The War On Teachers

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:58 pm

Will Oprah do a follow-up to Zuckerberg's PR appearance as the generous donor of $100 million to Newark schools, now that it's no longer happening?

remember it was back here
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Black Agenda Report
Published on Black Agenda Report (

Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam
Wed, 05/21/2014 - 00:56 — Margaret Kimberley

Ras Baraka Wins Newark Mayor [1] |
Cory Booker School Vouchers [2] |
School privatization [3] |
Zuckerberg Gift to Newark [4]

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Sometimes, local political races have truly national repercussions. Hopefully, this will be the case in Newark, New Jersey, where Ras Baraka defeated a Cory Booker acolyte for mayor. School privatization was the big issue. Folks have figured out that “the very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters.”

“The people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money.”

In 2010, Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg joined Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker on the Oprah Winfrey show [6] with great fanfare. The purpose of their appearance was to announce that Zuckerberg was contributing $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system.

There was a time when private donations to public schools would have been unheard of. Schools were well funded with government money and were accountable only to the people for their actions. That history is now passé, as rich individuals and corporations have snatched seats at a table where they do not belong. Charter schools have been foisted upon black and brown children across the country, and in the process fired thousands of black teachers, closed schools, and stolen resources from public education while simultaneously making profits for hedge fund chieftains.

This disastrous plan has gathered steam with Republican and Democratic politicians alike who happily jump on the band wagon and the big money that comes with it. A Republican president may use the slogan No Child Left Behind and a Democrat may say Race to the Top, but the end results are equally disastrous.

“Charter schools have been foisted upon black and brown children across the country.”

The Newark scheme has been in the news lately because the people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money. Newark was vulnerable to the charter school confidence game for two reasons. First, its low performing school system was taken over by the state of New Jersey in 1995 and secondly, they had the misfortune of having Cory Booker [7] as their mayor.

Booker’s rise to the city council, mayoralty and now United States senate is a tale for the ages. He successfully marketed himself to rich people and raised huge amounts of money for his campaigns. He might have been the first black president instead of Barack Obama, because as the New Yorker magazine [8] recently pointed out, his wealthy benefactors loved him that much.

“They let Cory into their boardrooms and offices, introduced him to people they worked with in hedge funds. As young finance people, they looked at a guy like Cory at this stage as if they were buying Google at seventy-five dollars a share. They were talking about him being the first black President before he even got elected to the city council, and they all wanted to be a part of that ride.”

The ambitious Booker made a name for himself and became a prodigious fundraiser as one of the first black politicians to support the school voucher movement. He was backed by the Bradley foundation and Walmart’s Walton family and became the celebrity up and coming Democrat. Of course he would ally himself with Zuckerberg and Republican governor Chris Christie in the scheme to deliver the final coup de grace to public education in Newark.

“Booker was one of the first black politicians to support the school voucher movement.”

The New Yorker story tells the sordid tale of how the $100 million was spent against the wishes of Newark residents. The One Newark [9] privatization scheme was classic, consisting of pay for dubious measures of performance, layoffs of experienced teachers and a school closing plan. The New Yorker expose gives interesting detail but misses the point. The very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters. Newark school privatization succeeded in the way its creators wanted all along.

But Newark was having none of it. An unpopular superintendent, Cami Anderson, succeeded in garnering opposition a la the infamous Michelle Rhee. Anderson even tried to fire principals who publicly opposed her plans. The people of Newark made their disgust loud and clear last week when they elected city councilman and former public school principal Ras Baraka [10] as their new mayor. His opponent, Shavar Jeffries, was backed by Booker’s Wall Street friends and was himself the founder of a charter school. The big money fund raising brought him a long way from early polling to make a competitive race, but campaign cash and corporate media fawning couldn’t put lipstick on the discredited pig.

Newark schools are still under state control and it isn’t likely that the Republican governor will loosen the reins. Yet Baraka’s victory is an important one in the effort to stop the charter school catastrophe. The next billionaire who wants to earn what he thinks are good public relations points may think twice before embarking on what may be an expensive boondoggle if the people make clear that they want democracy and not rule by the rich.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at [11] Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:02 am
Published on Friday, June 13, 2014 by Common Dreams

Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests

by Jesse Hagopian

“…the Gates Foundation agrees with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years, during this transition.” — Vicki Phillips, director of the U.S. education program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

How do you know the United States is currently experiencing the largest revolt against high-stakes standardized testing in history?

Because even the alchemists responsible for concocting the horrific education policies designed to turn teaching and learning into a test score have been shaken hard enough to awaken from the nightmare scenario of fast-tracking high-stakes Common Core testing across the nation. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a stunning announcement on Tuesday, saying that it supports a two-year moratorium on attaching high-stakes to teacher evaluations or student promotion on tests associated with the new Common Core State Standards.

Labor journalist Lee Sustar put it perfectly when he said of the Gates Foundation’s statement, “Dr. Frankenstein thought things got out of hand, too.”

The mad-pseudoscientists at the Gates Foundation have been the primary perpetrators of bizarre high-stakes test experiments in teacher evaluations, even as a growing body of research—including a report from the American Statistical Association—has debunked the validity of “value added method” testing models. The Gates Foundation has used its immense wealth to circumvent the democratic process to create the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with very little input from educators. As Rethinking Schools editor Stan Karp wrote of the Common Core development process:

Because federal law prohibits the federal government from creating national standards and tests, the Common Core project was ostensibly designed as a state effort led by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, a private consulting firm. The Gates Foundation provided more than $160 million in funding, without which Common Core would not exist… According to teacher educator Nancy Carlsson-Paige: “In all, there were 135 people on the review panels for the Common Core. Not a single one of them was a K–3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.” Parents were entirely missing. K–12 educators were mostly brought in after the fact to tweak and endorse the standards—and lend legitimacy to the results.

And thus the Gates Foundation’s unnatural methods brought to life the Common Core State Standards. As parents, students, and teachers around the nation have grown tired of being the targets of hazardous corporate experimentation and excluded from major policy decisions about education, they have built the largest revolt against the use of high-stakes standardized testing in our nations’ history. Teachers at my own Garfield High School in Seattle refused to administer the district mandated MAP test last year. This year, teachers at Saucedo Elementary were threatened with the revoking of their teaching certificates for refusing to administer a state exam, but have continued in their civil disobedience. Some 33,000 parents in New York State alone have opted their children out of tests in the current school year. Students from Portland to Rhode Island have led rallies and walkouts against the tests.

The Providence Student Union recently gathered at the Rhode Island Statehouse, dressed as rodents, to protest a state-wide standardized test recently incorporated into high school graduation requirements. Jose Serrano, a sophomore at The Met School, addressed the crowd saying, “The reason we are dressed like guinea pigs and lab rats is simple — that is how we are being treated. (The Rhode Island Department of Education) had a hypothesis — that high-stakes testing alone, without the extra resources our schools need, would solve our educational problems and radically improve our proficiency. But this was nothing more than an experiment.”

So when the Gates Foundation writes that they, “agree with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years,” I take that to mean they have sided with our movement and activists like Jia Lee of the Earth School who is refusing to administer a CCSS test. I can only assume the Gates Foundation is getting ready to sign the petition and cut a check to support the group, “Teachers of Conscience,” responsible organizing this Common Core testing boycott.

The Gates Foundation may be attempting to corral a runaway anti-high-stakes testing movement by appearing to listen to the overwhelming numbers of people who are demanding an end to the use of test and punish mysticism in education. But in calling for a two-year dousing of cold water on the high-stakes attached to CCSS tests, the Gates foundation has only poured gasoline on a fire threatening to consume the multi-billion dollar Pearson corporation’s testing products around the nation. Imagine the confidence of the next group of teachers who refuse to administer high-stakes Common Core tests when they justifiably claim the creator of the Common Core doesn’t want them to administer it.

This latest backtrack by the Gates Foundation shows they are vulnerable to pressure. But the question remains, will the Gates Foundation pursue its call for constraining the testing creature it created with the same zeal as it showed in creating the Common Core? Will the Foundation use its undue influence and wealth to pressure states to drop the use of high stakes testing attached to Common Core tests? On June 26th, public education advocates from around the country will arrive in Seattle to protest at the global headquarters of the Gates Foundation. You should join them and find out if the Gates Foundation is brave enough to answer these questions.

While the Gates Foundation may be bending to the will of a popular revolt, it will take nothing short of mass civil rights movement to defeat its grotesque monster of high-stakes testing that is menacing our schools.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:12 pm

Really very good as a logic exercise. ... ions/print

Weekend Edition June 13-15, 2014

Exploiting the Myth of the “Bad” Teacher
The Assault on Teachers Unions


Although I can understand the relentless anti-union crusade being waged by free market fundamentalists who wish to: (1) weaken the American labor movement, and (2) do away with the public school system (because there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made by “privatizing” education), I am stunned by the public’s willingness to accept what is, on its face, a monumentally stupid argument.

While no one ever hears of American colleges and universities being accused of producing consistently “bad” accountants or bad pharmacists or bad historians or bad computer programmers or bad anthropologists, apparently, those same colleges and universities have turned out a disproportionately high number of “bad” teachers.

Even though these idealistic men and women busted their humps earning their college degrees and teaching credentials (which, by law, are required to teach in a public school, but are not required by private schools), once they entered the classroom and began plying their trade, they turned out to be a bunch of incompetents and slackers.

Of course, the explanation given by the anti-labor, privatization propagandists is that these teachers came out of their colleges and universities in satisfactory shape, but turned “bad” as soon as they became union members, because the teachers’ union, as we all know, was put on earth to protect bad teachers. Yep, as a former union president myself, I can attest that there’s nothing we union honchos admire more than a shitty worker.

Here’s something to think about: Airline pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, firefighters, nurses, actors, writers, directors, coal miners, and that woman who plays oboe in the symphony orchestra are union members. They are good at their jobs. Being represented by a union didn’t turn them into bad workers.

Southwest Airlines is the most unionized carrier in the industry and, last time I checked, it was among the most profitable. If you want to accept the outrageous falsehood—the outright lie—that union members are bad workers, that’s your privilege, but unless you have a death wish, I suggest you stay off airplanes.

Here’s something else: Some of the best school districts in the country are heavily unionized. Something else: Demonstrating that the whole thing is mainly socio-economic, schools in stable areas perform better than schools in poor, distressed areas, and unions have nothing to do with it. And something else: Non-union teachers across the country get fired at about the same rate as union teachers. It’s true. Why don’t more non-union teachers get fired? Because they don’t deserve to be fired.

