Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Fixing" America's schools

Ripley's believe it or NOT

Time Magazine's
cover story, "How to fix America's Schools", is paper thin with little more than the usual collection of cliches and misinformation. It goes so far as to claim that it was McCain, not Obama, who made the boldest case for reform." Know-nothing writers like Amanda Ripley kill perfectly good trees to fill pages with crap like this:
The biggest problem with U.S. public schools is ineffective teaching, according to decades of research.
Did you get that? Decades of research? Now instead of weighing school research by the pound, Time measures it by age. Of course there is no such decades of study tagging teachers as the "biggest problem" in schools. Ripley made that up. But in this era of researched-based policy making, you can sell anything by adding the words, "research shows."


D.C. super-star conservative "revolutionary" Michelle Rhee is treated with the usual Time puff. But what cracked me up was this intro:
Teachers hate her. Principals are scared of her. How Michelle Rhee became the most revolutionary — and polarizing — force in American education
Maybe they could explain how someone could be an education revolutionary and still be a polarizer, hated by teachers and frightening principals? There's certainly nothing revolutionary about teacher bashing and taking away their collective bargaining rights. Maybe she uses revolutionary toilet paper or revolutionary toothpaste.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving turkeys

Turkey # 1-- TFA leaders lobbying for Joel Klein

Teach For America thinks their bread is buttered on the Klein side. The liked doing business with Bush's DOE and are worried about Linda Darling-Hammond changing the way that business is done. She's been critical of the way TFA has dumped young, often ill-prepared teachers into poor urban schools.

Turkey # 2-- Faux Obama supporter Terry Moe

Andy Rotherham catches school privatizer and teacher-basher Moe in a lie. Moe, like so many trying to push new regime ed policies to the right, claims to be a long-time Obama supporter. Rotherham, who himself appears to be job hunting in the new administration, asks Moe a good question: "whether Rudi Giuliani knew this and when did he know it?"

h/t to Leo Casey on this one, since I hardly ever read Rotherham's Eduwonk any more. Too boring.

Turkey # 3-- The state of Nebraska

Nebraska made a sorry name for itself when its governor pushed its state university to ban Bill Ayers from speaking at an education conference.

Now the state becomes one of the few to pass a misnamed Civil Rights Initiative which outlaws race-based affirmative action in its hiring practices. Currently 97% of Nebraska’s teachers are white.

Turkey # 4-- Paul Vallas

New Orleans post-Katrina schools are still the lowest scoring in the state. But schools chief Paul Vallas is still “very pleased” at the latest test score results. He’s elated because 10 of his charter schools and two of his Recovery School District schools had a score of 60 or higher on a scale of 180—enough to shed the label of “academically unacceptable.”

Problem is, even this slight bump in scores is misleading. The improvement comes mainly in a handful of selective enrolment schools, says Edweek. Plus many of those black students who have been able to return to N.O. are still living in horrible conditions and attending decrepit schools.