By Cheryl Scott Williams
Public K-12 schooling is a popular subject in all forms of media these days, with the majority of coverage highly critical of both the professionals who work within the system and the performance of the students with whom they work. Prominent national leaders from government, corporations, and philanthropic organizations, having positioned themselves as "reformers," hold the bully pulpit in not only proclaiming education professionals as inadequate in ability and practice, but also in controlling access to significant resources to define and support reform efforts.
Those of us who have spent our careers in public education have always welcomed interest and enthusiasm from those outside the profession when that involvement focuses on unique perspectives and skill sets they can bring to the learning environment, including financial support, assistance with new technologies, participation in career days, and internship opportunities for students. We also welcome open discussion and the sharing of experience that can contribute to new ways of thinking about the challenges we face in our daily work with students.
But the tone, language, and proposals for change currently articulated by the most prominent "reformers" at the national level reveal both a lack of knowledge and experience of the daily realities of even the most successful public schools and a total lack of respect for the professionals now working in public education. A New York Times article
by Michael Winerip last year provided insight into the genesis of the worldview of these "reformers." It was chilling in its revelation of our country's movement toward endowing decisionmaking by only a privileged ruling class of leaders whose experience in no way reflects the background or upbringing of the majority of Americans.
Link By Jonathan Zimmerman
September 7, 2012
As schools around the country open their doors for the fall term, here's a quick end-of-summer quiz: Which major presidential candidate has offered the most radical proposal to change public education?
And here's a hint: It's not Barack Obama
. Emphasizing high-stakes tests and charter school expansion, Obama has simply continued — or accelerated — the policies handed down by George W. Bush in his signature education reform, No Child Left Behind.
By contrast, Mitt Romney
has put forth a plan that could completely transform the way Americans organize and fund public schools. And that's why it has little chance of being implemented any time soon.
I'm talking about Romney's little-noticed proposal to allow poor and disabled students to use federal funds to enroll in new schools. Democratic critics quickly condemned Romney for embracing "vouchers," a perennial GOP
talking point. But they missed what's truly new here: Whereas other voucher programs let kids attend private schools with government funding, Romney's plan would also allow them attend public schools outside of their own districts.
Submitted by Elaine Magliaro Guest Blogger
In May, David Sirota penned an article for Salontitled Selling out Public Schools
. In it, he said that Mitt Romney, President Obama, and both of our major political parties were “assaulting public education.”
On the Republican side, the Washington Post reports Mitt Romney just unveiled “a pro-choice, pro-voucher, pro-states-rights education program that seems certain to hasten the privatization of the public education system” completely. On the other side, Wall Street titans in the Democratic Party with zero experience in education policy are marshaling tens of millions of dollars to do much of what Romney aims to do as president – and they often have a willing partner in President Barack “Race to the Top” Obama and various Democratic governors.
Funded by corporate interests who naturally despise organized labor, both sides have demonized teachers’ unions as the primary problem in education — somehow ignoring the fact that most of the best-performing public school systems in America and in the rest of the world are, in fact, unionized. (Are we never supposed to ask how, if unions are the primary problem, so many unionized schools in America and abroad do so well?) Not surprisingly, these politicians and activists insist they are driven solely by their regard for the nation’s children — and they expect us to ignore the massive amount of money their benefactors (and even the activists personally) stand to make by transforming public education into yet another private profit center. Worse, they ask us also to forget that in the last few years of aggressive “reform” (read: evisceration) of public education, the education gap has actually gotten far worse, with the most highly touted policies put in place now turning the schoolhouse into yet another catalyst of crushing inequality.
Sirota says that charter schools and vouchers are one of the five most “prominent” of these policies. I would agree. There has been an education movement afoot for a many years whose aim is less about reforming public schools and more about the privatization of public education. One of the first steps in the “reform” process is funneling public money away from traditional public schools to “privately administered” charter schools and to private schools via tuition vouchers.
BOULDER, CO (July 18, 2012) -- A new report released today by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado shows that students at K12 Inc., the nation’s largest virtual school company, are falling further behind in reading and math scores than students in brick-and-mortar schools.
These virtual schools students are also less likely to remain at their schools for the full year, and the schools have low graduation rates. “Our in-depth look into K12 Inc. raises enormous red flags,” said NEPC Director Kevin Welner.
The report’s findings will be presented in Washington today to a national meeting of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), where the report’s lead author, Dr. Gary Miron, is scheduled to debate Dr. Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K–12 Online Learning. The report is titled, Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools.
“Our findings are clear,” said Miron, an NEPC fellow, “Children who enroll in a K12 Inc. cyberschool, who receive full-time instruction in front of a computer instead of in a classroom with a live teacher and other students, are more likely to fall behind in reading and math. These children are also more likely to move between schools or leave school altogether – and the cyberschool is less likely to meet federal education standards.”
The charter school movement began as a grassroots attempt to improve public education. It’s quickly becoming a backdoor for corporate profit. In Michigan, four out of five charter schools are run by for-profit EMO’s.
...........go to the Link
for the rest. It's a very good article with a lot of links to further info.
or more than two weeks, the University of Virginia has been in an uproar over the abrupt resignation of school President Teresa Sullivan
. Sullivan stepped down after just two years in office, citing "philosophical differences" with the institution's governing Board of Visitors.
The June 10 announcement shocked students and faculty, who had just finished graduation festivities and had begun settling in for a hot, quiet summer surrounded by the Charlottesville school's neoclassical columns and red brick architecture. Sullivan is highly regarded within the academic community, and her supporters have rallied to her defense, rocking the campus with massive protests demanding her reinstatement.
....continued at the Link