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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,166

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

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

http://www.susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=704

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.

http://doyle-scienceteach.blogspot.com/2011/06/logic-of-arne.html

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.









Obama needs to call Arne Duncan out for his new tactics for special education students.

The Secretary of Education of a Democratic administration has just announced that he is pushing for a harder curriculum and expanded testing for students with special needs.

This is a dangerous thing to say, and it will do much harm. I expect there to be someone in authority telling Arne Duncan the truth about this policy. So far, nothing but outrage from educators. No leaders in politics in power telling him he is wrong.

If the president does not approve of this new idea of Arne's that problems of special education will be solved by harder curriculum and more testing, then he should say so. If he is silent then it must be assumed he is either unaware of it or he agrees.

It is a dangerous and harmful policy.

Arne Duncan Proposes New Accountability for Special Education by Diane Ravitch.

Duncan actually said the following: “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”

Really? Guess he doesn’t know that not all special needs will disappear with the right curriculum, standards, and testing. Guess he subscribes to the same thinking as school administrators who believe kids will outgrow their learning disabilities and differences, thereby requiring fewer support services as they mature. That’s one way to justify cutbacks in the services they need and the special educators and therapists who administer them.

Yes, we should have high expectations for children with special needs. But access to a “robust curriculum” is not the answer. Nor is testing them. Nor is threatening their teachers and schools in the same manner as Duncan’s approach to general education.


There is more about it in the Washington Post.

Obama expands use of standardized tests for special-needs and American Indian students



The president and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have for years been using student standardized test scores to hold students, teachers and principals “accountable” even though assessment experts say they aren’t reliable enough to be used for that purpose. Assessment experts say that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed and nothing else, yet the administration keeps finding additional ways to use standardized test results in ways that are questionable.

Earlier this week, Duncan announced that the administration was tightening its oversight of states in regard to how they educate special-needs students, applying more stringent criteria. From now on, the department will not only consider whether proper procedures are being conducted but on outcomes, including how well these students score on standardized tests and the achievement gap, based on test scores, between students with and without disabilities.

How well special education students perform on a test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, will be one of the factors considered. This marks the first time that NAEP scores have been attached to any education policy that has potential consequences; the Education Department could withhold federal funds to states that don’t comply with the new special education regulations, though officials there said that is not something they want to do. But NAEP, a test given every two years to a nationally representative sampling of students, wasn’t designed for this purpose. When asked by reporters about whether using NAEP for this purpose was turning it into a high-stakes test, Duncan said, “I wouldn’t call it high stakes.” He said his department was using NAEP because, however “imperfect,” it was the “only accurate measurement we have.”


One of the latest twitter pics says it more clearly than I ever could.


Arne Duncan and Special Education – A Dangerous Mixture

Arne Duncan and Special Education – A Dangerous Mixture

I said I was on vacation and not posting again after Monday, but on the eve of my departure, this came crawling across my Facebook feed via my fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Chicago Public Fools:

Arne Duncan Proposes New Accountability for Special Education by Diane Ravitch.

Duncan actually said the following: “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”

Really? Guess he doesn’t know that not all special needs will disappear with the right curriculum, standards, and testing. Guess he subscribes to the same thinking as school administrators who believe kids will outgrow their learning disabilities and differences, thereby requiring fewer support services as they mature. That’s one way to justify cutbacks in the services they need and the special educators and therapists who administer them.

Yes, we should have high expectations for children with special needs. But access to a “robust curriculum” is not the answer. Nor is testing them. Nor is threatening their teachers and schools in the same manner as Duncan’s approach to general education.


Another education blogger has this to say:

Quite Possibly the Stupidest Thing To Come Out of the US DOE

Arne Duncan announced that, shockingly, students with disabilities do poorly in school. They perform below level in both English and math. No, there aren't any qualifiers attached to that. Arne is bothered that students with very low IQs, students with low function, students who have processing problems, students who have any number of impairments-- these students are performing below grade level.


Editing to bold this sentence.

And he notes with some sarcasm just how stupid this all is.

That's it. We should just demand that disabled students should do harder work and take more tests.

