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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 01:28 PM
Original message
What price will we pay for high test scores?
I was reading about this California charter school, and the retired teacher in me got all sentimental. I wondered if the day would come again when we could teach real subject matter and the student could think and ponder and absorb topics that would not be on a timed test.

This is a public charter school, and it gets money from the public education system.

This school prides itself on teaching to the test more than ever. It prides itself on despising teachers' unions and firing teachers frequently. The article lists this from their website:

School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded "self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort," to quote the school's Web site.


The goals of President Obama's Secretary of Education is to have more charter schools and to have more testing. This worries me to see goals like this.

School Turns Ideas of Education Upside Down

Not many California schools recruit teachers with language like this: "We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. ... Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply."

That, it turns out, is just the beginning of the ways in which American Indian Public Charter and its two sibling schools go against the grain of mainstream education. These no-frills, independent public schools in the hard-scrabble flats of Oakland sometimes seem like creations of television's "Colbert Report." They mock liberal orthodoxy with such zeal that it can seem like a parody.


Here is more about the school's discipline and teaching methods.

Students, almost all poor, wear uniforms and are subject to disciplinary procedures redolent of military school. One local school district official was horrified to learn that a girl was forced to clean the boys' restroom as punishment.

Conservatives, including columnist George Will, adore the American Indian schools, which they see as models of a "new paternalism" that could close the gap between the haves and have-nots in American education. Not surprisingly, many San Francisco Bay Area liberals have a hard time embracing an educational philosophy that proudly proclaims that it "does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance."


They pride themselves on going back to the basics, but there seems to be little real learning and teaching and communicating going on there. It seems very rigid.

So what are they doing? The short answer is that American Indian attracts academically motivated students, relentlessly (and unapologetically) teaches to the test, wrings more seat time out of every school day, hires smart young teachers, demands near-perfect attendance, piles on the homework, refuses to promote struggling students to the next grade and keeps discipline so tight that there are no distractions or disruptions. Summer school is required.

Back to basics, squared. "What we're doing is so easy," said Ben Chavis, the man who created the school's success and personifies its ethos, especially in its more outrageous manifestations. (One example: He tends to call all non-white students, including blacks, "darkies." )


It really doesn't matter how I as a retired teacher feel about schools like this. This school appears to embody the goals of our new Secretary of Education. He wants charter schools and more testing, and he will push for those results. It doesn't matter what teachers think or what teachers' unions think. Teachers' unions are now expendable under this education department.

Arne Duncan speaks of more charter schools and more testing

Part of the stimulus money, he told Sam Dillon of The New York Times, will be used so that states can develop data systems, which will enable them to tie individual student test scores to individual teachers, greasing the way for merit pay. Another part of the stimulus plan will support charters and entrepreneurs.


Part of the education stimulus will go for building a testing database to better judge teachers by the students' test scores.

Teachers should pray to only have smart students when testing time comes around.

Duncan paid his first visit to New York City last week ("New Education Secretary Visits Brooklyn School," New York Times, Feb. 19, 2009). He did not visit a regular public school, but a charter school. Such decisions are not happenstance; they are intended to send a message. Bear in mind that the regular public schools enroll 98 percent of the city's one-million-plus students.

At the charter school, Duncan endorsed the core principles of the Bush education program. According to the account in the Times, Secretary Duncan said that "increasing the use of testing across the country should also be a spending priority." And he made this astonishing statement: "We should be able to look every second grader in the eye and say, 'You're on track, you're going to be able to go to a good college, or you're not...Right now, in too many states, quite frankly, we lie to children. We lie to them and we lie to their families."


The charter mentioned above is one of the top scoring schools in the state. That is apparently the goal of education now.


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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well, of course they'd show high test scores.
They kick out anyone who doesn't have "near-perfect" attendance. How hard is that? ANYONE should be able to pull this off.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That is a good point.
Fire teachers freely, require near perfect attendance...don't even look up from your work to look at a visitor to class...not even to smile. If you do disobey you get detentions and military style punishments heaped on

I never had those options, but my classes got good test scores because they cared and I cared.

