HITTING LEFT ON MIXCLOUD

With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

(Mis)educator Bennett Couldn't Help Himself (Archive)

Diarrhea of the Mouth
"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could - if that were your sole purpose - you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."--William Bennett
It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress. --Mark Twain
Former Secretary of Education William Bennett likes to tell everyone how to live and preach from his Book of Virtues. But his gambling addiction and overt racism belie his righteous preachings. Why am I beating this dead horse? Because many small schools, charters and home schoolers are using Bennett's K12 Inc. curriculum and have made him a rich man many times over since he left the Dept. of Ed.

Bennett's remarks echo those from a decade or two ago by William Shockley, who suggested offering cash bonuses to welfare mothers and other social undesirables (i.e. blacks) who agreed to be sterilized and Charles Murray's Bell Curve. They also follow in a long trail of right-wing eugenicists, including President Bush's own grandfather, who pushed the ideas of white racial superiority. And now, even after his offensive remarks about aborting black babies to reduce crime are out on the table, some like Rush Limbaugh are defending him. It seems there is nothing too racist or outright criminal (as is the case of Tom DeLay) for them to stomach. As for Bennett himself, always a defender of the voucher system and an opponent of affirmative action, it seems that he is so filled with racist crap, that like the man who ate at the greasy spoon down the block from our office the other day, he can't control himself. He must let it out to relieve himself--even on the radio.

This time though, diahrrea of the mouth may prove to be costly. The Philadelphia Daily News reported exclusively Saturday that Philadelphia parents and education activists entered the fray to demand that the School District of Philadelphia end the approximately $3 million in contracts it awarded in April to Bennett's K12 Inc. By Monday morning Bennett,was out as K12's chairman of the board of directors, board member and part-time employee, said Ron Packard, who co-founded the multi-million-dollar company with Bennett in 1999. Packard would not disclose what Bennett was being paid but did say he would not be paid in any other capacity, such as that of a consultant.

Then Philadelphia Schools CEO Paul Vallas called the comments Bennett made on his nationally syndicated radio show "outrageous and offensive" and said "any extension of the contract could be jeopardized by his continued presence on the board." Not real strong words but old ties are hard to break.

Now the question is...what kind of contracts will the current DOE hand to Sec. Bennett? Maybe he can be put in charge of new schools for New Orleans or Bagdad.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New York's Small Schools--A critical look at implementation

Archived post from Yahoo360 |09/29/2005 10:27 am

Is Bloomberg's Implementation of Small Schools Hurting the Rest of the District??
A report from the Politics of Education Association, a "special interest group" of the American Educational Research Association, raises questions about Mayor Bloomberg's Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) strategy in New York.
According to the report by Florida State University's Patrice Iatarola, small schools or SLCs, "seem to have potential for improving student chievement or improving factors related to student achievement, such as attendance rates, but the body of evidence is not yet strong enough to know for sure whether or not small schools work.

Moreover, notably absent from the research on small schools is the impact that such changes have not only for those who are participating in the reforms but also on schools and students throughout the system. ... the findings do suggest that educators and policymakers should no longer ignore the implications that small school reform may have on schools and students system-wide."

The suggestion is that Bloomberg's plan for implementation of small schools in NY could be creating or further exacerbating racial segregation and the two-tiered system of education.
This is an issue that I, and other small-schools people, have been raising for years. Small schools, especially charters, can become another part of the horrible sorting and tracking process that replicates what Jonathan Kozol called, the "savage inequalities" in our schools and in our society as a whole. 

The small schools movement in New York began in the late 60s as a movement for equity and social justice. The latest wave, with millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation, seems to be more about "scaling up" and replication. I'm glad someone is looking at the implications district wide, especially for the 75% of students who are still forced to attend large (among the largest in the nation) high schools.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is Bloomberg's Implementation of Small Schools Hurting the Rest of the District??

New York's Small Schools--A critical look at implementation

A report from the Politics of Education Association, a "special interest group" of the American Educational Research Association, raises questions about Mayor Bloomberg's Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) strategy in New York.

According to the report by Florida State University's Patrice Iatarola, small schools or SLCs, "seem to have potential for improving student chievement or improving factors related to student achievement, such as attendance rates, but the body of evidence is not yet strong enough to know for sure whether or not small schools work.

Moreover, notably absent from the research on small schools is the impact that such changes have not only for those who are participating in the reforms but also on schools and students throughout the system. ... the findings do suggest that educators and policymakers should no longer ignore the implications that small school reform may have on schools and students system-wide."

The suggestion is that Bloomberg's plan for implementation of small schools in NY could be creating or further exacerbating racial segregation and the two-tiered system of education.

This is an issue that I, and other small-schools people, have been raising for years. Small schools, especially charters, can become another part of the horrible sorting and tracking process that replicates what Jonathan Kozol called, the "savage inequalities" in our schools and in our society as a whole
.
The small schools movement in New York began in the late 60s as a movement for equity and social justice. The latest wave, with millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation, seems to be more about "scaling up" and replication. I'm glad someone is looking at the implications district wide, especially for the 75% of students who are still forced to attend large (among the largest in the nation) high schools.