Has anyone who did poorly in school ever blamed the teacher for their lack of success? Has anyone ever said, “Man, I would’ve been a kick-ass student if only my teachers had been capable of teaching me”? I’ve never heard one person say that. Instead, they either blame their parents for not having assisted or “pushed” them enough, or blame themselves for simply not having put in the necessary work.

Again, this whole assault on the teaching profession is a hoax. It’s designed to beat down the unions and convince people that “private education” is the way to go. And in order to win, they need to convince a critical mass of parents that the only reason their little Johnny or Judy isn’t performing like a budding genius is because of “bad” teachers. That people believe it is a shame.

David Macaray is a labor columnist and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor, 2nd Edition).

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby divideandconquer » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:34 pm

Our public high school librarian retired a couple of years ago when they told her she had to get rid of the literature section (Common Core mandates 70% informational text in high school) .She refused. Not to mention, the budget was cut to point where one could find better supplies at the dollar store, they were that cheap...and this high school is supposed to be one of the best. Then she showed me the brand new textbook series ordered for the civics classes. What a joke!! The texts had been scaled down to what used to be a grammar-school understanding with a very pronounced indoctrination of a specific worldview. She said that when preparing for debates, the students were required to use only these books in preparation, these books that have pictures of celebrities, throughout.

Flow Chart Exposes Common Core's Myriad Corporate Connections

U.S. education reform isn't so much a "Race to the Top," because no matter which schools climb to the top of the ladder first, corporations always win

Morna McDermott mapped the Common Core State Standard Initiative's corporate connections in a new flow chart, which reveals how corporations and organizations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have funded and perpetuated Common Core standards throughout the states.

ALEC has been funded for decades in large part by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, about 98 percent of ALEC's funds come from corporations such as Exxon Mobil and corporate foundations like the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

The Common Core State Standard Initiative is part of the larger Race to the Top educational policy announced by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2009. It seeks to implement new Common Core educational benchmarks to replace varying educational standards from state to state by awarding grants to states that comply with the initiative. The standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The chart illuminates a larger corporate agenda that seeks market-based education reforms and increased influence over public education in the United States. With defense and security expenditures slowing, corporations are looking to profit from new cloud-based software used to collect and mine information from student records to create individualized education programs designed by third-party companies

McDermott is a teacher-educator with more than 20 years of experience working in and with public schools. McDermott also serves as a section editor for the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy and recently published a book titled "The Left Handed Curriculum: Creative Experiences for Empowering Teachers" with Information Age Publishing. She is an administrator with United Opt Out National, a nonprofit created by parents, educators and students who are dedicated to the elimination of high-stakes testing in public education.

She researched and produced the information on her own, but the work is endorsed and supported by the United Opt Out National network. McDermott told Truthout she used a systems-based approach in her research to show the concepts in relationship to one another, and that it's just another example of a different method of teaching and learning.

McDermott says she works to fight standards and testing because they divert funds and attention away from the real issue in education, which is poverty. "The whole thing about better tests and if we had better standards is like a bait-and-switch … so nobody pays attention to the real issues," she said.

McDermott mentions a number of corporations and organizations prying for influence over the Common Core standards. Among them is Achieve Inc., a company widely funded by ALEC members, including Boeing and State Farm, among others.

McDermott also points to peer-reviewed academic research originally published in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation by Fenwick English titled "The Ten Most Wanted Enemies of American Public Education's School Leadership." In his research English looks at many of the players involved in the same network that McDermott maps with clarity, writing of the Eli Broad Foundation that:

Broad money is sloshed behind the scenes to elect or select candidates who "buy" the Broad corporate agenda in education. ... Broad's enemies are teacher unions, school boards, and schools of education. What all three have in common is that they eschew corporate, top-down control required in the Broad business model.

According to McDermott, America's Choice, another part of Common Core's corporate web, originally was founded as a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. But in 2004, the group was reorganized as a for-profit subsidiary of NCEE.

McDermott cites a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, Jay Greene, who writes:

NCEE's scheme was originally financed by a $1,500,000 pilot grant from the Gates Foundation. It will now benefit from a sweetheart deal of $30,000,000 - all taxpayers' money. Having Gates pay for both NCEE's start-up and the development of Common Core standards certainly helped America's Choice to put its key people on Common Core's [English Language Arts] and mathematics standards development and draft-writing committees to ensure that they came up with the readiness standards Gates had paid for and wanted NCEE to use.

It's all part-and-parcel to the larger neoliberal plan to "reform" public education.

"What Race to the Top is doing to exacerbate the issues of poverty, for one thing, in terms of school funding is it's even elevating the amount of money that is funneled right through schools, like a sieve, and channeling it more directly into the hands of testing companies, computer companies, online companies and other corporate interests," McDermott said. "So for a state or a district to say, 'Oh, we need the money,' my reaction would be, 'You're not going to see a dime of it. They're going to hand you a check that's basically a coupon to buy Pearson products.' "
'I see clearly that man in this world deceives himself by admiring and esteeming things which are not, and neither sees nor esteems the things which are.' — St. Catherine of Genoa
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:50 pm

We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby divideandconquer » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:23 pm

Common Core: innovating to transform the world, a global system of so-called workforce education that is quickly spreading across not just the United States, but the entire “civilized” planet.

CORE: Making Children Stupider Around The World ... the-world/

Ok… Stupider is not really supposed to be a word. But with CORE, who needs proper grammar? Slang is the new English!!!

I often tell people who want to research a company or government entity that they should seek out the audited “Annual Financial Report” for that corporation, association, etc. The fact is that all aggregate corporations, both public and private, are statutorily required to create, independently audit, and file with the U.S. Federal Government a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) (AFR), and that includes all governments from cities and counties (municipal corporations) to districts to states.

Though I had heard about the many issues with what is called “Common CORE” from many concerned but ill-informed parents and activists, I had never actually spent the time to research exactly what this thing is and how large it has become. As a friend in Texas was speaking of how her son’s homework in the CORE system of Texas involved a lesson about George Orwell’s 1984 as a learning exercise, I realized it was time to have a look.

Thanks to the efforts of a concerned mother who brought this travesty to the awareness of the people, here’s what that homework assignment looked like:
Here are the scanned images of the 3 pages for this school assignment:

Katy ISD, Texas – 1984 Experience (page 1)
Katy ISD, Texas – 1984 Experience (page 2)
Katy ISD, Texas – 1984 Experience (page 3)

The first thing I usually look for when researching any corporation is its latest annual financial report (AFR). And so I did a simple search with the parameters of “Common CORE annual financial report”, and up came the following link:

I instructed the finder to recover the “Annual Report 2011-12″, and up popped a (.pdf) file of that report.

It was so simple, and yet most people have no clue these reports even exist for their consumption…

The link to the actual 2012 fiscal year Annual Financial Report is here:

Now, keeping in mind my own ignorance of just what Common CORE actually was, I am going to treat you, the reader, with the same disposition. My shock and awe at what was revealed in this report will likely have the same jaw-dropping effect upon you that it had on me. And even the armchair activist will be shocked at what is revealed within…

As I read the first page, I knew I was looking at the New Order of things to come – a global system of so-called workforce education that is quickly spreading across not just the United States, but the entire “civilized” planet. Over a blue light bulb with all of the continents of earth upon it, the cover-sheet’s title exclaims:

“CORE – Innovating To Transform The World”

One of the first things I noticed is that this is not a typical AFR. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, the rules and regulations for corporations becomes more model and uniform. Thus, I realized right away that this Annual Report was not American in origin. Indeed, this for-profit education corporation that teaches American children and teachers hails not from the United States – but from India.

The third section of the cover sheet continues, with poor sentence structure and grammatical error, to expand upon this theme of “Innovating To Transform The World”. If you can, try and imagine this paragraph in your mind with an Indian Accent:
“The world is changing at a much faster pace today than one would have imagined a decade ago. The way innovations of yesteryears like internet and mobility transformed the world today; innovations of today would go on to transform the world tomorrow. In the words of William Wordsworth, ‘The child is father of man’. Quite rightly, the shape of future lies in the hands of today’s youth. The responsibility to shape young minds and prepare them for a new world rests on Education. The world needs to renounce some age old practices in its education system and adopt a futuristic pedagogy. Core has been incubating innovations that are transforming the Education Systems worldwide – from the US to the UK; from India to the Middle East and Africa. With innovative interventions across Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Governance, the company is rigorously at work. Innovating today what will lead to a transformed world tomorrow.”

The initial shock from reading this disclaimer is still boiling like butterflies in my stomach. And yet, I also realized that this report and the comprehension that CORE is a global network of for-profit corporations literally taking over the entire structure of education explains perfectly the changes I have seen in America. Even the most adamant activist gladiators had no idea that this CORE system originated in India and is spreading like a virus throughout the world. And this shows in triplicate the paramount importance of reading the annual financial reports of all corporations.

By the way, the word pedagogy is defined as “the science and art of education, specifically instructional theory.”

It’s etymology stems from the Greek παιδαγωγέω (paidagōgeō); in which παῖς (país, genitive παιδός, paidos) means “child” and άγω (ágō) means “lead”; literally translated “to lead the child“.

I sat back for a moment and imagined that our school system is now being traded for profit on the global stock exchange…

And that was when I started writing this report. For at its core, there is something very, very wrong with CORE.

The next page states in large font:

“CORE is India’s largest global education company with presence in US, UK, India, Singapore, Middle East, Hong Kong, Africa and the Caribbean”

Que jaw dropping again…

A further description claims:

“CORE’s pillars of strength – Huge network – India’s largest global education company, presence across US, 40 counties in UK, Pan India, Singapore, 9 countries in Hong Kong and 2 countries in the Caribbean

    * Strong domain expertise in the education sector, presence across entire spectrum of education

    * Strong asset base – ranked as the top transnational company in India in USD 150-500 mn global asset base

    * High thrust on innovation – The Company has the highest r&D spends in the sector in India and was ranked 12th from India and 788th globally in 2011 Industrial r&D Investment Scoreboard

    * One of the highest quality standards – Appraised at CMMi 5, the highest level of process maturity that independently verifies Core’s capabilities to continuously enhance its processes through incremental and innovative improvements

    * Access to quality resource base – Being headquartered in India, the company has an access to one of the world’s most skilled yet competitively priced human resources

    * Strategic alliances with leading global players including University of Oxford in the UK; Center for Higher Learning (“CHL”), Texas Instruments, Eastern Valley Institute of Technologies (“VIT”) in the US; and Institute Technical education (“IT”) Singapore amongst others”

The next page goes even further in establishing some very hard truths:

Ready to create a promising future

The global agenda of the 21st century is set around economy and trade, with manufacturing shifting from the west to the east, employment landscape would immensely change at both ends. In order to sustain their economic growth, developed as well as developing economies need to intensify their human capital formation. Not surprising then, nations across the world are increasingly investing in education for continued development of their human capital, quantitatively as well as qualitatively…

“With governments across the world stepping up their spends on reinventing their education system in line with the unfolding realities of 21st century, CORE is uniquely poised to leverage its established and fast improving domain prowess. In doing so, it would help nations enhance the productive capabilities of their future workforce and create immense value for all its stakeholders over coming decades.”