And they learned more than just the test.
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BolivarianHero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 07:43 AM
Response to Reply #4
39. Fuck all this bullshit...
Edited on Thu Jun-04-09 07:43 AM by BolivarianHero
The night before my political science exam, I smoked mad green and played cards with some 30-something woman I met on Craig's List. I got 94% on the exam (class average was 69%) and was the only student to finish the course with an A+ with a final grade of 91%. The fact that I paid attention, participated actively in all class discusions, and kept up (and ahead) with all readings made what I did the night before immaterial, and I did it all on my own volition, without some Nazi dink telling me when to go to class and what to put in my body. It helped that the prof was brilliant, the material was engaging, and the seminar was well run. :-P
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
16. Amen
Edited on Wed Jun-03-09 06:27 PM by proud2BlibKansan
Right before our annual state tests, we are inundated with kids who have been kicked out of charter schools. As if testing the kids we have had all year isn't hard enough.

on edit: And we have maybe one charter school that makes AYP consistently. Most of our charters are abysmal failures. One charter had the nerve to brag that they had graduated 100% of their senior class when they had 3 kids in that senior class. They had kicked all the others out.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Ours are a mixed bag.
Most are white-flight charters with:

extremely strict attendance policies, leading to "counseling out" (they never call it "expulsion")strict behavior handbooks with plenty of reasons for "counseling out"/expulsion
long applications for attendance with essays - all in English
preference for local kids (and they locate right next to the all-white suburb)
no ELL services, so monolingual English need not apply, even if they could read the app
limited special ed support, so no ED, high need kids need apply
limited available seats at upper grades - if you're not there as a Freshman, forget getting in as a Jr. or Sr. - even though those grade levels are half the size of the 9th grade.


Now, you may be asking what's wrong with any of this? Isn't this what we should have? Well, maybe. But the fact is, the local public school can't get away with ANY of this. You have to have ironclad reasons for expulsion from a regular public school, because there is no alternative at that point. You're denying access to education, and that's a serious situation. A charter can do it with impunity - because they don't call it expulsion, and there's always the public school to go back to.

I won't even go into the ELL and sped issues. Appalling.
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dotymed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #24
38. OUR KIDS NEED TO REASON
Screw the test. We must teach our kids to think and not be
robots. Re-instate the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, and all Americans
will be encouraged to use logic instead of just believing
what the government wants them to. This is a critical first
step in improving our education.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R Our school system is a disaster. n/t
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. The free market mantra recited daily.
"In Lindsay Zika's eighth-grade classroom, the day begins precisely at 8:30 a.m., when, without prompting, her students recite the American Indian credo:

"The Family," they chant. "We are a family at AIPHS."

"The Goal: We are always working for academic and social excellence.

"The Faith: We will prosper by focusing and working toward our goals.

"The Journey: We will go forward, continue working, and remember we will always be part of the AIPHS family."

With barely a pause, they shift to the school's mission statement, which is twice as long and includes the promise that American Indian will develop students to be "productive members in a free market capitalist society."

Another day begins."

http://www.theledger.com/article/20090602/NEWS/90602505...



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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. And the ongoing destruction of our public school system marches onward
This is probably Duncan's wet dream right here, sad to say.

When we finally wind up with a generation of adults who know how to take tests, and nothing else, will they finally admit they made a mistake?
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moonbatmax Donating Member (290 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. Welcome to the Fourth Wave
This was the Third.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. K&R #5, off to the Greatest Page with this one. I don't believe that George Orwell's intent
was to produce an instruction manual, but leave it to Amerikans to miss the point by so wide a margin that they think the shot always was the point.

"You can't fix stupid" - Ron White


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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
8. Only high enough to get big returns on the investment.
Do you mean money or arcane knowledge? :D
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. Creating brainwashed slaves for the moneyed class.
I avoid giving my money to large corporations as much as possible, but since our government has decided to use my tax dollars to rescue failed corporations, it's kind of hard to see how that helps. Now it's time to vote out the corporatist politicians and vote in populists.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Now it's time to vote out the corporatist politicians and vote in populists.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
10. Mad, check this out
This is a guy who has been a dear friend for 25 years. I met him when he taught in my school district and he eventually left and took a job in another district. Read this piece and then read the comments left by his students. This is what NCLB does to creative teachers. Makes me ill.

Shawnee Mission North teacher has serious Facebook fans -- 960 of 'em
Wednesday, May. 27 2009

School's out for the summer at Shawnee Mission North this Thursday. But mixed with the glee that comes with the start of summer break is some anxiety that one of the school's most beloved teachers, Ned Scott, won't be back next year.

