Monday, July 23, 2012

Rugged Individualism Be Damned! Socialism's Easier!


Diane Ravitch's latest column, Murdoch’s Bold Move into Education Market, really tested my metal today.  Not so much because of what SHE said, but in reading the comments section I was extremely put off to see so much straight up class warfare.  

Murdoch shouldn't be delving into education because he's RICH and somehow the filth of the earth!  What about mention of Murdoch not getting into education because public education in America shouldn't be privatized?  Nope.  Not so much...okay, at all. 

I don't see how this is helpful on even the atomic scale of smallness.

Vilifying “rich people” and continually engendering class warfare over education will create zero solutions and many more problems, as kids (and parents) are divided into smaller and smaller groups and pitted against each other for one reason or another in the media and literature – gosh, that’s productive. 

I in no way want public education in America privatized. Frankly, today it’s one of the few things America has going for us – the fact that we don’t have to eek out a meager existence in order to afford to send our children to school for even the most basic knowledge. No one mentions this EVER, but privatization of public (common) government in any form is really a form of Fascism, and the central shift away from our Republican form of government in America during the last decade is very troubling to me personally. 

Not only that, but to me, the real enemies in public education today are the founders of this ‘Education Reform’ nonsense. People who are not educators at all really, but are simply just politically connected enough to get their ideas heard. People like Marc Tucker and David Coleman who keep pushing Chinese (Communist) centered education on American children. Truly? We want common standards to commonize every kid in the nation? What happened to individualism? Why are we ‘assessing’ the worth of kids to get a job in elementary school? Why do we feel the need to test kids to make them creative? This is all simply nonsense – and worse – it represents a clear movement away from what public education has stood for in this country since it’s inception – a way to INDIVIDUALLY rise above your circumstances in order to be whatever you want to be (and as rich as you desire!)

Though I feel sadly grim at the prospect, I hope most Americans still have enough ‘common’ sense to see that the ‘common’ public education identified and promulgated by these people since the early 1900′s are exactly what has KILLED American education.

I live on a clinging, yet paltry, hope that those of us who do understand the ramifications and repercussions of the new “education reform” model, are able to sabotage these efforts to create a socialized system of education designed to churn out workers and ‘thinkers’ based on COMMON (socialized) standards and COMMON (socialized) tests, relieving America of the individuality that – until the last couple decades – had made it, in every way, superior to every other country in the world since 1776.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Let's Educate Americans Into Jobs For Our Country, Chinese-Style!



As usual, Marc Tucker blogged on Education Week today about how we need to educate Americans to create a high wage workforce (Manufacturing Jobs: What Will It Really Take To Bring Them Back).  As usual, his comments made me violently ill.  Normally, I remember that no amount of reasoning will make a Socialist/Communist a Capitalist, read his tripe (just to know what the enemy is thinking/saying) and move on.  Today, I simply couldn't.  The words flowed and I vomitted them up all over the comments section. 

Please read this and share with those who believe that Marc Tucker and his hero Barrack Obama are on the right track.  Maybe we can change one red to red, white, and blue!


Mr. Tucker,

Mr. Romney has indicated his interest in limiting federal involvement of public education - allowing greater local control and the subsequent fertilization of individualism that will inevitably follow.

Having studied your positions on education, Mr. Tucker, I rather believe this thought to be absolute anathema to you. I feel certain that, like our President, you believe in a federal government which oversees every facet of American life – since, as individuals we can do nothing for ourselves without the assistance of a benevolent dictator to show us the way.


It may come as a surprise, but Communist China uses the same workforce education model you tend to espouse. This, comes as anathema to me, as I believe the principal of individualism - clearly the historical model for this nation - produces a product wrought of blood, sweat and tears that rises closer to perfection than any product subsidized by any government ever could.


Public education is a truly American trait. We do not (at least we SHOULD not according to our Constitution) socialize the institution. Instead, we allow boards of citizens at the local level, whose taxes support the system and who know what's best for the students/families in their towns and bergs, to promulgate necessary rules and guidelines, creating an education model that meets a bar of success in their specific localities.


During the long, horrifying years before 1964 and the first real federal intrusion into education, the American people suffered greatly. Without the government to tell them how to prepare for the kind of jobs the country would need down the road, nearsighted entrepreneurs like Ford created the automobile, crazy professors like Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity, moronic researchers like Edison invented the light bulb and downtrodden slaves like George Washington Carver overcame racial prejudice to become one of the best botanists ever known.


Though I feel sadly grim at the prospect, I hope most Americans still have enough 'common' sense to see that the 'common' public education identified and promulgated by your ilk since the early 1900's are exactly what has KILLED American education.


I live on a clinging, yet paltry, hope that those of us who do understand the ramifications and repercussions of your model, are able to sabotage your efforts to create a socialized system of education designed to churn out workers and 'thinkers' based on COMMON (socialized) standards and COMMON (socialized) tests, relieving America of the individuality that – until the last couple decades - had made it, in every way, superior to every other country in the world since 1776.


Until then, I guess I'll attempt to teach children to spell "a-u-t-o-m-a-t-o-n" and watch the system – and the American way of life - circle the drain.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No CREATIVITY For You!

I couldn't help it when I read Yong Zhao's post entitled, "Doublethink:  The Creativity-Testing Conflict".  All I could think of was Seinfeld's Soup Nazi screaming, "No creativity for you!"