I remind the reader once again that the grammatical errors are as reported in this Annual Financial Report. Apparently grammar is not high on the list for human capital development as a dumbed-down workforce. Of course, ‘knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave’, as a famous and free black man once stated…

There is so much wrong with these statements that I do not know where to begin.

Did you know that there was a 21st century global agenda that would shift the economic manufacturing base from America to Eastern nations and countries like China and India? We have all physically seen it happening, but I certainly wasn’t aware that it was part of an Agenda.

Unless that is, we are speaking of Agenda 21 (Agenda 21st Century).

And how do you feel when categorized Orwellian-style into “Human Capital” to be managed and “educated” to become part of the “workforce” of that new global agenda? Make no mistake, “human capital” means humans as trade-able and disposable commodities. In other words… SLAVES!

Do you believe that the “core” of education should be based upon training young minds to be workforce-ready by age 18 at the expense of the mind and learning how to learn? Should education teach what to think instead of how to think?

And do you feel at all comfortable that “stakeholders” of nations will benefit from the spread of this CORE system corporation?

Should a for-profit private corporation traded on the global stock market be put in charge of “re-imagining education”?

Should a government have the authority to require your children to attend a non-government school curricular system such as CORE run by partnerships with private corporations?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you had better get off of your butt and do something about this, and fast!

Unless none dare call this treason…

On page 4 of the Annual Financial Report, we read:


“Having fast matured over the last nine years, Core is better placed today than most of its Peers in partnering the governments and various developmental agencies in their education agenda. With a proven track record of enhancing efficiencies and delivering impact, it is finding a greater acceptance and even preference amongst its current and future patrons. Its impressive revenue growth at a CAGR of 53 percent over the last five years bears testimony of the same…”

“In a short span of nine years, CORE has expanded its footprint globally. Its diverse client base includes customers from America to europe to Asia to Africa. They come from the most developed economies like US and UK, from developing economies like India and the UAE, and also from emerging economies like Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia in Africa.

The impact of CORE’s intervention is significantly huge today, with benefits accruing to more than 35 million students, 60,000 youth, 105,000 teachers, and 88,000 schools worldwide. Having established a strong global presence through 36 offices across the globe, CORE considers its journey to have just begun.

CORE leverages on its global best practices and a deeper understanding of varying needs of reforming education systems across different countries in creating a diverse suite of solutions. Each country, each province and each district is different from another and so are their requirements. CORE’s ability to partner them from the stage of need identification through development of custom solutions to testing and roll out with desired impact and efficiency makes it a preferred partner for them.

Having traditionally served the western markets with its IT/ITeS enabled solutions in education, CORE’s revenue mix had predominantly been skewed towards these markets.

Over the recent years, it has been increasing its focus on emerging markets and regions like India, Middle east and Africa.

Furthering its growth plans in India, it is aiming to set up Model Schools under Public Private Partnership model, participate in School Development Programs, intensify Teacher Training programs, and operate Vocational and Skill-based training centers.

CORE has successfully implemented various projects under Information and Communication Technology and Computer Aided Learning programs in over 10,000 schools across various states besides earning prequalification to bid for a Government project to set up 50 model schools under PPP model in Rajasthan.

During the year under review, Core also expanded its focus on other emerging markets. During the year it has entered into multiple joint ventures in the Middle east including partnership with the ras Al Khaimah Government to operate Academic Learning Centre at RAK FTZ in collaboration with Birla Institute of Technology Ranchi, offering programs in engineering, Architecture and Business Administration.”


For those not familiar with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of privatizing government functions through corporations, you should be very afraid. For when this form of partnership happens, the government hands over the operation and supervision of government functions and infrastructure to private and publicly traded corporations like General Electric, Monsanto, JP Morgan Chase, and other less than desirable corporate entities. These lease agreements and multi-decade contracts take the government out of government, allowing companies like CORE to sweep in and… well – “Re-imagine” the education of your children.

The terms “Model“, “Model Legislation“, “Model School“, and global “Best Practices” are all steeped in the United Nations Agenda 21 program. These agendas and rules are created by private associations and then rubber stamped by congress. Even the rules regarding Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are created by such private non-governmental associations as Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA) – which again are not government but completely private corporations or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).

A few other interesting quotes from this report…
“CORE solutions are transforming the entire education spectrum from pre school to K-12, from higher education to vocational education” –page 6

“…Through its innovative solutions for Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Governance, CORE is helping countries globally to bridge their ever widening skill deficit and to significantly raise their educational standards. CORE Advanced Technologies and Consulting Solutions are making our customers more efficient.” –page 6

“Transforming Nations By Creating Holistic Knowledge Ecosystems” –page 7

“Core seeks to achieve transformation of nations by revolutionizing the key building blocks of education, namely – Teaching, Learning, Assessment & Governance. Core provides solutions to the entire spectrum of education – Pre-school, K-12(Kindergarten through 12th Grade), Vocational education and Higher education, to governments, schools and educational institutions, across the world… By boosting literacy rates, increasing employability, enhancing the learning experience and making education accessible and inclusive, Core solutions are helping transform societies and nations.”

“Core understands this premise and has collaborated with the University of Oxford to focus on comprehensive teacher quality reform. The programme aims at improving the professional working knowledge of teachers through a networked learning community that operates across geographies. The teachers are mentored on one to one basis using e-tutors. It is an online and collaborative teacher development program delivered through distance learning mode… Certification is awarded on successful completion of the programme” –page 7

**Author’s question: Will teachers be able to teach in the future without certification? The answer, perhaps, lies here:
“To augment its teacher staffing capabilities and reach, Core acquired ITN Mark education. ITN Mark education is one of UK’s largest firms engaged in educational staffing services and a national provider of teachers and teaching assistants in england & Wales. ITN Mark education has a strong client network of around1600 Schools 3600 Teachers and 1300 Teaching Assistants across 16 locations in the UK and was the Winner of ‘Best Public Sector recruitment Agency’ title at the prestigious recruiter Awards for excellence, 2011. Today, Core assists educational institutions through contract staffing, recruitment services and specialized outsourcing.

Salient features

Cost effective contract staffing that helps in temporary, seasonal or ad-hoc hiring

Specialized outsourcing helps K12 clients to maintain continuity in the absence of permanent staff

ITN Mark has been accredited with Quality Mark by Department for education Quality Mark since its inception in 2002 for its strong internal practices and benchmarks” –page 8

**Author’s note: As this CORE system grows, and in order to maintain continuity in model and uniform teaching best practices, I’d say it’s fair to make an educated guess that required CORE mind control training for teachers from an “e-tutor” through “distance learning” is just around the globalized corner.

“CORE is assisting over 105,000 teachers globally to raise their teaching standards” –page 9

“A teacher plays a very critical role in national development. The quality of teaching has a direct bearing on the child’s future and in turn, the nation’s economic growth. Core teaching solutions help schools globally to productively utilize their student time and help teachers gain access to contemporary teaching methodologies through community based participation.”

You see, in a global society, the individual growth and development of an individual child’s mind takes secondary position to creating a globally ready workforce of like-minded children. As a group, children will become members of the nation, and therefore must be tuned in and molded to such end for national economic growth and sustainability. And of course the children must learn that the good of the “community” per the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights always outweighs the needs of the few or the one – defeating the constitution of the United States with one sweeping treaty! This is Agenda 21 at its finest!

Just how is this infiltration happening around the United States? Why through government contract of course.

From the CORE main website, we see the following press release:

“CORE Awarded Staffing Contract for Milwaukee PSD

CORE Consulting & Staffing recently won a bid with the Milwaukee Public School district to staff for their fall 2013 school year. This isn’t for just a few teachers here and there; they need to hire 100 Science, Math and Special Education teachers with our help!

Through our proven vetting process, we are staffing the best national talent to support this large school district of 78,000 students. Expanding the CORE Consulting & Staffing footprint to the “Brew City” is a valuable addition to our services reach.”



It is interesting to note that CORE is very interested in special education and special needs training. If the power of the now overwhelming population of autistic children can be trained on computers to produce sequential or repetitive actions, then a whole workforce can be created that will never complain or ask questions about why they are pressing keys on a keyboard… or building bombs on an assembly line.

In Aldous Huxley’s book ‘Brave New World’, where humans are divided into work groups labeled from Alpha to Gamma, the millions upon millions of special education and autistic children will become a perfectly pliable army of adult Gamma worker bees to support the Alpha elites.

If only the pharmaceuticals and government could perfect vaccine induced autism as a model standard of best practice…

“CORE to Provide IT Staff Augmentation for Ohio

CORE Consulting & Staffing has secured an exciting new opportunity as one of the staffing providers that the State of Ohio uses for all IT Staff Augmentation needs. We aid in staffing such positions as Programmer, Product Specialist, Service Desk, Database Administrator and many more!

This is part of our strategic growth and expansion plan as we continue to move west from our Northeastern stronghold.”


UMass Selects CORE for IT Staff Augmentation

CORE Consulting & Staffing was recently named as one of the winners of the (Massachusetts) UMass IT Staff Augmentation Contract. Staffing and recruitment services will be deployed from CORE’s NYC offices at 1 Penn Plaza, further expanding the footprint of CORE growing IT staffing business.

This contract encompasses 5 campus locations:

UMass Amherst
UMass Boston
UMass Dartmouth
UMass Lowell
UMass Worcester

The multi-year contract also includes the President’s Office and Central Administration Building where CORE will be supporting the University year round.


And here is an example of Public Private Partnerships:
CORE ECS Named Dell Partner of the Year

Is it time to boycott Dell Computers and Texas Instruments?