Scott, 52, is himself an SMN graduate, class of 1974. He's been a teacher for 22 years, 12 at SMN, where he teaches world geography to freshmen. He's also the sponsor of an after-school activity called the Combo Club, where kids bring their own instruments and jam to old songs. (Scott, as the tie-dyed shirt might indicate, is an old Deadhead.)

This year, he received three letters of reprimand from SMN's principal, Richard Kramer, detailing the boss's displeasure with Scott's unorthodox teaching methods. "A lesson on Homies failed to address the curricular objectives of World Geography," Kramer complained in a letter dated January 21. He ordered Scott to follow, unwaveringly, the course objectives outlined in district curriculum guides or risk termination.

Kramer, as one might suspect, hasn't been SMN's principal for long. This is his second year in the position. Prior to that, he was the vice principal, and before that, he was a gym teacher.

more . . .http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2009/05/shawnee_mission_nor...
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. OMG , I have heard of that stuff happening more and more.
That is just heartbreaking. A good teacher should be intelligent enough to not be forced to parrot words from a script. That is one reason I retired. The scripting, the pressure. That is not teaching and the kids are not really learning.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. I cried when I read the comments
Ned raised $7000 when he taught in an urban high school so the kids could have a baseball team. He is just an awesome guy and a gift to our profession. And now a freakin former GYM teacher gets to decide if he can continue teaching?! Outrageous.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. GD former gym teachers make the worst principals. nt
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. My dad was a middle school principal
Edited on Wed Jun-03-09 06:29 PM by proud2BlibKansan
He used to complain about the gym teachers. LOL

Worst teacher either of my own kids had in high school was the drivers ed/football coach. He was an ass.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I was regretting even writing that.
Yes, seems gym teachers have a lil more time on their hands to get the endorsement. No offense intended to good gym teachers. I did have one really awesome gym teacher but he was the exception.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
29. Those comments indicate he was a beloved teacher.
I am afraid our education system is screwed now.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #29
48. I had a principal tell me once I wasn't paid to be popular
She was a bitch and she gave me a horrible evaluation. So I mentioned that I was gratified my students seemed to like and respect me and I wish she had mentioned that on my evaluation. And she said I wasn't paid to be popular.

FWIW, the kids HATED this principal. LOL
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
31. A lot of men go to college primarily to play sports...
Edited on Wed Jun-03-09 08:42 PM by immoderate
When they get out, with their degrees in Phys Ed, and no bids from the pros, they become gym teachers.

There is no real career path for them except to certify in administration and become a principal.

This is uniquely American. In other countries, people go to college to get an education.

--imm
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
11. here`s a rather interesting article about arne`s nemesis in chicago
http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/April-2009/W... /

to bad obama rejects most if not all of ayers ideas...



after seeing the the way schools have changed over the years from education to teaching testing,0 tolerance for the most minor infraction ,and the use of tracking, my wife and i realized that if our kids were of grade and high school age we would home school.



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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
14. All charter schools are exactly like that one in every respect.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
18. K&R nt
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
19. I appreciate your continued effort to fight the good fight
and the information you provide.

I think charter schools are a scourge. Posts like yours might help others see it.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. If Arne and Obama are for them, it does not matter if I am against them.
Because they have the power, and I don't. Neither do the teachers who are becoming mostly victims of the system.
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Charter schools was an area on which I disagreed with Obama
I never trusted his position on it. However, I also don't think it's a position that he's spent a lot of time honing, and he's shown a willingness to learn and change. He's not Bush. I think you NEED to keep pounding on this.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #23
36. I think he is mostly misinformed by his friend Duncan.
I can't believe Obama thinks this is the way to go.
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #36
51. This is the key to many of the decisions
that DU'ers find disappointing. The most important thing about being a good leaser isn't to know everything, but to know who knows what you need to know. I don't think that Obama has chosen the right people to listen to.

