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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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Two major Florida newspapers highly critical of high stakes state test, the FCAT.

This is just one piece of the education "reform" pie, but the whole thing is rotten, designed to drain money out of public schools and into the pockets of test companies, and then when the test results show any shortcoming of schools, it is used as an excuse to divert funds to for profit charter schools and education management companies.

Part of why this problem has persisted so long is teachers unions have not been forceful enough in opposing it and calling a spade a spade: these reforms are about politicians who have been bribed or coerced to steal from our children's education.

If politicians really cared about public schools, they would require lower student teacher ratios, tutors for struggling kids, and school based social services for dysfunctional families that make it tough for think straight in school--not more testing, teacher firing, and turning over the schools to well connected political cronies.

There is a contribution the private sector can make: politicians could look at what works in the private schools THEIR children attend and see if those practices can be adapted to the public school setting.

You can be damn sure those schools they send their kids to aren't doing high stakes testing every other month and stripping their curriculum down to how to fill in the bubbles on those tests.

Teachers need to figure out exactly which companies are paying for this political agenda and every time they are on a purchasing committee, insist that their district choose another product. In the case of testing, I'm not sure why states can't use teachers to produce and grade their own tests rather than use private companies, or teachers in several states couldn't develop the tests cooperatively.

In any case, it's time to put educators back in charge of education instead of hedge fund managers who want to sell our kids' futures like so many pork bellies or sides of beef.

The FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The writing section scores came out last week. The scores were shockingly low on this new version. The state lowered the requirements quickly, but not before it turned out that only about 30% would have passed otherwise.

The Orlando Sentinel pointed out just how high stakes this test has become.

Too much is riding on testing data that cannot be trusted

The Sentinel points out that student promotion, graduation, the evaluation of teachers and administrators, the letter grade assigned to schools--are all dependent on this test.

The company, NCS Pearson, that develops the test is able to do so secretly and without much oversight. Many honors students in advanced classes have been assigned to remedial reading classes if they failed it. That's a lot of power for one company to have.


PIC: Photoshop fun with Mitt's pro-war protest

I know this is a little late in the game for this one, but this should be a gift that keeps on giving.

[font size=5]For those who would like to do their own:[/font]

TOON: THIS MODERN WORLD: The Austerions from outer space are here to serve man

The only problem with this is Grover Norquist and Paul Ryan should be green too.

See more of THIS MODERN WORLD at DailyKos.

In honor of the return of polls: which will win 21st century:one person one vote or...

one dollar one vote?

Right now it seems like the dollar model is so successful, they barely see the need to keep up the pretense of democracy.

But too many people are seeing that our votes are too often taken for granted by our representatives, and the major parties agree on too many of the ideas that hurt our middle and working class most, and even hurt other countries and the world as a whole.

So maybe the Occupy Movement, Arab Spring and the like are the beginning of the push back.

But who will win?

DERF TOON: 20 years from now...

The link will only work until he changes his toon, so go to Derfcity to see this and others.

Wall St wants to privatize public community COLLEGES too

One of the reasons I like teaching community college instead of high school (which I had a credential to do) is the greater freedom to teach the way I think is best for my students and the relative freedom from attempts to kill the institution and let Wall Street jackals feed on the corpse--which is exactly what is going on with K-12, with the narrowing of the curriculum, repetitive testing to prove failure, mass firings to break unions, and ultimately, contracting public education out to private, for profit education management companies and charter schools.

What is usually left unsaid by the reformers is their jewel in the crown, charter schools, only 17% produce better results than public schools and 37% do worse. That's even less impressive when you consider the advantage they have in being able to boot kids with behavior problems, and that typically, it takes a motivated, involved parent to get their kid into a charter in the first place.

And yet our politicians, including our Democratic president, keep selling this as if it's the cure for cancer.

Now it looks like that shitstorm is coming to community colleges too. Sadly, two salvos came the supposedly progressive bastion of Santa Monica, first from one of our state legislators, then Santa Monica College itself. Both wanted to set up a second tier of completely unsubsidized to tuition, in the case of legislation, by making a provision for private contractors to administer the classes through the college extension--a backdoor privatization of college the way charter schools are being used in K-12.

Apparently, a similar push happened a couple of years ago with for profit college scam factory Kaplan trying take over a share of California community college classes.

This article uses "despicable" way too much, but it's a good intro to what's going on:

Santa Monica College students fight privatization: Anti-privatization conference held for 112 Community Colleges serving 260,000 students in the State of California

If this kind of privatization had taken place before I went to college, I'd have five times my current $100K in student loans, and my student loan payments would be most of my salary.

Faculty and students, that's not the future I want for us. Start tracking this issue and looking for ways to fight back.

The attack on K-12 education is much farther along, and the results are not pretty.

VIDEO: Bush 2004 used rubble of 9/11 to say liberals won't fight terrorism

Who used (and uses) terrorism as a political weapon?

Who used our paranoia after 9/11 to browbeat us into an unrelated war in Iraq, and got on using force there before the 2002 elections, so Democrats would be afraid to vote against it, and if they did, would be more likely to lose?

If the mainstream media lets the republicans off the hook for this one, all the networks might as well put Fox in front of their names.

DERF TOON: How Tupac hologram could help GOP

I especially like the "squirt" for Ayn Rand.

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