark thick beard was on full display.

Robertson, 44, strode the stage wearing a headset microphone and spoke for about 35 minutes. Anecdotes from the shooting of "Duck Dynasty" generated plenty of laughter, but Robertson repeatedly emphasized the role of Christian faith in his life.

...Family Worship Center is an independent Pentecostal church. Though some in the audience wore suits and dresses, many were attired in jeans or camouflage pants and all manner of "Duck Dynasty" T-shirts.

A billionaire reformer when Arne was chosen: The stars are now aligned.


The Broad Institute is one of those like Gates and Walton foundations who are taking over public education. Eli Broad trains superintendents who are then chosen to move in and take over school systems in a hostile manner.

One thing about Eli Broad: He can't resist gloating. Note this snippet from The Broad Foundation Annual Report 2009/2010: Entrepreneurship for The Public Good in Education, Science, and the Arts :

The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary
of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.

With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments--charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards--the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.

More about Arne from a popular science blogger...yes indeedy I quote bloggers a lot. I find them more honest than the network media.


The logic of Arne

“Diane Ravitch is in denial and she is insulting all of the hardworking teachers, principals and students all across the country who are proving her wrong every day."
Arne Duncan

This is a fascinating logic statement, and my brain's smoking trying to parse it.

I'm a hard-working teacher, working for a hard-working supervisor, under a hard-working principal. And yes, our test scores have incrementally risen over the past few years, and yes, we're recognized as a nationally distinguished Title 1 school.

Incremental gains in "standardized" tests, tests that have us slapping our foreheads as we push mediocre writing habits on our borderline kids so that we make the grade, hardly counts as education.

Getting through another year of AYP successfully is like passing a ridiculously large and hard stool. You do it because you have to, there's a modicum of relief when it's done, and you pray you haven't done too much damage when passing it.

I'm hanging on to the edge of civility here, but if Arne keeps up his nonsense, I'm going to ask him to perform another bodily function not often mentioned in polite company.

Arne Duncan and Eli Broad are good friends and love to have their pictures taken together.

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