A principal doesn't have to know how to teach every subject, he or she does have to know when good teaching is taking place. Good ones have an innate sense of learning when they see it. The bad ones fall back on checklists or, even worse, buddies who don't know shit. I'm getting more and more convinced that Obama lacks the innate feeling for good government. He is inspirational and, I think, well-intentioned. The problem comes from those he has chosen to rely on. Geitner and Rahm and Duncan come to mind. He is not being well served by these limited and prosaic men. He is not being well served by his supporters who won't point out the problems they are causing.
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #51
56. He also tends to rely on Harvard affiliations
Duncan went to the University of Chicago Lab schools AND to Harvard - I believe Geitner went to Harvard. During the campaign, I thought one of Obama's weaknesses was a lack of understanding of PUBLIC schools. He's never attended one, nor have his children. I'd hope that Michelle would step in here, but apparently she hasn't. I just wish her father had been a public school teacher instead of a postal worker, not that that's not a FINE profession, it is, but she doesn't seem to get it either.

I know someone who taught at a charter school. Putting aside the fact that he wasn't qualified to teach (he does not have a teaching certificate as far as I know), he had numerous complaints along the lines of what Madfloridian is saying. If he had a discipline problem, it was his alone. The assistant principal refused to be involved. If there were enough problems, the teacher would take the hit. He eventually lost his job (and of course, being non-union, had no recourse). Of course, he would have had to have had a teaching certificate to be in a teachers' union, which he didn't - and part of learning to be a teacher involves being a student teacher and learning the ropes to keep kids in line.

I guess I'll just add my weak voice and call the White House about charter schools every now and then. It can never hurt, right?
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
25. I have wondered why there has been so much emphasis on testing.
When no child left behind came out,it was measured with lots of tests. Some suggested that the recipient of the test co. contracts were Bush friends and or family. Can't remember now. Also there was zero tolerance policy and the dare program that seemed to predate the no child left behind. As a former teacher I'm glad to hear about your thoughts toward the "Educational goal" currently being furthered along by this mindless march. It is always great to hear teachers being able to evaluate these programs that create a military learning environment. I think someone here posted a video of pre school in Denmark where learning focused on social interaction developed via playing and not rote learning that goes on right now in the U.S. Ever thing in this country has been turned into a profit enterprise. Money trumps peace-g. bush Diatribune and Daily Kos, March, 30, 2007
Title: Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From NCLB
Author: Mandevilla

Researchers: Alan Scher and Sam Burchard

Faculty Evaluator: Karen Grady, PhD

The architect of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bushs first senior education advisor, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering. After ushering NCLB through the US House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmakerturning on spigots of federal fundsto lobbyist, tapping into those billions of dollars in federal funds for private investors well connected to the Bush administration.

A statute that once promised equal access to public education to millions of American children now instead promises billions of dollars in profits to corporate clients through dubious processes of testing and assessment and supplemental educational services. NCLBthe Business Roundtables revision of Lyndon Johnsons Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)created a high stakes testing system through which the private sector could siphon federal education funds. The result has been windfall corporate profit. What was once a cottage industry has become a corporate giant. Millions of dollars are being spent, says Jack Jennings, director of the Center on Education Policy, and nobody knows whats happening.http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/12-... /

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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Because it is a deliberate, concerted and ongoing effort to privatize the public school system
It's the right wing corporate wet dream, to privatize education. The moderate, corporate sector of the right sees dollar signs stretching forever, which arise from tuition fees(some of which will come out of public money in the form of vouchers), along with lower expenses and lower labor costs(private school teachers are truly underpaid). The religious fundy section of the RW sees more religious converts in their future, since the initial surge in private school enrollment can only be taken up by religious schools.

The ones who lose in this scenario are twofold. First, teachers are going to lose out as the teachers union will be busted. More importantly students are going to lose out as the curriculum is dumbed down even further. We will probably wind up with a two tier education system. The top tier, where students will get a somewhat better education, will be private, mostly religious. The bottom tier will be the remainders of the public school system, which will have been so starved and so deprived of material and manpower that it will be doing good just to keep the doors open, much less teach anything.

And the dumbing down of America continues apace, which has been the ultimate goal of the elite for generations now.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #26
49. Testing is also a quick and dirty way to show "progress"
Edited on Thu Jun-04-09 08:51 AM by proud2BlibKansan
Let's face it, any idiot can be taught to take a test and do well on it and any idiot can be trained to teach kids to take a test and do well on it.

I can remember when we spent the first month of elementary school building a community and teaching our kids to be kind to one another. Then we would get them involved in projects; they worked in groups and actually taught each other AND learned quite a bit of what the state thought they needed to know. Our classrooms were more like learning labs and they were so calm we used to joke we could run up to the store for donuts and coffee and our kids wouldn't even know we were gone.

