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Sat Oct 25, 2014, 06:17 PM

Loss of individuality, the submissiveness demanded of students by No Excuses, Zero Tolerance.

These seem to me to be consequences of the unchecked race to reform education. These are the opposite goals to what I remember from my years of teaching.

We were expected to respect the individual personalities and learning styles of our students. Now the one-size-fits-all tests do not allow for that.

Individuality disappearing from classrooms, NY teacher argues

In an environment where quality of education is based heavily on standardized test scores and continual assessments, individuality has gone missing from our classrooms, New York City educator Diana Senechal argues.

We cannot accomplish anything of beauty unless we are willing to spend countless hours on it alone, she told an audience of about 60 people on Wednesday at the Hippodrome State Theatre.

She explained her thinking: Education has gone to a place where reform has superseded, rather than encouraged, individual judgment. Such an emphasis is placed on the formulas used to evaluate teachers and students that higher standards have begun to quash independent thought.


She makes an important statement about the way every bit of learning must be judged. She says now "there's a fear that allowing students to soak in information without having anything concrete to show for it at the end of a lesson will result in no learning at all."

That's a real danger, she said, ďBut to demand concrete outcomes from every lesson is to shortchange the literature.Ē Senechal said that's what she means by solitude in education.


One thing that is not often mentioned is the way some charter schools with mostly minority students use rigid zero tolerance, no excuses discipline.

Edushyster recently posted an interview with Joan Goodman.

Professor Joan Goodman, the director of the Teach for America program at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about the philosophy behind *no excuses* charter schools, and the price paid by students who attend them.


Article is very long, but a couple of quotes stand out.

ES: Minority children in urban areas are increasingly being educated at schools run by the types of charter management organizations you study, yet I find that people know little if anything about the way these schools view the world.

Goodman: These schools start with the belief that thereís no reason for the large academic gaps that exist between poor minority students and more privileged children. They argue that if we just used better methods, demanded more, had higher expectations, enforced these higher expectations through very rigorous and uniform teaching methods and a very uniform and scripted curriculum geared to being successful on high-stakes tests, we can minimize or even eradicate these large gaps, high rates of drop outs and the academic failures of these children. To reach these objectives, these schools have developed very elaborate behavioral regimes that they insist all children follow, starting in kindergarten. Submission, obedience, and self-control are very large values. They want kids to submit. You canít really do this kind of instruction if you donít have very submissive children who are capable of high levels of inhibition and do whatever theyíre told.


And one more:

ES: One of the questions you ask is whether there are legitimate limits to the power exercised by schools over children.

Goodman: Thatís a big question. What rights do children have that are similar to the rights of adults? Can you search them? Can you control what they say and donít say at all times? Do they have any freedom of speech rights? Do they have any freedom to bring something to school if they want to? More than that, do they have any rights at all against oppressive punishment?


There appear to already be levels or tiers of education and policy.

Obama 2011 "One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test."

If George Orwell were still alive, what would he make of the following quote from President Obama? (Thanks to Valerie Strauss for pointing to a piece written by Anthony Cody for his Education Week Teacher blog, Living in Dialogue.)

"Malia and Sasha, my two daughters, they just recently took a standardized test . But it wasn't a high-stakes test. It wasn't a test where they had to panic. I mean, they didn't even really know that they were going to take it ahead of time. They didn't study for it, they just went ahead and took it. ... It was a tool. ... Too often, what we've been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools. And so what we've said is, let's find a test that everybody agrees makes sense; let's apply it in a less pressure-packed atmosphere; let's figure out whether we have to do it every year, or whether we can do it maybe every several years; and let's make sure that that's not the only way we're judging whether a school is doing well. Because there are other criteria: What's the attendance rate? How are young people performing in terms of basic competency on projects? There are other ways of us measuring whether students are doing well or not."

And, as Cody writes, "Then he said something really radical."

"So...one thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test. Because then you're not learning about the world; you're not learning about different cultures, you're not learning about science. ... All you're learning about is ... the little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test."


I agree 100& with everything the president said.

But I worry that his goals spoken above are not being carried out in our nation's public schools right now, and that taxpayer money is going to charter schools with such rigid discipline policies.