To be clear… this is very real and happening now, with the full support of your government. Here is another press release from the CORE website that should shake your foundational outlook on government and whether or not it will protect your children from international corporate workforce training…
“Obama Highlights Georgia Pre-K – Powered by CORE

President Obama made a trip to Georgia, highlighting the state’s pre-K program as a model for creating statewide universal pre-K for children. CORE provides the software backbone, Pre-K Matters, that enables administrators to manage and assess pre-k providors.

According to the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, more than 83,000 children are currently enrolled in the program, which is funded through a combination of federal and state dollars and revenue from Georgia’s lottery.”


It’s your taxpayer money that’s funding this, folks. Your silence is your consent!!! So what are you going to do about it?

CORE’s AFR, on page 35, reveals the business and profit potential of United States children via government contracts paying taxpayer money to “education”:

For year 2009, the global spending on education was USD 3.93 trillion with US contributing just over a third of it at USD 1.33 trillion. Globally K-12 continues to be the largest segment forming close to half of the total education spend, followed by the higher education that is just over a third of the total market. (Source: Unleashing the potential of educational technology, executive office of the President Council of economic Advisers, Sep 2011)… Globally 570 million children are enrolled across various schools. As per GSV eDU education Sector Fact book 2012, the market size for 2012 is estimated to be USD 4.45 trillion.

And on Page 36, prepare to be blown away at the profits and cash and investments on hand for this global corporation:

Core continued its strong growth momentum, in spite of global slowdown. During the financial year, the company’s revenue grew by an impressive 50.1% to `16,379 million ($16.3 billion), eBITDA by 60% to `6,258 million and PAT by 44% to`3,231 million. During the year, Core associated with Texas Instruments (TI) to bring in a new way of teaching and learning maths and science to middle and secondary schools in India. The joint effort combines TI’s best-inclass education technology solution with Core’s worldclass content, teacher education and support to form one integrated solution called STeMpower.

A growth of 50% in one year? This is unheard of, except in government (taxpayer) supported corporations which symbiotically thrive together in public private partnerships.

On the same page, we see other statistics showing the most incredible growth rates imaginable:
As of 31st March, 2006 — As of 31st March, 2012
School served per year 15,000 ~ 88,000
Children reached per year 8,000,000 ~ 35,000,000
Teacher covered per year 0 ~ 105,000
Total clients 75 ~ 2,000+
Total countries served 2 ~ 15
Total Core offices 3 ~ 36

(Note that a yearly 3% growth rate is considered very good for corporations. 50% is in the unheard of range.)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Key Statistics (CORE enrollment)
64 million students in primary and secondary public schools
6 million students in primary and secondary private schools
4 million preschoolers
2 million students homeschooled
98,700+ public schools
33,700+ private schools of all levels and types


And finally, in its financial statement on page 74 and after some creative balancing and accounting to minimize its actual assets, we see total investment and cash holdings listed on CORE’s balance sheet as of March 31st, 2012:
TOTAL 2012 - ‘27,016,922,81

TOTAL 2011 – ‘18,933,818,951

It shows Cash and Cash Equivalents at ‘1,342,644,591.

Note: these amounts are not in dollars, but Indian Rupee’s, with a symbol of (₹). Of course, this curency is produced by the Central Bank of India. And of course the original seal of RBI was The East India Company Double Mohur with the sketch of the Palm Tree and a Lion, which was replaced with the tiger as the national animal of India. Of course monetary values are fixed by government in partnership with corporations, so assigning value is relative.)

Remember the big media frenzy when Apple had a billion in cash laying around? Well this corporation has that plus at least $25 billion in investments and other assets!!!
A Dyer Conclusion

As this India based corporation called CORE continues to “move west from its Northeastern stronghold” in India, I am beginning to understand how this travesty has happened in America. Incrementalization – the slow but steady encroachment and takeover of something – is the business model of the century. Slowly, this CORE system has invaded the education system in America and beyond in what can only be called a hostile takeover of slow and methodical corporate espionage. And just as parents and activists ponder the seemingly sudden power of this CORE system, as well as its acceptance and support by both local and federal government, we now realize that this slow process of re-imagining the education system has been incrementally taking place over at least the last decade. And like trying to fathom the growing of the tall grass around our heads, this incremental takeover was never truly visible to the naked eye.

For my friend in Katy, Texas, it literally took an Orwellian homework assignment based on 1984′s Big Brother to knock her into action against this global infestation into our young and old minds.

I can only hope that, after reading this, you will have a similar reaction and maybe, finally, become interested in politics and the world again – or at least in that of your child’s welfare. Or perhaps you are just alright with the legal status of human capital for your child in the global workplace?

You can help us all by sharing, re-posting, or re-writing this article with no permission needed from the author (no copyright), and by talking to others about this threat to the very nature of humanity and its ability to think freely. For this CORE re-education system is more powerful than any tyrannical government, more influential than any denomination of religion or cult of personality, and more sinister than any demon imaginable. And it has all future generations of innocent children dead in its cross-hairs, including your own.

It is no longer a choice to act against this threat, it is the duty of every parent and non-parent out there. For these minds are your future, whether you bore them or not. They will be your prison guards and sheriffs…

Act now, for this is truly the inception of a Brave New World.

I would ask that you read the rest of this Annual Financial Report for yourself, where surprise after dreaded surprise will rear their ugly heads.

I’d end this with words like good luck and hope for us all, but instead I would ask you to abandon all hope. For action is nullified with such wasteful thoughts. My only hope is that you will stop hoping someone else will do something about this, and take it upon yourself to help yourself and your children. No one else will, least of all the government that is allowing this CORE to be implemented at alarming rates.

Hear my latest interview about CORE here:

Fighting to keep free thought alive and legal…
'I see clearly that man in this world deceives himself by admiring and esteeming things which are not, and neither sees nor esteems the things which are.' — St. Catherine of Genoa
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Twyla LaSarc » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:00 pm

It is interesting to note that CORE is very interested in special education and special needs training. If the power of the now overwhelming population of autistic children can be trained on computers to produce sequential or repetitive actions, then a whole workforce can be created that will never complain or ask questions about why they are pressing keys on a keyboard… or building bombs on an assembly line

Interesting article, and I agree with most of his thrust, but I do quibble with this. He seems to be conflating autism with mental retardation and complacency. Having been around autistics off and on since childhood, I would think it would be very hard to get a bunch of low-functioning autistics to sit still for any length of time and punch buttons repeatedly and accurately for eight hours a day. The high-functioning sort have minds of their own for the most part which often includes a wry outsider opinion of what makes normal people function. Sure, they might be persuaded to work for the evil empire, but standing at a machine punching buttons is going to require more coercion than this person is assuming.

Maybe he is thinking of Down's Syndrome folks who are fairly complacent, although I doubt many of them would be good at the work either.

Why educate people to press buttons? That's what machines are for. Eventually those machines will make bombs too. :grumpy

"Normal people" have proven to be quite good at doing shit work and not questioning it.

On edit, in light of the recent SB shooter being labeled autistic by the press despite his family assertions to the contrary and the use of autism in a totally ignorant and sensationalist manner in the media, perhaps exploration of why it has become the new punching bag, catch-all excuse might be in order. If you can't get the numbers of autistics down by denial and re-classifying them, then demonize the syndrome and isolate the autistics even more?
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:21 pm


The CORE Edutech corporation is not the Common Core policy of the U.S. government!!!

If you want to know the structure of the interests imposing Common Core and the corporate education reform program, see the graphic I posted above the incredibly long post, which is very well sourced, follows the money, and works with the known facts.

The blog re-posted by divideandconquer contains awesome amounts of trash. It's not just stupid, it's clearly intended to mislead. The author searches for “Common CORE annual financial report,” as if Common Core were not a policy but a corporation, which it is not. This yields a link to some corporate report of a company called CORE Edutech. So he follows that link, and pretends this corporation and Common Core are one and the same, which is incredibly pernicious.

By largely random association -- the post is structured like a parody of your typical NWO conspiracy merchandiser ramble -- the author takes a neoliberal campaign pushed by American billionaires, education companies, and political parties and turns it into a trojan horse from India! (And thus the British East India Company, so we're back in the usual Larouche territory where it all comes from the Queen.)

American reactionaries who bought into the national mythology of the country's goodness, especially Christianists, don't understand and can't accept that the sorry realities we see around us are the logical outcome of the American way and the capitalist system. This is why confusionism is such a powerful force with them. They need to blame it on un-American influences, "liberals," the evil United Nations and its "Agenda 21"! Foreigners! The New World Order!

[Dan and The Comedian, in the midst of a riot]
Dan Dreiberg: But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to the American dream?
The Comedian: [brandishing tear gas grenade launcher] It came true. You're lookin' at it. Now c'mon... let's really put these jokers through some changes.

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I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby MacCruiskeen » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:11 pm

Good to see teachers organising and standing up against this shit:

Published on Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Common Dreams

Teachers to Gates Foundation: Stop Pushing Corporate Education Reform!

Seattle rally puts focus on how what kids need for authentic learning is absent from corporate-driven policies

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A protest against high-stakes testing in Chicago. (Photo: sarah-ji/cc/flickr)

A group of teachers is holding a rally Thursday evening in Seattle to denounce education reform measures they say have been an attack on public education and let corporate interests and high-stakes testing trump real student learning.

The target of their protest: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whom the teachers say has used its monetary power to push corporate reforms and is symbolic of measures—like Common Core Standards and over-testing—that don't let educators be the decision makers of education policies.

The action, organized by the BadAss Teachers (BATs) of Washington, whose vision is to "educate teachers, parents, students and communities on the long term consequences of current education reforms," begins with a rally and will lead to a march to the Gates Foundation headquarters.

Julianna Dauble, full-time teacher in Renton, Washington and organizer of the action, told Common Dreams that the Gates Foundation "bought us Common Core," in addition to promoting other things like charter schools, increased testing and Race to the Top, without a democratic process that involves consulting teachers.

It's been a "test-teaching regime" Dauble said, where teachers "have been strangled."

The increased testing has just "purchased a lot more for work teacher," but has failed to meet the whole needs of the child, Dauble continued, adding that "teachers don't value the test results."

Gates has been pushing so-called "magical, silver bullets" to solve problems in education that leave students "unable to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and not at all certain where they fit in the world. "

Gates' approach ignores real barriers to learning like poverty and class size, she said. At the same time that there's money to purchase more and more evaluators, schools have been cutting social supports like counseling that kids need, she said.

