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The Outrage of the Week by Diane Ravitch

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:15 AM
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The Outrage of the Week by Diane Ravitch
It is way past time to get mad. Each week, it is hard to know which of the latest outrages against American public education is the worst.

Perhaps it was the agreement between the Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation to write the nation's curriculum. When did we vote to hand over American education to them? Why would we outsource the nation's curriculum to a for-profit publishing and test-making corporation based in London? Does Bill Gates get to write the national curriculum because he is the richest man in America? We know that his foundation is investing heavily in promoting the Common Core standards. Now his foundation will write a K-12 curriculum that will promote online learning and video gaming. That's good for the tech sector, but is it good for our nation's schools? Oh, and one more outrage: The Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation, both of which maintain the pretense of being Democrats and/or liberals, have given millions to former Florida governor Jeb Bush's foundation, which is promoting vouchers, charters, online learning, test-based accountability, and the whole panoply of corporate reform strategies intended to weaken public education and remove teachers' job protections.

Yes, indeed, the education reform business is booming. A recent article in Idaho details the campaign contributions of online learning companies to the state superintendent of instruction, who recently decidedsurprise!to mandate online learning and laptops for every student. This is the new face of corporate reform. It offers entree to the vast riches of the nation's education industry, a sector that spends about $800 billion of public money at the local, state, and federal levels. Some refer to the No Child Left Behind Act as "no consultant left behind." It has been and continues to be a bonanza for the testing, test preparation, and tutoring industries. Race to the Top has opened the door to many more consultants, charter operators, and turn-around strategists. The gold rush is on!

The scariest thought is that the Obama administration welcomes the corporatization of public education. Not only welcomes the rise of educational entrepreneurialism, but encourages it. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's chief of staff Joanne Weiss, who has experience as an education entrepreneur, wrote the following in a blog for the Harvard Business Review:

more . . . http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/201...
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:21 AM
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1. The TRUE outrage is Obama's (not watering it down with "Administration") TOTAL SECRECY
IN RADICALLY CHANGING AMERICA'S PUBLIC EDUCATION.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. That and the profiteers
I'm really outraged over the folks getting rich off of our children's perceived needs.
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FormerDittoHead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:56 AM
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2. I don't understand why we don't just hire the educators, techies, etc and do it ourselves.
Why does MS have to get a PERCENTAGE?

Why don't we (the gov't) just hire the same people that MS would be hiring and have them do the same job and then keep the profits?

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Because that makes sense
:)
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Spike89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 11:13 AM
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5. I see it as potential outrages, not outraged yet
One of the key arguments here is that a national set of standards and curricula is equal to "corporatizing" local schools. It isn't that simple, and it isn't as absolute as many claim. It is true that for-profit vendors would love to have a more homogenous curriculum. Obviously, textbook publishers would rather offer books they can sell nationwide as opposed to creating special versions for each state or region.

Potentially, a national curriculum could be a horrid set of compromises incorporating the weakest elements from the 1000s of curriculums currently in use. It could also be better than most. It could also make it much easier for students and teachers to move from region to region. It also has the potential to drop the costs of things such as textbooks, professional development, and assessment.

A more standardized curriculum doesn't mean teachers can't innovate, it doesn't mean good schools can't continue to excell. It doesn't have to be tied at all to efforts to dismantle public education. In a real sense, standardizing curriculum has as much potential to protect public schools as it does to harm them.

For full disclosure, I work for a non-profit educational organization.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I've been outraged for years
Putting profit over what's best for kids is outrageous.
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Spike89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-11 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I couldn't agree more!
I'm not advocating profit over children, just pointing out that that isn't the only choice. It is possible to make things more efficient AND better for students. I really can't speak to the specifics of the Gates/Pearson curricula as to whether it might do both (because it doesn't yet exist!) But just because business wants a national curricula doesn't mean that curriculum must be crappy.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-11 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Profit is the ONLY choice business ever makes
It's in their blood. They can't help it.
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crickets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:03 PM
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8. k&r
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-11 07:11 PM
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9. K&R
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