I can also remember when we first started testing kids in MO and we had a test written by teachers that had more constructed responses and performance events than multiple choice questions. And that was a hell of a good test.

I am also more grateful every year that I went into special ed. We have some autonomy and less pressure to pull up test scores. And I actually get to teach. :)

But I am still smart enough to see what is going on and to know that we are NOT teaching our kids; we are training them to master content and regurgitate it on tests.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #49
57. So right. "Mastering content" is not really learning in depth.
Amen.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. The schools are going to fail and be turned into charter and other schools.
That is the goal of the NCLB.

I will quote Dean on this as he hit the nail on the head. From 2003...and the same goals exist today.

"The president's ultimate goal," said former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), one of the Democrats who now harshly attacks NCLB, "is to make the public schools so awful, and starve them of money, just as he's starving all the other social programs, so that people give up on the public schools."

..."It's going to cost them more in property taxes and other taxes than they are going to get out of it," Dean told The Associated Press following a campaign stop.

..."Every group, including special education kids, has to be at 100 percent to pass the tests," Dean said. "No school system in America can do that. That ensures that every school will be a failing school."
\

Getting rid of public schools by failing them
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jimlup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
28. Who the hell would work there?
I guess some teachers are hard up for a job but it doesn't appear that these guys are going to get the brightest and best...
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. I agree about the brightest and the best.
Working in that kind of atmosphere is not usually acceptable for the brightest....I mean just teaching to the test?

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armyowalgreens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
30. There was a bill in the AZ legislature to make it illegal to teach about communism or socialism.
A prick name Kavanaugh was responsible for that bullshit. Basically it said that no one can make any statements that undermine "American values of capitalism". Essentially that means that you can't teach that socialism is correct or even that it might be a better system.

Talk about McCarthy era bullshit.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #30
42. This kinda crap is why tenure was born.
And they wonder why.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
33. Why should kids care about education anyway?
It's not like there's going to be any jobs available, even if they can find a way to finance the hideous cost of college. They'd do better learning prostitution and street crime as electives.

Sorry, madfloridian, but if you managed to see things from the perspective of a fourteen year old child - a task I know no teacher in America is capable of doing - you would understand that rational sentiment. The kid doesn't care about learning Shakespere or calculus; he's worried about not getting beaten bloody after school, either by bullies his own age or bullies who are his parents.

So these charter schools are essentially like Nazi work camps? At least that only confirms the beliefs of the students forced to go there.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. That is an insulting thing to say about teachers.
You are entitled to your despondent attitude, but please don't insult those of us who for years worked with the kids and their families, saw to their needs best we could.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-03-09 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. A word of explanation.
I know about teachers. In school I was humiliated by them. I was beaten bloody while they did nothing to help.

Years later, I dated a teacher. I saw the lives she and her colleagues lead outside of school, their real feelings about learning and teaching and their students.

It's true that I didn't study every single teacher in the United States, but I got a pretty representative sample from two communities. I know enough that if someone tells me she is a teacher, I immediately back away. No sense diving into that cesspool again, even socially.


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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #35
41. I've known hundreds of teachers in my career.
And the vast, vast majority were still excited about their kids and their subject to the day they retired.

I'm really sorry your experience sucked so bad. It shouldn't have.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #41
54. Well, all I know is my experience.
I can listen to other people tell me how great something or some group is, but in the end I have to rely on my direct experience. It's like being told that gators make great pets, and no matter how many limbs I lose, I should get another one, because of the testimony that they're great pets.

And if someone asked my opinion of teachers, because I insist on honesty, I'd have to tell them "Based on the ones I've known, they don't give a damn about their students, and in their private lives they tend towards alcoholism and self-destructive behavior. That's what I've seen, and that's what I'm telling you." To do otherwise would betray myself.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #35
47. A word of explanation.
I know about black people. In school I was humiliated by them. I was beaten bloody while they did nothing to help.

Years later, I dated a black person. I saw the lives she and her black friends lead outside of school, their real feelings about work.

It's true that I didn't study every single black person in the United States, but I got a pretty representative sample from two communities. I know enough that if I see a black person, I immediately back away. No sense diving into that cesspool again, even socially.


Stereotyping if FUN and super progressive.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #47
53. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #33
40. Well, that's just not true at all.
"Sorry, madfloridian, but if you managed to see things from the perspective of a fourteen year old child - a task I know no teacher in America is capable of doing - you would understand that rational sentiment. The kid doesn't care about learning Shakespere or calculus; he's worried about not getting beaten bloody after school, either by bullies his own age or bullies who are his parents."