Kids learn "based on human relations," she said. But now teachers are in a situation where they feel they "don't have space to meet those relationships."

Learning requires "low class size, time to collaborate, having art," she continued, not just being alone and taking tests.

A statement released by the rally organizers puts the issue in a bigger context:

In 2014 political power resides in monetary wealth and public policy is being determined by the mega-rich not the expert practicioner-in many professions. No one is asking teachers what schools need. Teachers are told that they don’t have high enough expectations for kids. This is ludicrous. Our governing system is becoming undemocratic but worse it IS harming children who need a holistic classroom experience beyond test scores. The Gates Foundation must accept that teachers are more than software; that learning is individualized; and that education is a public endeavor. Excellent public schools are the cornerstone of a free society: big money is buying the education agenda. People must stand up to this oligarchical shift and reclaim public schools with the whole child at the center. Business reformers need to spread their expertise in places where they know what they are talking about. Teachers are experts when it comes to student learning. Ask us what kids need to thrive and learn. We are happy to tell you.”

"This is the first direct action of many to come," Dauble said. Though Thursday's action is education-focused, she said that they're building a broad-based coalition, including environmental, lgbt and other community groups that will continue the momentum.

"We're starting a revolution," she said.

Follow the Educating the Gates Foundation Twitter feed to see more of the event as it unfolds:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Source URL:

JR wrote:the sorry realities we see around us are the logical outcome of the American way and the capitalist system.

Yup - a point also noted in the many good comments under that CommonDreams article, e.g.:

crash2parties >Wise Owl • 5 days ago

Better idea: wreck the schools so they can be privatized and reduce the spending per student by whatever profit margin is deemed necessary. "Teach the Controversy" instead of Science. Reduce the nation to serfs working for a pittance as some other part of the world receives the benefits of our multinational overlord's extractions.

This is your world on Capitalism. Any questions?


Rostale >Steve Purcell • 6 days ago

"unable to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and not at all certain where they fit in the world."

It's not a bug, it's a feature.
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:34 pm

A poll found that Karen Lewis, who led the Chicago teachers union in the strike against Rahm Emanuel's policy, would defeat him in a mayoral election by 9 points. She probably equals him in name recognition and has done the equivalent of the organizing work through the anti-"reform" movement, but it's July and the election would be in November. Also, obviously, he has the gobs of money she does not, though this is something that can be jiu-jistued on a local level (i.e., the more he pays for attack, the more he's promoting her). It's unlikely and up to her own decision.

Here's a) Diane Ravitch on Common Core, b) Jacobin on New Orleans school privatization, 10 years into it, and c) the effort to overturn teacher tenure in New York state fronted by former CNN flapper Campbell Brown and her husband, "Republican strategist" Dan Senor, but financed by Walton and Broad.

Marion Brady: We Need the Right Kind of Standards, Not CCSS
By dianeravitch
July 24, 2014 //

Marion Brady is a retired teacher and administrator and prolific author.

He writes:

“In a commentary in the July 21, 2014 issue of Time magazine, columnist Joe Klein takes aim at one of the usual targets of today’s education reformers—unions. In a dig at New York City mayor de Blasio, he says, “A mayor who actually cared about education would be seeking longer school days, longer school years, more charter schools…and the elimination of tenure and seniority rules…”

“Like just about every other mainstream media pundit, Klein thinks he knows enough about educating to diagnose its ills and prescribe a cure. That he’ll be taken seriously testifies to the power of what’s become the conventional wisdom, that if America’s schools aren’t performing as they should it’s because teachers aren’t getting the job done.

“What’s the teacher’s job? Raising standardized tests scores.

“What’s the key to high test scores? Rigor.

“What does rigor look like? No-excuses teachers doing their thing for as long as it takes to get the job done.

“What’s “their thing”? Teaching to demanding standards—the Common Core State Standards.

“The market-force-education-reform juggernaut set in motion by business leaders and politicians about a quarter-century ago is simple and easily summarized. (1) Adopt tough performance standards for school subjects. (2) Use high-stakes tests to measure performance. (3) Reward high-scorers; punish low scorers.

“Which, when you think about it, is off the mark. School subjects are just tools—means to an end. We don’t tell surgeons which scalpels and clamps to use; what we want to know is their kill/cure rate. We don’t check the toolbox of the plumber we’ve called to see if he (or she) brought a basin wrench and propane torch; we want to know that when the job’s done the stuff goes down when we flush. We don’t kick the tires of the airliner we’re about to board; we trust the judgment of the people on the flight deck.

“School subjects are tools. Kids show up for kindergarten enormously curious and creative. What we need to know is how well schooling is enhancing that curiosity and creativity. Kids learn an incredible amount on their own long before they walk through school doors. What we need to know is how much improvement there’s been in self-directed learning. Kids appear to begin life with an innate sense of what’s right and fair. What we need to know is how successfully that sense is being nurtured.

“We’re on a wrong track. Standards? Of course! But not standards for school subjects. What’s needed are standards for the qualities of mind, emotion, character, and spirit the young must be helped to develop if they’re to cope with the world they’re inheriting.
The Common Core Standards, says the CCSS website, “provide clear signposts along the way to the goal of college and career readiness.” Just stick to the CCSS script to be prepared for college and career.

“College? Years ago, the Association of American Colleges’s Project on Redefining the Meaning and Purpose of Baccalaureate Degrees said, “We do not believe that the road to a coherent education can be constructed from a set of required subjects or academic disciplines.” I’ve seen no evidence that the thoughtful among them have changed their minds.

“Careers? We have no idea how the interactions of globalization, automation, climate change, clashing societal worldviews, and trends not yet evident will effect careers. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that nobody knows what careers are going to be available when today’s elementary school kids are looking for work.

“Back in the 70s, in his book Reflections on the Human Condition, Eric Hoffer, philosopher, writer, and longshoreman, wrote something that the Common Core Standards don’t adequately reflect: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

“Standards? Sure. But not standards for solving quadratic equations, or for recalling the chemical formulas for salt, sand, baking soda, and chalk, or for interpreting Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail as some self-appointed “expert” thinks it should be interpreted.

And not standards that make it easy to create machine-scored tests that perpetuate the destructive myth that quality can be quantified and turned into data to drive education reform.

“Standards—proper standards—could work wonders. Consider, for example, the effect just one standard could have on teachers, on teaching materials, on kids, on the citizenry, on America:

“Schools will be held accountable for sending learners on their way with a deep-seated love of learning and a willingness and ability to follow where that love leads.”

How Fares the Common Core? Mercedes Schneider Updates the Story.
By dianeravitch
July 21, 2014 //

I kept hearing the same phrase used over and over again about the Common Core standards: don’t complain, the train is leaving the station, and you don’t want to be left behind. It is inevitable. Then one of the readers of the blog, noting this cliche, wrote, “I didn’t know the train was IN the station, how could it be leaving?”

At some point, as the volume of complaints got louder, and as states announced they were dropping the standards or the tests or both, the narrative began to shift. That sense of inevitability disappeared, and the nation seemed to go into a period of watching to see which state would pull out next.

Fortunately, Mercedes Schneider has been keeping count. Here is her latest summary of the slow dissolution of the Common Core.

In case you didn’t know it, Schneider just spent this summer (which is barely half over) writing a book about the Common Core. We will wait to hear more about publisher and publication date. Let’s just say she may be the fastest, most prolific writer in our field.

I got the book! ... w-orleans/

“No Excuses” in New Orleans


by Beth Sondel & Joseph L. Boselovic

It’s been a decade since New Orleans’ post-Katrina charter school experiment began. The results have been devastating.

This is the first installment in our two-part series looking at charter schools in New Orleans and Detroit. The juxtaposition is no accident — these two cities have the highest percentage of charters in the country.

In New Orleans, charters have almost entirely replaced traditional public schools; in Detroit, about half the schools are charters. Both cases show the perils of privatization and the way in which elites manipulate crisis to transform social goods.

This fall, less than a decade after its post-Katrina, “grand experiment in urban education” began, New Orleans will become the first city in the country with an all-charter school district. The traditional school district has been effectively supplanted by the state-level Recovery School District, originally presented as a temporary solution to resuscitate lagging public schools before returning them to local control.

The state of education in New Orleans is often presented as a sort of grand bargain: on the one hand, the neoliberal transformation has been undemocratic and has marginalized community members, parents, and educational professionals; on the other hand, advocates of reform are quick to cite higher test and state school performance scores as evidence that the reforms have been successful. While the former is true, the claim that there has been substantial improvement in the educational experiences of young people is unfounded.

In such a market-based system, students’ assessment data are used to compare charter providers, recruit families, maintain charter contracts, and reward teachers. The willingness of reform advocates to hold up test scores as the key indicator of success places enormous pressure on schools and teachers to produce quantifiable results. When the focus is on increasing assessment data, what happens to the democratic purposes of schooling?

If we are willing to accept that the purpose of schooling goes beyond raising test scores, and is in fact tied to preparing citizens to engage in and deepen our democracy, then we need to look more closely at how power has been distributed in school governance across New Orleans and the ways in which this distribution shapes the experiences of students.

We must ask if we are raising test scores at the expense of raising citizens.

In 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke for many school reformers when he said, “The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.” And indeed, nowhere has the growing charter movement been more successful in replacing traditional public schools than in the Big Easy.

With many citizens still displaced, the Louisiana State Legislature made a series of rapid-fire decisions that lifted the state cap on the number of charters in the state, altered criteria to qualify a school for state takeover, and changed the chartering process to limit school and community-based participation.

As a result, more than 7,000 predominantly African-American school personnel were unlawfully laid off, and most schools were taken away from local, democratic control. In subsequent recovery efforts, there was little to no space for community input as the federal government and venture philanthropists provided money for the development of charter schools with no comparable sum offered to rebuild traditional public schools.

Now, instead of a single school district overseen at the city level, New Orleans has a system of individual charter schools and charter management organizations (CMOs). By the upcoming school year, all but a handful of the city’s schools will be charters, either run independently or by one of about seven major CMOs that operate multiple schools. (The only remaining traditional public schools are overseen by the Orleans Parish School Board.)

With limited public oversight and transparency, these CMOs and independent charter schools also have stronger control over personnel — teachers unions are virtually non-existent post-Katrina — which diminishes the ability of professional educators to shape the daily experiences of students and staff and heightens labor exploitation. Teachers often work over seventy hours a week, getting to school before seven in the morning and working through the day, sometimes without bathroom breaks, until they return home to grade papers and answer student phone calls until nine in the evening.