I am going to post a portion of the blog below (apologies to Edweek for posting it in its entirety previously, apparently breaking a number of copyright laws!) but here are the words I simply HAD to pen in response the Zhao's question, "I don't know how policymakers can hold, simultaneously, these two ideas, creative entrepreneurship and test-driven curriculum standardization, that both research and common sense recognize as contradictory..."?
It's called Cognitive Dissonance...welcome to the Republican Party.

As an education researcher from OKLAHOMA I truly appreciate your post!
The minute our governor stepped out to make a glowing comment on the sham of "testing to creativity", I knew I was going to have to find some specific research to point her bloodhound nose - so keen on sniffing out further little nuggets for her 'education reform' agenda - in another direction.

You have exceeded my expectations here. If she and her 'reformer' pack can't digest the specificity and truth here...well...she's only got 'til 2014!

Doublethink: The Creativity-Testing Conflict

Premium article access courtesy of Edweek.org.
...California, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma have begun exploring the development of measures to gauge the extent to which schools foster creative and entrepreneurial qualities in their students, according to a Feb. 1, 2012, article in Education Week. "What brings great test scores may hamper entrepreneurial qualities.".........
Standardized testing rewards the ability to find the "correct answer" and thus discourages creativity, which is about asking questions and challenging the status quo. A narrow and uniform curriculum deprives children of opportunities to explore and experiment with their interest and passion, which is the foundation of entrepreneurship. Constantly testing children and telling them they are not good enough depletes their confidence, which is the fuel of innovation. So, by any account, what policymakers have put in place in American schools is precisely what is needed to cancel out their desire for creative and entrepreneurial talents......


I don't know how policymakers can hold, simultaneously, these two ideas, creative entrepreneurship and test-driven curriculum standardization, that both research and common sense recognize as contradictory unless they change the slogans of 1984's Oceania, "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength" into "Standardization is Innovation, Uniformity is Creativity, and Testing is Enterprising" for education today.

 So, just to follow up here, I thought it might be fun to pull some of the articles I've been saving in my "Creativity Nonsense" folder.  The ones below are all those generated just in Bible-belt, Red-state, Conservative OKLAHOMA!  How's that for cognitive dissonance?

First of all, did you know that Oklahoma has not only has a CREATIVITY website, but an annual Creativity Forum?  Here is the picture of the website... VERY CREATIVE!!!  Black and white is very artsy!  Please note, lucky us, we can make a donation (for what?), become a member or even "like" them on Facebook!




This, is more troubling...Did you know that we have a South Korean researcher who will develop an Oklahoma Innovation Index?


Monday, July 9, 2012

SNAP Goes the Teacher...


Today, I saw Rick Hess' blog, "A Good Teacher Is Hard To Find".  While I didn't find this guest post by

The trick isn't obsession over what qualifies a teacher to join the profession. Our policies should instead be loose on entrance and tight on results--encouraging maximum flexibility for states, districts, and charter schools to recruit teachers as they see fit while seeking to find better ways to identify good and bad teachers, reward the good ones and keep them in the classroom, and move out the bad ones.
What this means will vary by district-to-district, school-to-school, but a few quick thoughts:
-we should continue to invest in designing smart and robust teacher evaluation tools, which include value-added measurements of student performance--where appropriate and as a piece of the puzzle.
-teacher compensation should not be linked solely to degrees earned or years of experience but to quality of work, including student achievement.
-we should allow more teachers to enter via alternative certification programs, and give charter schools increased flexibility to hire the kinds of teachers befitting their unique missions.
-schools and districts should consider a classroom career ladder that permits good teachers to remain in the classroom while affording them opportunities to grow professionally.

In the same way there's not a single "what works" for identifying good teachers before they enter the profession, there's similarly not a one-size-fits-all on the evaluation end. But the broad principal--loose on entrance, tight on results--will permit us to rethink how we go about recruiting, training, and evaluating teachers in the 21st century.
Ooohhhh.  This sounds awe-inspiring frankly, but my experience just doesn't add up to this assessment from a man who has probably NEVER been in front of a classroom in his life (Daniel is, program manager in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute). 


This was my take on the issue at hand:

As a former science teacher (now homeschool mom) - my perspective is quite different. I have a M.S. in biology. I was alternatively certified. I taught at a charter school.

Though I followed the state standards for each of the grades I taught and used the books appropriate for the age level - I was deemed "too hard". I "asked too much of my students". I was finally put on a plan of improvement after being called on the carpet in front of parents in my principal's office numerous times.

In my experience, principals don't want good teachers because parents complain. Good teachers don't want to teach the way they know they should because they'll likely be constantly having to explain themselves to avoid firing.

All this nonsense about linking student test scores to teacher pay and all the other "accountability" reforms (ala Jeb Bush) that states keep signing on to, are not going to amount to a hill of beans other than to keep the really good teachers from signing up to teach. How can one teach when you're suddenly responsible for whether a child had breakfast or a fight with his mother the morning of the test?

It cost me a chunk of money to get my alternative certification just to have to constantly justify my reasoning behind trying to make my students do something more than the 'busy work' the parents apparently desired and the principal wanted. Why in the WORLD would good people desire to have that kind of job other than the sheer idealism that many of us have entering the teaching profession (that is soon beaten out of us to the point that we leave)?

Until the now-majority of PARENTS decide they want more for their children than a SNAP card, we're all sunk. No amount of coercion by a state or federal government will fix that. As soon as parents/students have to reap the whirlwind that would be ZERO public assistance for the results of allowing/perpetuating mediocrity, stupidity and sloth, things will change. Until then? Buckle up for a very bumpy ride!
Here's a very interesting article I also found in EdWeek today.  Check this one out as well.  "The Pros and Cons of Accountability".