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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 38,053

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RAVITCH: when the rich dictate higher ed policy: San Jose Online Courses FLOP

I have nothing against online education in principle, but I don't like doing anything because schools are coerced into doing it by someone looking to make a buck.

I teach college and the only advantage my students see to online classes is it is much, much easier to cheat.

So if Gates et al succeed in their efforts to remake make public higher education in their image, they will make the resulting degrees nearly worthless.

San Jose Online Courses Flop

by Diane Ravitch

Enthusiasts of online education are forever gushing about the prospects for high-quality, low-cost education, delivered to masses of students sitting at a computer.

In January, San Jose State announced a partnership with a firm called Udacity, and the results to date have been a disappointment. Udacity is funded by equity investors as the next new big thing. Technically, the Udacity program is not a MOOC because it is neither "massive" nor "open," but it is a trial of the concept of online learning.

"According to the preliminary presentation, 74 percent or more of the students in traditional classes passed, while no more than 51 percent of Udacity students passed any of the three courses....The spring courses – a remedial math course, a college algebra course and an introductory statistics course – were chosen in part because of the wishes of Bill Gates, whose foundation gave the effort a grant," university officials said.

The university will make improvements in the courses and try again. Udacity is expanding to Georgia, where "the company recently signed a major deal with the Georgia Institute of Technology to eventually offer a low-cost online master’s degree to 10,000 students at once."


RAVITCH: Top Lawyer for Dems in Senate from Public Ed Destroying Gates Foundation

Millions of parents and teachers watch and hope that Congress will scrap the failed policies of the Bush administration called NCLB.

It is this worrisome that the chief counsel for the Democrats on the Senate HELP committee was a senior policy person at the Gates Foundation.

Gates is infamous for its religious devotion to measurement. "What cannot be measured cannot be controlled" is the line we hear again and again, as children are reduced to data points and their lives are measured out in teaspoons and centimeters on a scale.

Maybe she is different. Let us hope.


since ALEC wrote and pushed stand your ground laws, can they be sued for outcome?

In particular, since the laws are having a disparate impact on black people being killed?

So if the father of black teens sees George Zimmerman walking around his neighborhood...

He could get out of his car, chase him down, get in a tussle, and shoot Zimmerman dead, and claim Zimmerman had been acting suspiciously, possibly stalking black teenagers, and a Florida jury would acquit him?

That father would have a stronger case than Zimmerman did since Zimmerman actually has a track record of killing black teenage boys and therefore being a threat to the community.

PIC: Obama campaign speech & Snowden

This was posted at Reddit with the caption "Change one thing... and perfect."

PIC: ALEC & the life cycle of corruption

This was posted by a group fighting corporate education reform, but it could apply to most issues and any very wealthy individual or large corporation.

They can buy the legislators, dictate the legislation, and if the voters ever vote the corporate puppets out, they will make MORE money working directly for their employer instead of as a legislator.

Should Obama go after Wall St. or Bush/Cheney war criminals as aggressively as Snowden?

Chris Hedges made me think of this.

“Along with all the other rising inequalities we’ve become so familiar with — in income, in wealth, in access to politicians — we confront now a fundamental inequality of accountability.

We can have a just society whose guiding ethos is accountability and punishment, where both black kids dealing weed in Harlem and investment bankers peddling fraudulent securities on Wall Street are forced to pay for their crimes, or we can have a just society whose guiding ethos is forgiveness and second chances, one in which both Wall Street banks and foreclosed households are bailed out, in which both insider traders and street felons are allowed to rejoin polite society with the full privileges of citizenship intact.

But we cannot have a just society that applies the principle of accountability to the powerless and the principle of forgiveness to the powerful. This is the America in which we currently reside.”


I would especially like to hear from the DUers who have said the dogged pursuit of Snowden is appropriate and necessary.

Is US spying on foreign governments Snowden revealed as bad as the domestic spying?

So we spied on EU and other European governments, but is that the same as spying on your own people domestically?

It could also be than Snowden doesn't think this is as bad, and he revealed it to gain some sympathy from foreign governments to help him gain asylum somewhere.

Which does more damage to our democracy: crime committed by Snowden or crimes his leaks revealed?

It's an obvious question, but sometimes we need to ask these because a handful of people here on DU know how to make their views seem far more widely accepted than they really are.

RAVITCH: Why Does Ohio Give More Money to Lowest-Performing Charters?

This is what the corporate-backed education reform movement is really all about: funneling taxpayer dollars to companies who made the right campaign donations.

Do we really want K-12 education to be as corrupt as defense and intel contracting?

Pretty soon regular public schools will be told there's no money for chalk, but the for-profit charters will be using million dollar per piece, radar guided chalk, and we'll be paying for it.

Supporting links in original.

Innovation Ohio, which keeps a close watch on the education budget and policy issues, reports that the state increased the budgets for charter schools operated by men who are generous donors to Republican elected officials.

The point:

"Republican mega-donors David Brennan (White Hat Management) and William Lager (ECOT) saw major increases in their funding. Meanwhile, Charter Schools that actually do a far better job educating children received far less additional revenue.

"To give you an idea of just how much better Brennan and Lager's schools do, take a look at this statistic: Brennan and Lager run 33 of the state's 369 Charter Schools, or 9 percent. Yet according to the Ohio Senate's Charter Schoolsimulations, Brennan and Lager's schools will receive $8.6 million additional over last school year. That represents 38 percent of all the increases to the rest of the 336 Charter Schools. So 38 percent of the increase to Charters went to 9 percent of the schools."

This is called rewarding political friends, not rewarding excellence.

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