Some community members were originally optimistic about the possibilities promised by reform advocates, believing that they would improve the system by developing new schools based on educational innovation and neighborhood input.

In reality, however, while some schools were successful in fighting to re-open following Katrina and a few neighborhood and community-based groups have been granted charters, these have been the exceptions. Even proponents of the post-Katrina reforms admit that the current system is segregated and not serving students equitably.Whereas the black middle class comprised the majority of teachers and staff prior to Katrina, the schools of the moment are overwhelmingly operated and staffed by younger, non-local, white teachers with limited training and even less experience.

This is because the reforms have been and continue to be made possible by a network of corporate-sponsored non-profits, incubators, and start-ups. Central to this constellation is Teach For America (TFA) — the controversial organization that recruits college graduates, the vast majority of whom have not studied education, to train for five weeks and then teach for two years in low-income schools.

In the months after Katrina, TFA tripled in size in the region and has continued to grow in each subsequent year. While TFA has announced plans to scale back in the upcoming school year, according to their records, there are 400 TFA corps members and 830 alumni in the area. Many TFA alumni hold powerful leadership positions, including State Superintendent John White, members of local school boards, and over 30 principals.

TFA corps members work primarily in “No Excuses” charter schools, premised on the assertion that poverty must not be used as an excuse for low performance. Instead, “No Excuses” advocates argue that high-poverty schools can be high-achieving when school leaders are given autonomy from the bureaucratic constraints of districts and commit to, among other things, an extended day, data-driven instruction, and strictly enforced behavioral expectations. KIPP, the flagship “No Excuses” school, and many others, were founded by, heavily staffed by, and are formally affiliated with, TFA.

Extensive observational research one of us conducted (Sondel) in two of these “No Excuses” schools (an elementary KIPP school and a locally based middle school modeled after KIPP) provides evidence that assessment data is no longer the proxy for educational quality but has in fact become the purpose of schooling itself.

At both schools, as is the case in many “No Excuses” charters in New Orleans, the principals were white males, under the age of thirty, and TFA alumni. TFA corps members and alumni also constituted five of the six collective administrators and over 60 percent of the instructional staff.

With few exceptions, the curriculum was characterized by a narrow interpretation of state standards at the expense of all other material. Students rarely learned local history or current events. Instead, science and social studies were relegated to ancillary classes in the elementary school and reduced to the accumulation of vocabulary and lists of facts at the middle school. Teachers stopped introducing new material a month prior to state assessments in order to begin review.

This curriculum was delivered almost exclusively through direct instruction — what TFA corps members refer to as the “five step lesson plan,” and educator and philosopher Paulo Freire calls “banking education,” wherein students are treated as passive and empty receptacles into which information can be deposited. In nearly every lesson Sondel observed, teachers stood in front of students to introduce new content or an isolated skill, after which students were asked to parrot, practice, and then perform their newly acquired knowledge on worksheets and multiple-choice assessments. There were no student debates, projects, or science experiments.

In a literacy lesson, for example, a teacher started by reviewing the definitions of figurative language. The teacher then projected on the Smartboard sentence after sentence, poem after poem, and, finally, a short story while students raised their hands and waited to be called on to identify idioms, similes, and personification.

After this series of questions and answers, the students sat silently at their desks, read four short passages, and identified figurative language on multiple-choice questions. The students were not asked to read the poem, analyze the story, or discuss the purpose of metaphors. After the lesson, upon being asked if students practice this skill in their independent reading or writing activities, the teacher responded, “You know the problem with that is then they have a difficult time identifying metaphors on the test.”

Perhaps because there was little inherently interesting or relevant to students about the curriculum or the classroom activities, teachers often attempted to control rather than engage students in lessons.

There were, for example, specific expectations about where students should put their hands, which direction they should turn their heads, how they should stand, and how they should sit — practices referred to at one school as SLANT (Sit up, Listen, Ask and Answer Questions, Nod, and Track the Speaker) and at the other as SPARK (Sit up straight, Pay attention, Ask and answer questions, React to show I’m following along, Keep tracking the speaker). Students were kept silent, or what teachers called “level zero,” through most of the day.

Silence seemed to be especially important in the hallways. At the sound of each bell at the middle school, students were expected to line up at “level zero” with their faces forward and hands behind their backs and, when given permission, step into the hallway and onto strips of black duct tape. There they waited for the command of an administrator: “Duke, you can move to your next class! Tulane, you can walk when you show me that you are ready!”

Students then marched until they reached the STOP sign on the floor, where their teacher checked them for hallway position before giving them permission to continue around the corner. Throughout this process, students moved counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the hallway (even if they were going to a classroom one door to the left).

This system of control was administered through intricate systems of reward and punishment. Elementary students received and lost stars for each “behavioral infraction.” In one classroom, a teacher circulated the room with a timer in her hand while students read silently. Every three minutes, after the buzzer, she put a single goldfish on the desk of each student who had remained silent. In another classroom, a teacher silently glared at a student and then typed into his iPhone, which was connected through Class Dojo — an online behavior management system — to his Smartboard. Numbers would increase and decrease on little avatars representing each student.

At the middle school, stars matured into fake money that students could use to buy access to brass band and spoken word performances. When they were not compliant, or did not have enough money to attend the weekly celebration, they were sent to the “behavior intervention room,” where they were expected to copy a piece of text word for word on lined paper. One particular afternoon, the text in question was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Despite the reputation that people join TFA to pad their resumes, many get involved in an attempt to contribute to society. Some are even convinced they are a part of the Civil Rights Movement of their generation. Implementing the “No Excuses” approach is equated with social justice, under the assumption that it is the most effective way to improve students’ test scores — which will get them into college and out of poverty. One teacher explains: “Because these days with the economy the way it is, you need a college degree. So this is a movement of social justice and giving everyone that wants an opportunity access to education.”

Teachers unconvinced by this ideology tend to acquiesce to the “No Excuses” approach for fear of losing their jobs or negatively influencing their students’ futures. One social studies teacher who wishes he could develop his students into historically curious, community-oriented citizens told Sondel why he focuses on teaching standards and test prep instead of current events: “I would be afraid of seeing a whole lot of sixth graders end up back in sixth grade and I would, frankly, be equally afraid that I wouldn’t be the one teaching them next year.”

Yet this pedagogy is far from justice-based or reflective of the radical ambitions of the Civil Rights Movement. Instead, this type of schooling extinguishes young people’s passion for learning and potentially pushes out those who fail to or are unwilling to comply. At best, the “No Excuses” approach attempts to develop within students the compliant dispositions necessary to accept and work within the status quo.

In the “new” New Orleans, students are denied the opportunity to develop the skills and dispositions of engaged citizenship, and parents and communities are denied the opportunity to democratically engage in the governance of their public institutions. Standardized testing is the supreme measure of effective and efficient schools. And at “No Excuses” charter schools, students are regimented rather than educated.

In this context, the specific issues that parents and community members have raised tirelessly — such as support for students with special needs, more culturally relevant forms of teaching, more humane and effective forms of student discipline, less complicated systems for enrollment, better systems of transportation, and access to schools in their neighborhood — have become even more difficult to address.

If New Orleans moves from a city saturated with charters to a city entirely made up of them, these problems would only be compounded.

The logic of neoliberal educational reform in New Orleans and across the country seeks to provide simple and convenient solutions instead of directly addressing the much more complex issues of poverty and historical inequality in American society.When we look beyond standardized test scores, the development of youth becomes a much more complex phenomena that requires us to engage meaningfully in issues and policies related to poverty, health, housing, and crime in addition to education.

But with the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching and the reforms of the post-Katrina era losing their novelty and credibility, there’s an opportunity to critically re-evaluate the ideology and power dynamics upon which these reforms have been based. And encouragingly, recent events have shown that teachers, parents, and community members can push back on corporate reform through collective action.

It is only through these means, carrying a commitment to societal transformation, that we will build the equitable, democratic schools that we need.

Those famous "educators", Campbell Brown and Dan Senor, on attack against NY teachers.
This is a perfect example of why education "reformers" have so much influence, though they know little about education. There is money and power behind them, and the media loves them. Teachers have little money and influence, and there are only a few bloggers telling their side of it.

How in the world did a former CNN anchor and an Iraq war architect get the credibility to move into New York public education? Who gave them the authority to try and force teachers to lose due process and collective bargaining rights?

There's a important graph at Muckety. Also an article about them.

Brown and Senor take on New York teachers

TV journalist Campbell Brown and Republican strategist Dan Senor are becoming the first couple of school reform.

Brown, a former CNN anchor, is the founder of Partnership for Educational Justice, which wants to abolish teacher tenure in New York.

Her husband, Senor, is a former adviser to the Romney campaign and spokesman for the Bush administration’s Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Senor is on the board of StudentsFirstNY, another group that has faced off against the teachers unions. The organization is an affiliate of StudentsFirst, founded by former DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee.


The couple’s school connections overlap in many ways, as illustrated in the interactive Muckety map above. StudentsFirst and Success Academy share funders and board members, including billionaire hedge funder Daniel Loeb.

Don't miss Salon's article today by very capable education writer, Jeff Bryant. Love its digs at Michelle Rhee.

A reeling Michelle Rhee passes the lead to Campbell Brown

For years, Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor, has been upheld in the media as someone with the formula and fight required to “fix” public schools.

...Supported by shadowy money and shaky science, these wealthy folks have created a “blame teachers first” campaign that seeks to address education problems rooted in inequality and low investment by attacking teachers’ job protections and professional status. Their efforts are, of course, “for the children.”

...But recent developments in the career trajectory of Rhee may have prompted the Blame Teachers First crowd to pick a new front person to lead their campaign: former CNN anchor Campbell Brown.

..Rhee’s Sullied Reputation

However you feel about Rhee and her campaign to label “ineffective” teachers as the cause of just about everything wrong with public education, her luster certainly seems to be waning.

I wonder how New York teachers feel right now while waiting the same shenanigans that led up to the teachers of California losing their due process rights in court?
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I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby MacCruiskeen » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:13 pm

Now this sounds bracing:


The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame

David J. Blacker (Professor of Philosophy of Education and Director of Legal Studies at the University of Delaware.)

Our education system is chained to the hold of a sinking capitalist ship. Is there any escape?