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Reply Loss of individuality, the submissiveness demanded of students by No Excuses, Zero Tolerance. (Original post)
madfloridian Oct 2014 OP
Fumesucker Oct 2014 #1
woo me with science Oct 2014 #13
rhett o rick Oct 2014 #29
femmocrat Oct 2014 #2
tularetom Oct 2014 #4
madfloridian Oct 2014 #5
Nay Oct 2014 #7
bbgrunt Oct 2014 #8
madfloridian Oct 2014 #28
blackspade Oct 2014 #11
madfloridian Oct 2014 #27
madfloridian Oct 2014 #3
Thespian2 Oct 2014 #6
madfloridian Oct 2014 #26
DonCoquixote Oct 2014 #9
blackspade Oct 2014 #10
madfloridian Oct 2014 #12
blackspade Oct 2014 #14
Fumesucker Oct 2014 #17
blackspade Oct 2014 #20
daleanime Oct 2014 #15
riderinthestorm Oct 2014 #16
Puzzledtraveller Oct 2014 #18
Solly Mack Oct 2014 #19
madfloridian Oct 2014 #21
AdHocSolver Oct 2014 #22
madfloridian Oct 2014 #23
Starry Messenger Oct 2014 #24
pnwmom Oct 2014 #25
madfloridian Oct 2014 #30
CrispyQ Oct 2014 #31
madfloridian Oct 2014 #32

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 06:24 PM

1. A feature rather than a bug from the point of view of TPTB

Submissiveness is something much desired in followers by leaders..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:22 PM

13. ^^^^^ This is the correct answer. ^^^^^


The stated goals of our educational system are not the same as the actual goals, just as the stated goals of most of our "democratic" "representatives" are not their actual goals. I think that's been clear in neo-corporate-owned America for quite some time now.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:15 PM

29. I agree. We live in an authoritarian society. nm

 

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 06:24 PM

2. I think the President is unaware of what is actually going on in the schools.

His daughters' school is not a public school and is obviously not an example of the actual testing regimen.

If he had appointed an actual educator for Sec. of Education, he might have a better idea!

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Response to femmocrat (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 06:55 PM

4. Actually I think his response is somewhat disingenuous

He knows damn good and well that the one size fits all industrial strength testing regimen isn't the way to educate kids.

He either doesn't care. or he's up to his ass in alligators just trying to keep the entire system of public education from gradually being turned over to churches and having the curricula designed by nutzoid fundamentalist pastors.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:01 PM

5. I don't think he has control over the steamroller anymore.

Or as you say "up to his ass in alligators".



He's up against numerous billionaires and corporations who are going to reap great profits from a once public sector. Maybe at one time the damage could have been contained, I don't think so anymore.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:48 PM

7. Maybe not, but the least he could do is stop pretending that the kids who

don't go to Friends aren't being pummeled by Arne Duncan, whom HE put in charge. I really hate it when politicians act like they had nothing to do with what is happening. Duncan is HIS appointee, so if the testing is bullshit, get rid of Duncan! And the corporate bloodsuckers he directs!

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Response to Nay (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:03 PM

8. exactly.

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Response to Nay (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:04 AM

28. Yes, you are right about that.

And Duncan should have been replaced long ago.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:05 PM

11. Up to his ass in alligators...

Excellent turn of phrase!

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Response to blackspade (Reply #11)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:17 AM

27. Heh I like that too.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 06:51 PM

3. Parent letter to Obama about private/public schools and testing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-steinitz/sasha-obama-my-daughter-a_b_5187830.html

Dear President Obama,

We have something very important in common: daughters in the seventh grade. Since your family walked onto the national stage in 2007, I've had a feeling that our younger daughters have a lot in common too. Like my daughter Eva, Sasha appears to be a funny, smart, loving girl, who has no problem speaking her mind, showing her feelings, or tormenting her older sister.

There is, however, one important difference between them: Sasha attends private school, while Eva goes to public school. Don't get me wrong, I fully support your decision to send Malia and Sasha to private school, where it is easier to keep them safe and sheltered. I would have done the same. But because she is in private school, Sasha does not have to take Washington's standardized test, the D.C. CAS, which means you don't get a parent's-eye view of the annual high-stakes tests taken by most of America's children.

I have been watching Eva take the Massachusetts MCAS since third grade. To tell you the truth, it hasn't been a big deal. Eva is an excellent student and an avid reader. She goes to school in a suburban district with a strong curriculum and great teachers. She doesn't worry about the tests, and she generally scores at the highest level.


She then gives her daughter's assessment of the new tests this year. Not favorable.

You may wonder whether a seventh grader is the best person to assess a seventh grade test. I actually think seventh graders are great people to assess the tests: they've been taking them for years, and they generally know what's what,. But if you want a professional opinion, I can provide that too.

I have a Ph.D. in English, I've been in college and high school classrooms for over 20 years, and for much of that time I've trained and coached high school English teachers. I was shocked that the ninth grade test included an excerpt from Bleak House, a Dickens novel that is usually taught in college. I got seven out of 36 multiple choice questions wrong on the eleventh grade test.


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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:33 PM

6. Because...

Arne Duncan.

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Response to Thespian2 (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:25 AM

26. Arne's been so arrogant toward teachers.

I think he should have been replaced long ago. I have a feeling teachers' votes are not going to be as strong as usual because of him.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:38 PM

9. the fact it

The rich people with the Private schools want a situation where little Brad and Buffy will be seen as the natural leaders, because they were the only ones encouraged to think, while the charter school kids will simply make fine dispoable lieutenants at best, slaves at worst.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:03 PM

10. As always your posts are equally enlightening....

And frightening.