When Florida was harassing Andrea Rediske to have her dying, mentally disabled child to take tests, they were actually doing him a favor, and not participating in state-sponsered abuse.

...We don't need IEPs-- we need expectations and demands. We don't need student support and special education programs-- we need more testing. We don't need consideration for the individual child's needs-- we just need to demand that the child get up to speed, learn things, and most of all TAKE THE DAMN TESTS. Because then, and only then, will we be able to make all student disabilities simply disappear.

This is just so stunningly, awesomely dumb, it's hard to take in.


And from the Dallas Morning News:

Reaction from trenches to Arne Duncan’s push on special ed testing

He urges his readers to follow Diane Ravitch's blog for the latest debates about education reform.

You’ll learn something. You’ll learn the depth of feelings out there in the trenches whenever the high sheriffs pronounce a new push in the name of “accountability.”

Most recently it was Arne Duncan’s announcement of tighter oversight on special ed.

Behold the physics of public policy, and strong reaction to this federal action. From a writer linked off of the Ravitch blog, this:

Kevin Huffman, education boss of Tennessee (a lawyer with a Teach for America stint as his education background), also chimed in on the conference call, to explain why disabled students do poorly, and how to fix it.

He said most lag behind because they’re not expected to succeed if they’re given more demanding schoolwork and because they’re seldom tested.


It's like the politicians in charge of education now have no awareness that there are children who really truly have severe disabilities that limit their ability to learn. That is the worst and most cruel kind of stupid from people who refuse to even listen to educators.



I do have a comment. Are you advocating for 2-tier education?

Your words here sound that way.

It shows a high degree of structure. And in many low SES households, a lot of research shows, the kids lack structure and need structure. And knowledge is to a large extent structure building. When you learn information, it has to come with structure that you replicate or you have to build the structure yourself ex nihilo. The latter is a lot harder than the former. High achievers learn to do this. Low achievers need to have structure provided. High achievers tended to comment, and figure everybody's like them.

It's also judged bad because it didn't show critical thinking, another "X" and the current Moloch of all educational practices. But without facts and background there is no critical thinking, CT skills are discipline-specific, fact-grounded, and high-level. This was year 1 for kids in the prep school. Fifth grade is where kids in poorer communities often start seriously falling behind, when all those expensive early-childhood intervention programs' effects become "statistically significant" but only *statistically* significant.


In my many years of teaching I taught in both high income and near poverty level schools. I don't quote research on this because it is not only low SES households that can be unstructured and dysfunctional. Not by a long shot.

When that kind of mindset is put forth, it essentially says poor kids get rigid strong discipline as in the KIPP type discipline and that shown in the video. And the upper income kids get more of the kind that is seen in Sidwell and that which kids of many other politicians attend.

So I really do question that premise.

A 5th grade Social Studies lesson at Nashville Prep.



About Nashville Prep

NJ school has RF-tags on students, teachers. Teachers' lounge, classrooms wired video & audio.

Hat tip to Jersey Jazzman for this appalling information. What's ironic is that the surveillance system cost 2 million, the district is now 3.6 million in the red for next year.

I would say priorities seriously out of order.

Why Do We Need Tenure? Ask Belleville's Teachers


BEA President Mike Mignone, with NJEA officers Sean Spiller, Wendell Steinhauer, and Marie Blistan.

That's right, my fellow teachers: in Belleville, a camera and microphone monitor every word uttered in the teachers break room!

But that's not all: all Belleville faculty, high school students, and middle school students must have special ID cards with them at all times. These ID's include "RF-tags," which are radio frequency devices similar to what you'd find in an EZ-Pass. They were originally used to track cattle: now, they track the positions of all staff and all students at all times.

That's right, my fellow teachers and parents: in Belleville, the movements of students and faculty are tracked at all times! Big Brother better not find out if you snuck off to the bathroom before the bell...

...When the system was booted up this past fall, the teachers union decided they'd had enough. It was bad enough the board wasted this money on invasive technology that wouldn't do anything to stop a Sandy Hook-like attacker. It was bad enough that teachers were now being watched constantly, as if they worked in a Soviet reeducation camp. But all of this had been implemented without the benefit of any negotiation, a clear violation of the collective bargaining rights of the BEA.


