Thursday, August 30, 2012

California legislature assaults teachers while failing to provide school funding

            Following assaults on teachers in Tennessee, New Jersey, New York and Florida – among others- the California legislature this week is using the “gut and amend” procedure to change the current teacher evaluation system in the state. The brutal assault in Florida led to the defeat of the moderate governor Christie by Tea Party advocates in 2010.
            In California legislators claiming to be responding to a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that Los Angeles was improperly implementing the current law, legislators are trying change the law before Friday using Assembly Bill 5.   An active advocate of the yet undefined plan is Michelle Rhee’s organization, so called “Students First.”
            Using the argument that these changes are necessary to respond to the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top,  which has never been passed into law, anti union forces are arguing for test based accountability systems.  These are popular politically on the right but they have failed in state after state to  improve the schools.
            The legislature could improve the schools by doing their job –that is to adequately fund the schools.  As California cuts over $5 billion from the schools conditions and learning in these schools deteriorate.  Instead of doing their job and providing the resources some legislators call for a new system of teacher evaluation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It wasn't the bankers- It was the Teachers' Union.- Christie

     The looting of the U.S. and the economic crisis were not caused by Wall Street and the corporations,  it was the Teachers’ Union.
Chris Christie.
At the Republican convention.

"Now having squandered trillions on mismanaged wars, tax cuts designed especially for the rich, a gigantic real estate bubble, and massive bailouts for its banks, the United States is confronting a major fiscal problems.  At the same time, America’s fundamental economic competitiveness has declined severely, as its physical infrastructure, broad band services, educational system, workface skills, health care and energy policies have failed to keep pace with the needs of the advanced economy. ….
The principal reason for this is that politically powerful interest groups have been able to block reform: the financial services, energy, defense, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and processed food industries, the legal, accounting, and medical professions; and to a lesser extent, several unions- these and other groups , including, of course, lobbyists and politicians, have ferociously resisted efforts to improve  America’s future at their expense.
            Meanwhile, both political parties are ignoring, lying about, and/or exploiting the country’s very real economic, social, and educational problems."
Charles H. Ferguson,   Predator Nation; Corporate Criminals, political corruption, and the Hijacking of America.  2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Corporate Makeover of Public Education

excerpt from Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education: What’s at Stake?

by Michelle Fine and Michael Fabricant
In this book we track the history of charters from social justice alternatives to a campaign to dismantle and decentralize public education, through to the contemporary movements for educational justice.  It is within this context that the following six questions animate our writing:
How did a social justice education movement, initiated by teachers and teachers’ union, evolve into a corporate campaign to dismantle existing structures of public education?
What is the relationship between the promise of charters and contemporary evidence of their impact?
Even if charters in the aggregate were academically more successful than local schools – and the evidence is dubious – what are the consequences of a deregulated charter movement for participatory democracy, racial equity and deep accountability to community and youth?
How does the twinning of corporate profit and Black/Latino/poor community pain resonant across the history of the U.S., manifest itself in the current rush to reshape public institutions toward private interests and ever more inequitable forms of (dis)investment?