The idea that charter schools are set up to force submission from minority children is chilling.
Especially in the context of the gap in education caused not by the schools or children themselves, but the destruction of the job market and social safety net by the very same corporate interests that now profit from the education industrial complex.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #10)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:18 PM

12. And that observation was from a TFA person, a group that privatizes teachers.

It surprised me she was so blunt.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:25 PM

14. No kidding.

That means the fix is in.
I never thought that I would have to not only help my kids with homework, but now I have start from scratch to teach them critical thinking...and hide it from their school so they don't get in trouble.
Asking questions is apparently a discipline problem these days.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #14)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:58 PM

17. A responsible parent shouldn't leave teaching critical thinking to the schools

The schools have largely sucked at teaching critical thinking ever since I was in school sometime back during the Pliocene era...

With my own kids I used the Socratic method quite a bit, often I wouldn't answer a question directly but rather would ask a series of questions which I was aware they already knew the answer to or could figure it out fairly easily, the answers to those questions would lead them to answer their own question.

It's much easier just to tell kids the answer but all that does is impart one piece of information when the aim should be to teach a technique to find your own answers by thinking things through and using information you already know to deduce something you don't already know.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:15 PM

20. I wasn't saying that it was the school that bore the sole responsibility...

Rather that, unlike when I was a kid, schools have largely dispensed with critical thinking in favor of conformity.
Critical thinking should start at home, but some parents are less equipped than others to do so for a variety of reasons.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:29 PM

15. I'm beyond sick....

it's like, let's crush them while their kids, then as adults they will be easier to control.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:47 PM

16. K&R nt

 

I'm too tired tonight to comment anymore but damn, this article demands attention...

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:08 PM

18. k&r

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:09 PM

19. K&R

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #19)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:09 PM

21. Thank you Solly Mack.

and lots of them

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:26 PM

22. The goals, policies, and practices of US education haven't changed much in the past 100 years.

For a majority of the population, the goal of an education was to become literate enough to get a decent paying, family supporting job.

The-Powers-That-Be were in tune with this goal, and instituted educational policies and practices that supported this goal, because they needed trained workers to man the factories and the corporate and government bureaucracies.

Since immigration and a relatively high birth rate for that time assured plenty of workers for the relatively plentiful jobs in previous years, schools were encouraged to provide courses in art, music, foreign languages, and literature to produce "well-rounded" individuals.

I remember, in middle school, being assigned to an "experimental" class that encouraged independent research in a wide range of subjects from which the student could choose. The freedom of effort allowed to spend time outside of the standard curriculum, and get credit for it, was transformative.

Today, plentiful jobs are no longer available. There are not enough jobs for even those who graduate from school. Moreover, a college degree is no longer affordable for many of those in the middle class.

The difference today is that, with outsourcing of jobs, there are no longer a large number of jobs available, especially manufacturing and technical jobs, to supply family supporting work for a majority of those who seek them.

The purpose of NCLB and its ilk of formulaic teaching and test-taking is to provide TPTB with enough educational "failure" so that they can blame the populace for not having a job, since they don't have the appropriate educational qualifications, as THPB continue to outsource jobs to low wage countries.

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Response to AdHocSolver (Reply #22)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:16 AM

23. Your last 2 paragraphs are so important.

Thanks.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:20 AM

24. k&r

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:22 AM

25. K & R

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:44 PM

30. CNN Jan 2014 Minority kids disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance laws

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/24/politics/zero-tolerance/

The two federal agencies are now urging the nation's school districts to dial back harsh punishments that all too often result in African-American and Hispanic kids being funneled into what some members of Congress and student advocates call the "school-to-prison pipeline."

Research from education and civil rights organizations has consistently shown that students who are repeatedly suspended and expelled from school are more likely to eventually end up behind bars.

"A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal's office, not in a police precinct," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a recent statement.

...."I think there is wider recognition today of the wider consequences of zero-tolerance policies than there was a few years ago and part of that is because of the disproportionate impact on minority students and disabled students because it contributes to the achievement gap," said Rodd Monts, field director for the ACLU of Michigan on the impact of harsh penalties on the persistent gap between white and minority academic achievement.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #30)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:07 PM

31. Zero tolerance . . . for kids.



Who the hell thought that up? Probably some assholes who don't have kids.

on edit: I don't have kids, but I've been around them & I am amazed at some of the things my other friends without kids will say. I look at them & say, "And you know that . . . how?"

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #31)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:10 PM

32. My understanding it rose out of the war on drugs in the 90s.

I can remember our teachers really being on guard about it. We had to go to a rally downtown and wait for the kids to march through town with their shirts (red I think) yelling say no to drugs.

It took up about 2 days of teaching to get Nancy Reagan's war on drugs going in our school...whether we wanted it or not.

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