Mike Mignone, president of the union and pictured above, started speaking out about it. He pushed to examine the contract making process.

As Jersey Jazzman says guess what happened next.

As Mignone's lawyer puts it: in October, he found out; in November, he spoke out; in December, tenure charges were filed against him. Mignone, who had always had excellent reviews, suddenly found out he would be up on charges that included (get ready for this one) answering students' questions about the surveillance system. According to Mignone, his students asked him questions about whether they were being monitored; he took a few minutes out of class and gave them some honest answers. That, in this board's and this superintendent's minds, counts as a fireable offense.


Follow Jersey Jazzman on Twitter

Campbell Brown lawsuit fights due process rights for NY teachers. Robert Gibbs battles teachers also

Former Obama Spokesmen Join Attack on Teacher Tenure and Seniority

Stephanie Simon reports at politico.com that former high-level Obama advisors will help the fight against teacher unions and due process rights. Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who is highly antagonistic to teachers’ unions, is creating an organization to pursue a Vergara-style lawsuit in New York against teachers’ job protections. Her campaign will have the public relations support of an agency led by Robert Gibbs, former Obama Press Secretary, and Ben LaBolt, former Obama campaign spokesman.

Simon writes:

“Teachers unions are girding for a tough fight to defend tenure laws against a coming blitz of lawsuits — and an all-out public relations campaign led by former aides to President Barack Obama.

“The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones — the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign — will take the lead role in the public relations initiative.”


To have cheaper teachers, more temporary type teachers, fewer career teachers....they must overcome any job security or due process that exists. Then the layoffs can begin, and the private teacher recruitment companies can step in with their recruits for which they charge districts several thousand dollars each.

Weigh that against the fact that hiring local laid off teachers is free of charge and benefits the local economy.

The billionaire reformers have the money and power. The public schools do not have the resources to fight such battles.

This is the policy of this administration. This is the education reform they seek and are getting.

The Obama Administration Picks a Fight With Teachers Unions

The Obama Administration Picks a Fight With Teachers Unions



Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama’s education secretary, was scorned last week by teachers union leaders and their supporters for applauding a California judge’s tentative ruling that the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional. “This decision presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect, and rewarding careers they deserve,” Duncan said.

Randi Weingarden, president of the American Federation of Teachers, chastised Duncan in an open letter for failing to defend California’s tenure rules. “Teachers across the country are wondering why the secretary of education thinks that stripping them of their due process is the way to help all children succeed,” Weingarten lamented in the letter, which was clearly meant to gird her members for battle.

The education writer Diane Ratvich, a staunch opponent of tenure reform efforts, went further, posting Duncan’s statement on the ruling on her website and arguing that it sounded like the words of a Republican. “Not a word about the real causes of unequal opportunity: poverty and segregation,” Ratvich wrote. “Who would have believed that a Democratic administration would … hail a court decision removing due process from public school teachers? Mitt Romney’s Secretary of Education (had he won) could have issued this press release.”

It is unexpected to see a top Obama administration official staking out a position so at odds with teachers unions. They are, after all, a key part of the the Democratic Party’s base. But Duncan’s praise for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu’s June 10 decision speaks volumes about the ruling’s potential to change the public education system in the U.S.


The article states that the teachers involved in the ruling received tenure after just 18 months. I don't think that is or has been the issue. After all Florida teachers lost tenure and due process in 2011. Florida teachers could not have received tenure for 3 years. That was plenty of time for good decisions to be made. Those pushing this issue simply want teachers to lose due process.

If teachers can be fired at the whim of administrators, that leaves them vulnerable to angry students, frustrated parents who refuse to believe their child can do wrong....and administrators with a punitive attitude.

Shocking view of rape from David Coe, son of the present leader of The Family, the Fellowship.

I've been reading about the outrageous words of George Will about rape. It's hard to wrap my mind around the attitudes that seem to be prevailing lately by the right wing.