I work in a low-income, urban district. I know most people think it looks like "Boston Public", but it really doesn't. We have no metal detectors, no bars on the windows. I think we had a BB gun last year once. But in all, it's pretty much like any other school, except more run-down and brown.

But the kids do care about what they learn. We have more than 90% accepted to college - not that they'll all go, but they COULD if they wanted. Most kids take at least one college course before graduating. We do a lot to make things relevant - we had an expedition on the Harlem Renaissance this year that pulled in history, social studies, literature, music, and art. And the kids had a blast with it.

So, in my experience, this just isn't the case.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #40
55. My point is, why should kids bother?
They clearly see society going to Hell. They see their parents out of work, no job listings, businesses closing all over the place. There will be no work for them. They have no place in what is considered "civilized" society.

Oh, some may want to get an education for personal, conceited, stubborn reasons. But like all humans, the majority only does what's in their personal interest. Studying for a job they will never get doesn't make sense.

I'm sure it will be good for the schools, though. As an old grade school teacher of mine once said with uncontained glee at exam time, "The less, the merrier." Where Bush got rid of kids through back-door expulsion and created the "Texas Miracle" of high average scores, all schools will have their grade averages go up as kids simply give up and take to the streets. It'll be the "American Miracle." And it'll happen without the teachers or administration needing to do anything. Social malaise will be the salvation of American education, although not American society.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #55
58. Wow. I'm really sorry for you.
I've never known anyone - student or adult - with such an overwhelmingly bleak outlook on life. Even my Goth kids are more upbeat than that.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. That's no surprise. Goth kids are phonies.
They haven't had dreams crushed. They haven't been beaten bloody. They just adopt an attitude and think it's cool being unemotional and dark.

And you, whom I take to be a teacher, haven't had your face shoved into a cinder block wall in a long time, if ever. In other words, like practically all teachers, you don't know what life is about. It is not as was described in Orwell's 1984, a human boot stomping on a face forever. That description is really a high school football jock having a fun time with a gay kid who couldn't run fast enough to escape him.

No, life is like a black kid walking home through a redneck village in the 1960's. Someone is out to catch him and kill him. He just doesn't know where or when, so he has to spend his remaining minutes of life in fear and dread.

And by the way, don't feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for yourself. You're the one who's ignorant of the true nature of life. I, at least, take my knowledge the same way Humphrey Bogart did. As one of his biographers said, he mixed fatalism (the belief that life is doomed) with courage (the will to fight on, even in the face of doom).

I'm here to save you poor, deluded sheep. That is a better way to face the world than dressing up in black and acting all surly.


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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #59
60. No thanks.
This morning I woke up to the sound of birds outside my window. The sun was coming up. I could smell the irises blooming outside just off the porch. My dogs were just beginning to stir, their stomachs empty and wanting their breakfast. While Dwaine stayed in bed, I got up and filled their bowls, and they happily muched away. I made some coffee and watched the sun peek over the houses behind me.

It's a beautiful day. I really love my life. No way would I trade this for pointless fatalism.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #60
61. You are young. Life has been good to you. You will learn.
Those words of truth were told by Sweeney Todd, and soon enough you will see they are right. 'Nuff said.

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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #61
62. I'm 50.
Hardly young.
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #62
63. You're as young as you think.
If you're not dead, you're young. Although, with your trust in the essential goodness of existence and of God, you will probably be dead a lot sooner than you think.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. Now you're just being funny.
You sound like Wednesday from the Addams family.

And actually, I'm far more agnostic than theist. But yeah, I guess I believe in Purpose - if that's God, then I'm guilty.

I've already faced death by going through cancer a few years back. So maybe that's changed my perspective a bit. It's inevitable. But I will enjoy the experiences I have until I don't. Why not? I'll be sad when I have a reason, and there's plenty of time for that.

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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. I suspect we're not as different as we previously thought.
I just get angry at any Mary Sunshine predictions of our future. My concern is based on the inability of the people in power to realize how angry we common citizens are.

For all the good Obama has done, his administration gave immense sums to rich men, with the hope that they'd somehow use it to employ us poor people and get our country back to sound economic principles again. You know, rebuilding the infrastructure, making physical goods, providing us a sense of worth through work, and incidentally getting money back into circulation.