The current neoliberal mutation of capitalism has evolved beyond the days when the wholesale exploitation of labor underwrote the world system’s expansion. While “normal” business profits plummet and theft-by-finance rises, capitalism now shifts into a mode of elimination that targets most of us—along with our environment—as waste products awaiting managed disposal.

The education system is caught in the throes of this eliminationism across a number of fronts: crushing student debt, impatience with student expression, the looting of vestigial public institutions and, finally, as coup de grâce, an abandonment of the historic ideal of universal education. “Education reform” is powerless against eliminationism and is at best a mirage that diverts oppositional energies. The very idea of education activism becomes a comforting fiction.

Educational institutions are strapped into the eliminationist project—the neoliberal endgame—in a way that admits no escape, even despite the heroic gestures of a few. The school systems that capitalism has built and directed over the last two centuries are fated to go down with the ship. It is rational therefore for educators to cultivate a certain pessimism. Should we despair? Why, yes, we should—but cheerfully, as confronting elimination, mortality, is after all our common fate. There is nothing and everything to do in order to prepare. ... al-endgame

Numerous reviews, many of them reprinted in full, at the link.

ON EDIT: Another good review, by Sean Ledwith at Counterfire.
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:59 pm

A new interview with Blacker about "his superb new book", which Mark Fisher praises elsewhere for its "invigorating pessimism" (the adjective matters).

David Blacker
by Michael Schapira & Timothy Ignaffo

Full Stop, October 8, 2014 ... d-blacker/

Given the amount, intensity, and dizzying range of rhetoric surrounding education, it may seem counterintuitive to say that it’s hard to find an illuminating voice on the topic. What’s more, the two interviewers have been surrounded by people who, one would think, have all kinds of interesting things to say about a whole range of topics in education, one being an advanced doctoral candidate and the other having just received their PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University. It’s an institution of great historical importance for educational scholarship, but in its current form it reflects the deep incoherence in our national discourse on this crucially important topic. One interviewer would even go so far as to claim that this venerable institution would have trouble producing the ten good citizens required to spare it from divine wrath, were we to transpose Genesis:19 into the realm of educational scholarship.

But this is a topic that is too important to court despair or cynicism. What we may need is “invigorating pessimism,” which David Blacker provides in his superb new book, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame. Blacker is a Professor of Philosophy of Education and Legal Studies at the University of Delaware, has contributed to publications such as The Monthly Review, and has served as a resource for the Occupy Debt campaign. We talked with him about what Marx might still have to teach us, how once can think structurally about the future of education without disabling teachers, students, and parents, and how student debt has transformed into an “existential form of serfdom.”

Michael Schapira: Your two previous books were published by academic presses. How did you get involved with the people at Zero Books?

David Blacker: I was spending a lot of time in London — a month or five weeks at a time. On a trip there a few years ago I was hanging around a lefty bookstore near King’s Cross called Housmans, looking at philosophy books. I was interested at the time in Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology, or speculative realism (there is all this specialized nomenclature you are supposed to use). His stuff is published by Zero and I started to notice their books around town and got familiar with their mission. So when I had the project for this book and was looking around, thinking where to go with it, I realized that Zero was my first choice.

What they have shown, first with Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, but also with authors like Laurie Penny and Richard Seymour, is a great ability to inject their titles into public debate — often with a bit of controversy, but from a publisher’s point of view that’s probably what you want. I thought about academic presses, which are fine and which I’ve published with before, but I had this feeling that it was often a bit of a cul-de-sac with them, even if they were nice looking books that get into libraries. But the goal there isn’t really to interface with “the public.” Whereas for Zero that is the mission, to find that kind of niche. Plus Zero prices books well, including inexpensive e-books. At this point, especially if you want to be part of a global discussion, one’s work needs to be available digitally.

Tim Ignaffo: Can you talk about how that venue differs from speaking to a narrower academic community?

I’ve shied away from conferences for a little while, part of it is just idiosyncratic, but some of it is the downtown hotel conference scene, which can be really sterile. I’ve long had a feeling about PES [the Philosophy of Education Society] that there is a lot of talent, but I also feel like there is a tendency for it to be locked up or hermetically sealed in philosophy of education, maybe spilling out slightly into education or philosophy generally, but really kept as this little relic locked in a box. I won’t name names, but I feel like there are a lot of talented people who feel content speaking to that group and don’t really stretch themselves out of their comfort zones.

Tim and Michael: You can name names, we’ll edit it out.

I really shouldn’t, because it’s a double-edged thing. On the one hand I’m saying that I think they are really talented and fully capable of speaking to a wider audience, but there is almost a self-limiting that I sometimes see. I feel the pull because it’s a social pull, seeing new and old friends, which is important if you’re out there in some far flung place with a job. As one of my mentors told me, the reason that you go to conferences like that is so you don’t die alone. But I thought if I didn’t allow myself the option of falling into that I’d be forced to make new friends and go on to different things, which is what I’ve been trying to do.

I’m not saying this to sound sound grandiose. It may just be the kind of thing I personally need to do to not get bored with things. But there is a lot of lip service given to being a “public intellectual,” and so on, too. And I don’t think giving papers at academic conferences constitutes a robust public engagement.

Michael: Something I’ve noticed in philosophy of education or educational discourse more generally is that it’s difficult to be pessimistic. That might not be the right word, but for you to be as dark as you are in this book and not give some sort of romantic resolution at the end of the story, that we can all just do x and we feel better afterward, was refreshing to me.

There is more emotion around that question of resolution from activist readers of the book than even right-wingers. The fatalism is more upsetting to them.

Michael: Do you think you can be fatalistic in an academic setting? Or does it have to be in this more public setting with Zero?

One of the little blurbs Mark Fisher gave me for the book was “invigorating pessimism,” which may be my favorite. I think you are right that within at least the PES milieu, I’m not sure I’d say all academic milieus, there is this activist aura. The expectation is that there should be uplift of some kind, and if you don’t provide uplift or the psychological comfort of giving someone something “positive” to do in response, people reject your argument. In fact I talk about this in the book, it’s almost an argument from psychology: “You made me feel disempowered. You made me feel bad about things and made it difficult to figure out what I could do personally to better things, therefore your argument is wrong.” I think on reflection anyone would recognize that that is a bad argument and maybe we are fucked, it’s completely possible. Maybe there are structures that are more powerful than individual agency, or even collective agency to overcome in certain situations.

To me that is the more old school Marxist position, which is not an argument in and of itself, but a lot of people in Critical Pedagogy who are speaking to these issues from the left are not making the general critique. I think the idea for them is that you can create some kind of change in politics and economics via these islands of difference in education; I think that doesn’t fit within the general Marxist critique. In fact in the worst case it can be a diversion of energies.

One thing I want to clarify though is that my criticism is not that it’s pointless to be an educator, that you should just jump off a cliff. It is, and can be ethically, morally, and even aesthetically worthwhile. I just think that people are fooling themselves a little bit if they specifically think that their teaching activities constitute political resistance in a meaningful way. I think that’s somewhat illusory. At worst, it’s pernicious even — a diversionary tactic from the real issues.

Tim: Is this a point you can convey to your students who want to become teachers?

Well, I don’t normally teach this stuff to undergraduates, but to graduate students sure. Everyone is shocked and depressed at first, because there is a little shocking quality to the argument insofar as I don’t provide them with a “here’s what you can do.” In fact I try to address directly that question of fatalism, because a deeper issue for me is that this can-do attitude is actually part of the problem, especially for example when you bring environmental concerns to the forefront. Those are to me the really dark clouds that are coming closer. This book is not about climate change or energy explicitly, though I talk about it a little, but what frames everything is a certain type of “we can fix this” mentality. I’d be prepared to argue that this is in many instances wishful thinking, especially when applied to the educational setting. I don’t think we educate our way out of this. In an odd way, an unintentional or tragic way, it can aid the forces of darkness to provide that message.

My general argument is that the traditional leftist narrative, which was quite serviceable in its day as a critique of education as exploitation, is simply a Kantian critique, which is that education was treating people as means and not ends, so is an affront to human dignity — not to mention it’s bad for you physically and has these deleterious effects on all levels of the person, like what Marx talked about in terms of factory work. The great Marxist critiques of education in the English speaking world — Bowles and Gintis, Daniel Liston, a lot of the critical pedagogy school — is that education is exploitation, it’s excessively vocational and narrowed down in an artificial way to service the needs of capital accumulation and not to service a broader conception of human needs.

My argument is that this critique was serviceable for its day, but I think capitalism has moved beyond that and made that critique almost quaint. Anyone of a certain age in the US and Western Europe realizes that being exploited may even be good, “please, find a capitalist to exploit me, at least that means I have a job.” If I could boil it down to one quote that inspired me to think about this it would be from Joan Robinson, who is an English economist, and she said something to the effect that for the worker “there’s only one thing worse than the capitalist exploiting you, and that is not being exploited by the capitalist within a capitalist economy.” So you are placed outside the loop of production in this precarious, disposable position, and I think that’s because capitalism itself has shifted.

In the book I say that that traditional leftist critique of education was appropriate for what I call the “all hands on deck” phase of capitalism, which coincides with the advent of universal schooling. Sticking with the US for simplicity’s sake, we can say the 19th century extending into the 20th century is this period when everybody’s needed, and we are bringing in immigrants and people from the countryside to set up factory production. It’s no coincidence that universal education really has its seedbed in Massachusetts, the same place where capitalism in the US really started, for example in the mill towns. I see that project of universal education as being very much intertwined with that phase of capitalism because of capitalism being motored by the all hands on deck need for human capital, as per Marx’s surplus labor theory of value. There is this tremendous growth period in terms of population, settlement patterns, consolidating populations into working units in order to generate profits for capitalist firms, etc. Anyway, universal education and literacy becomes this vast, value-added project for workers.

While there were many Jeffersonian ideals of citizenship floating around in the 19th century, I think at the end of the day what really motivated the erection of the institutional form, what really brought elites together to erect this institution of schooling and to surround it with this legal apparatus that made it both a right for everyone and compulsory, is this all hands on deck mentality. It works in that double-barreled sense, because it’s stronger than say free speech. You’re not constitutionally obliged to exercise those rights, but you must go to school, so schooling is as wired into the system as anything can be.

Due to an intensification of automation, technology, etc., I think that capitalism has advanced beyond that and it’s not the case that quantitatively more and more workers are functional and useful for profit accumulation, for the system. We’ve reached a point where we’ve out-produced ourselves, where productivity has increased so that simply not as many workers are needed. From the cold logic of capitalist accumulation, this increasingly youthful, educated group is kind of just surplus, they are more of a management and political stability problems — which we see inklings of in the Arab spring, or occupy movements, or London, or Greece, where there are huge levels of youth under-employment, or here where people with massive student debt are working for minimum wage at Starbucks.