I remembered something I had read in an article by Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family. It was in Salon in 2009.

We know that The Family was originally founded as an anti-labor movement by Abraham Vereides.

It was a movement more about power and making political contacts than about religion. The present leader is Doug Coe.

His son, David Coe, made some very strange remarks about those who rape as quoted by Jeff Sharlet in this article about C Street.

Sex and power inside “the C Street House”

Family leaders consider their political network to be Christ’s avant garde, an elite that transcends not just conventional morality but also earthly laws regulating lobbying. In the Family’s early days, they debated registering as “a lobby for God’s Kingdom.” Instead, founder Abraham Vereide decided that the group could be more effective by working personally with politicians. “The more invisible you can make your organization,” Vereide’s successor, current leader Doug Coe preaches, “the more influence you can have.” That’s true — which is why we have laws requiring lobbyists to identify themselves as such.

But David Coe, Doug Coe’s son and heir apparent, calls himself simply a friend to men such as John Ensign, whom he guided through the coverup of his affair. I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He’s a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was — or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate — he asked a young man who’d put himself, body and soul, under the Family’s authority, “Let’s say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?” The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. “No,” answered Coe, “I wouldn’t.” Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he’s among what Family leaders refer to as the “new chosen.” If you’re chosen, the normal rules don’t apply.


Their support of dictators around the world who commit atrocities is also a shocking stance, and it seems to prove the point about the group being about power....not about religion.

If the Family men who stood over John Ensign as he wrote a baldly insincere breakup letter to his mistress were naive about hearts that want what they want, they don’t claim ignorance about the strongmen with whom they build bonds of prayer and foreign aid. They admire them. Counseling Rep. Tiahrt, Doug Coe offered Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden as men whose commitment to their causes is to be emulated. Preaching on the meaning of Christ’s words, he says, “You know Jesus said ‘You got to put Him before mother-father-brother sister? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that’s what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn’t murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom.”


Sickening! 22 yr old assisted living supervisor won't let staff call 911. 80 yr old patient dies.

The only degree this 22 year old supervisor of an assisted living facility holds is that of Florida Nursing Assistant. Yet she held that man's life in her hands. I can not imagine not calling 911 for such an event as this.

This is a reputable well-known facility, so this is especially scary in my mind.

Assisted Living Supervisor Arrested After 80-Year-Old Lakeland Resident Dies



An investigation by the state Attorney General's Office found that an 80-year-old man who needed medical attention at a Lakeland assisted living facility died after a facility supervisor wouldn't let staff members call 911 for nearly four hours. The supervisor has been charged with neglect.

Rachel White Mobley, 22, who was promoted to executive director of the Grace Manor at Lake Morton facility at 610 Lime St. after the April 2013 incident, faces one count of neglect of an elderly person, a second-degree felony.

...At 11:30 p.m. on April 29, 2013, Burrows went to the nursing station and complained that he had a stabbing pain in his eye, the affidavit said, and facility employees Kristal Stowell and Samantha Spivey watched Burrows and saw that he was getting worse.


Mobley was called 6 times and asked permission to call 911. She finally told them to call the on-call health care agency.

In one of the calls, Mobley told Stowell to call the on-call home health agency. When Stowell did, the agency told Stowell to call 911, but Mobley still would not let her, according to the report.


It was later determined Burrows had a stroke.

Paramedics took Burrows to Lakeland Regional Medical Center at 3:42 a.m., and a CT scan showed that Burrows had a brain hemorrhage, the report said.

Burrows died at 7:25 a.m.


Burrows was chaplain at a local hospital for 26 years.

Why is a 22 year old woman with such poor judgment in charge of so many senior citizens and able to make life and death decisions for them?

From what I can gather from the article, this incident happened last year and has been being investigated all this time.

Okay, here we go. I edited this post to bold my exact words about age. Please note the words "with such poor judgement" . I also bolded part of the first paragraph to list her only degree which in most minds should not qualify her to lead a senior facility.

One can not win for losing here at DU now. She was arrested, the Attorney General said she was not qualified for the executive director position she was appointed to after Burrow's death. She is on administrative leave.



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