I've already suffered. I lost my job as a TV engineer, which I'd held for 33 years, because TV stations based much of their income on automobile dealer ads. Those ads dried up, and so did the dealers. Right now I'm hoping to get some viable work besides delivering pizzas, using my other skills, since TV stations won't be hiring back again. Everywhere I go, they're banking resumes but saying "sorry, no jobs."

I know people who are worse off; one college library worker I know has been out of work for five years. She dared to sue her employer, and is now blackballed from the only job she can do. But it's getting very scary for everyone out here in the Real World.

The more I hear, the more I believe only bloody riots in the street and a lot of deaths will bring this to the attention of the Powers That Be. They won't care unless THEY feel threatened, as happened in 1929.

I don't want to start such a riot (I'm lousy at starting violence, since I make such a good target) and the logical people to start it, the unions, have no courage. Which means that when the riots start, they'll be uncontrolled, the violence will be widespread and unfocussed, and the whole point of the riots will be lost. And all those people will die for nothing.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. I've often thought that as well.
We are really a very complacent people. Enjoying a sunny morning is one thing, but merrily skipping along while real injustice is occuring is another story. I really wonder how much change would have happened in the 60s without the riots? Why are governments in France and Germany scared of their citizenry? They sure aren't here.

I have a friend who's been laid off several times. He used to work for Tribute Media putting together the newspaper pages for movie ads. We all know how that has gone down the toilet. Since then, he'll get a decent job, then he gets a pink slip through no fault of his own . . . once because the boss had to hire his own MOTHER to run the front office and had to let someone go. It's really frustrating for everyone, because we all want him to be able to land something.

I just wish they were really considering true government health care. I wouldn't worry nearly so much if I knew he could be covered. Right now he has nothing.

Well, this is getting far afield. I'll be thinking about what you've said.

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 01:35 AM
Response to Original message
37. This school is 40% Asian
Asians in the Bay Area take school VERY seriously... many of them have school after school.

Similarly, the black and Hispanic kids who go to charter schools in Oakland have motivated (and mostly middle-class) parents.

Treating this school like it takes kids from the 'hood and teaches them learnin' is a little disingenuous.

And as far as teaching to the test goes, the goal of school if you're an Asian kid is to get good grades and get into a good university, NOT to explore the subject areas.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
43. What is wrong with this?
Not the whole article but:
"refuses to promote struggling students to the next grade"

I think social promotion is a major reason why you end up with a kid in 10th grade who can't read and then just drops out.

The idea that someone who is falling behind if we send him to the next grade where pace is faster and he needs the stuff from his current grade as a basis (which he is lacking) somehow everything will "work out" is setting him up for failure.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #43
44. Actually,
the reason that "social promotion" exists is because the data shows that retention is MORE likely to result in dropping out further on.

Repeating a grade simply doesn't work in the vast majority of cases. Unless a student was too young, and too immature to begin with, or was absent for much of the year. What ever short term gains are made in that year are inevitably lost further down the road.

What we need is a 3rd option for kids who aren't succeeding; I can think of several possibilities, but what I think doesn't matter, since there are no resources to provide any other options.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #44
46. Didn't know that. If there are solid stats to back it up then I guess it is ok.
I do agree there needs to be a 3rd option.

Some kids get "socially promoted" more grades than the ones they pass on their own merits.

We are selling them short before their adult lives even begin.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #43
50. Florida doesn't promote from 3rd grade until the FCAT is passed.
I guess you are not aware that children are different, some learn quicker and more easily than others.

I guess we could keep all the ones with learning problems back in 3rd or we could have a curriculum that enables them to succeed at what they can do.

It does no good to have a law like that, there are other ways around it.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
45. Thanks for this. nt
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-04-09 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
52. I didn't get through your whole post
(sorry, I'm dopey from medications right now!), but the bit about priding themselves on firing teachers makes me wonder what's wrong with the way they hire teachers. As a manager, I surely wouldn't be bragging about how many people I fire. Firing someone is an admission that you hired badly. Sure, it happens, and when it needs to be done, no one should hesitate (that's the other end of the spectrum, and equally bad), but boy, it sure seems a strange thing to be bragging about!
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-06-09 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #52
67. You are right. Bragging about firing teachers is just weird.
It does not make sense.
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