This overshoot that we’ve reached is what I call somewhat hyperbolically “eliminationism.” To me it is a dramatic way to represent what I take to be a general withdrawal of interest from elites in that project of universal education because the needs of capital have changed. The enthusiasm is merely vestigial in some respects. It’s vestigial in the sense that there might be a little bit of thought towards citizenship. But it’s ideological in that its important function is to maintain the idea that we can educate our way out of the economic crisis and mass unemployment among youth. This is a cousin of the neoliberal idea that teachers are to blame for “failing” schools and all of that manufactured crisis rhetoric.

It’s like that Robert Reich argument from the 1990s. We just need to upgrade education because everyone is going to be symbolic analysts and creative workers. Instead of working at River Rouge, we’ll work at Google and Facebook. There are a lot of people working at those places, but it’s a miniscule number compared to that all hands on deck period. Almost by definition the productivity gains that high tech, value-added workers bring create a situation in which less of those workers are needed. Both the right and the Keynsian left proceed with this vision that all of these wonderful jobs are there for the taking if only we could educate ourselves “up” to them. An infernal hamster wheel. But what if those productivity gains are not magically going to be recycled and redistributed to the little people once they have become “lifelong learners” who are now worthy of the largesse? What then?

Michael: Those jobs have also become so decoupled from any kind of coherent national economic strategy or idea that there is a civic import to how we educate people for future employment. These people are entrepreneurs working for their own personal gain.

It’s definitely got a more libertarian cast to it than previous elite’s ideology, which had a greater degree of coordination with the working class. A coexistence was necessary, like with the New Deal. You buy labor peace with concessions regarding working conditions, things like that.

But as you said, that libertarian mindset doesn’t even need to think about coexistence with a class of workers. You just focus on your own innovation out there. The contingencies of social coordination are minimized as everything is automated and/or placed online.

Tim: It’s the Google Bus. That is investment in transportation.

Absolutely. And it spills out into all different kinds of political developments like austerity. I think there are people out there whose goal is to destroy public schools, stroking Persian cats like Bond villains, but for most people it’s just that the enthusiasm for the project has waned and you don’t get as many people who are interested and motivated to rally to the side of public education. You’ll get parents and some people who have vestigial civic commitments, but that’s not the same as the old coalition where a large number of people, including a segment of the elites, really felt like it was in their interest that these institutions were robust.

The shift has been to think of education as being purely for myself. Universities have been incredibly complicit in this. In most pamphlets or webpages you see info about how you’ll earn more over your lifetime as a college graduate, even if you have to go into debt now. They’ve put that on page one to justify their own existence by virtue of the earning power that graduates are able to generate as individuals. It’s nothing like an investment in society; it’s more like a literal investment in a stock or bond that pays off in more money later to those particular customers/investors.

I don’t mean to advance any good old days nostalgia, but if you go back to the land grant initiatives of the 19th century there is a much more robust understanding of that civic sense. If you were a farmer in Indiana at a certain point it was much easier to see how you as a taxpayer benefited from supporting the local university. This was in part because these bright young fellows from the agricultural extension showed you this cool stuff you could do with fertilizer or some new technology. It was easy to see how the general diffusion of knowledge through society via higher education was a benefit to them. Whereas now I think that same farmer in Indiana, such as they haven’t been displaced by Monsanto, wonders why they should support taxation so this suburban kid can go to college to invest in himself and reap the financial rewards himself. If he’s going reap the financial rewards he should foot the bill. It’s like a user fee, or a toll on the highway. The logic of it is hard to beat politically in terms of rhetoric. It’s easier for state legislatures to withdraw from commitments, which leads to the rise in student indebtedness.

That is just one aspect of that general mood or situation in which it’s easier for elites to withdraw their enthusiasm for the project, and often the general population withdraws it as well as they are fed a steady diet of well-funded corporate propaganda. Large segments of the American population will merrily aid in the destruction of their own public schools in this manner.

Michael: As part of the bigger explanatory framework you flesh out in your book, would you say that education has been delinked from the project of democracy? If you just sit at the level of description then most schools are very clearly anti-democratic in the way that they function.

There was always been that double edged sword, where there are these important movements of inclusion like civil rights, Title IX, and the disability movement in the 1970s. You look at these various inclusion movements as maybe a high water mark of education’s contribution to democracy. My sense as a student of de-segregation as reflected in reading the legal materials from that time, and we’re reflecting on it now after the Brown anniversary, is that education was valued in society in terms of economic life chances, but also that it’s crucial for citizenship and participation in the society generally. Participation was understood as both economic and political participation, which is this dual imperative towards inclusion that served as a major premise for desegregation.

If we take that as a high water mark for our understanding of education and democracy, I can only agree that the political participation part has only withered, despite the formalism of school board elections and the like, so we are left with only the economic part, which ironically is probably going too. As the rhetoric gets more hysterical about the economic benefits of education, I think that shows you that it’s actually less and less relevant.

Tim: For our generation student debt becomes our mortgage. This seems to be an example of the “existential form of serfdom” that you talk about in the book.

It also puts a ceiling on the recovery on that market. You’d want an economist to run the numbers, but it certainly stands to reason that the young are putting off these life decisions that in 1970s, 80s, or 90s young couples did, like buying a house. The happiest scenario is that they delay for a decade what people used to do much quicker in terms of setting up their homes.

What I wanted to do in that part of the book was not just complain about indebtedness, but to incorporate that into an explanation of how things are changing under capitalism and how educational institutions are implicated in these various ways, from kindergarten through higher education. Debt is just one part of the symptomatology. It’s an important symptom, and like in medicine symptoms are not unimportant, symptoms can kill you. But still by themselves they don’t provide a diagnosis.

One example I like to give is about the son of a colleague of mine, a very bright kid, who just entered medical school. He was a Spanish major in college and before entering medical school his goal was to work at a clinic for low-income Latino populations. But once he dealt with the reality of the bills for medical school he couldn’t do the free clinic plan and even come close to paying back those loans. So he was going to have to go into some specialty that was more remunerative. I’m not sure if that meant plastic surgery in Beverly Hills, but certainly something that would have shunted him into a money making specialty. To me that’s a story that shows it’s not just his loss — though it is in that he’s going to have these big debts — but it’s our loss as well because we are not going to have this young doctor serving an underserved community. So as a public we “save” money short-term by not having to pay for his medical school, but we are big losers many times more because he is placed in a position where he must be out for himself and not the rest of us. In the book I argue that this neo-feudal educational debt bondage has existential aspects as well that limit the possibilities of the rising generation like never before. Their future is simply not as open as the last few generations of Americans have felt their own to be. This will, I think, in time, develop into a kind of political instability that we have not yet seen. Occupy was just a tremor. And there is no reason to think that the responses will be limited to those on the left end of the political spectrum. ... d-blacker/

"Ich kann gar nicht so viel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte." (Max Liebermann, Berlin, 1933)

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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby divideandconquer » Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:10 pm

Despite political backlash against Common Core, the new SAT may force the standards upon American education.

The College Board, the company that owns and publishes the SAT, is changing the exam next year.

Test-takers may be surprised to learn the new test will line up more closely with the Common Core, nationwide education standards that sparked a national outcry for being too one-size-fits-all.

The new test "aligns with the Common Core curriculum standards," Kasey Urquidez, dean of undergraduate admissions at the University of Arizona, told US News & World Report in 2014.

The College Board doesn't point specifically to the Common Core as a reason behind the changes, instead speaking about making sure students are well-prepared for college.

"We basically focused the redesigned SAT and PSAT on the skills and knowledge that research says matters most for college readiness and success," Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board, told Business Insider.

Schmeiser still acknowledged that "we'll see a high alignment" between the SAT and Common Core in the redesigned exam.

While that may seem unexpected, there is more of a connection between the Common Core and SAT than many people likely know.

"The President of College Board, David Coleman, was a key person in helping develop the Common Core," Shaan Patel, founder of SAT-prep company 2400 Expert, told Business Insider. "Therefore, when he took over as the President of the College Board in 2012, David Coleman was very interested in aligning the SAT with the Common Core."

President of the College Board David Coleman College BoardPresident of the College Board David Coleman

The College Board hasn't said much about the specific ways the Common Core standards and the new SAT line up, but EdWeek did a side-by-side comparison to highlight how similar Common Core and the redesigned SAT actually are.

They used the following example to demonstrate the alignment:

Current SAT: Reading and writing sections do not require students to cite evidence. Students select answers to demonstrate their understanding of texts but are not asked to support their answers.

Redesigned SAT: Evidence-based reading and writing. Students will support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.

Common Core: Citing specific “textual evidence” when interpreting material is a key thread of the common core. In the introduction, the English/language arts standards say college- and career-ready students “value evidence.” It says, “Students cite specific evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation of a text.”

Opponents of the Common Core may be displeased to learn the standards they decry as educationally inappropriate were used to update the format of arguably one of the most important standardized tests.

And there are further questions for the seven current states — Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia — that have not adopted the Common Core, and other states which may decide in the future to opt out of the Common Core.

For these states, it doesn't make much sense to have an SAT that aligns with the Common Core, when they will not be learning under those standards in high school.

The College Board, for its part, says students in Virginia and Texas should be fine.

"The new SAT is focused on what is being taught today in classrooms across the nation," a College Board rep said in a statement. "In redesigning the SAT, the College Board used the most current research to identify the knowledge and skills most essential for college readiness and success. The same knowledge and skills are found in state academic standards focused on college and career readiness, including those in Texas, Virginia, and in other states."

Either way, there is good news for students in every state. The revamped SAT will be the easiest version of the SAT ever, according to Patel, the SAT preparation company founder.

The new SAT will also feature other substantive changes. The College Board has said that there will no longer be obscure vocabulary on the exam. Each multiple choice question will have four answer choices rather than five, and there will be more time to answer each question.

Additionally, the penalty for guessing will no longer exist in the new format. These changes, taken together, mean that the new SAT will be easier, according to some experts in the test prep field. ... ore-2015-6
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby Luther Blissett » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:01 pm

We have an awful saga going on here right now (and about half of my peers would pillory me for calling it awful). This tech high school called Bok, in a heavily Southeast Asian, Black and Latino neighborhood, closed down a few years ago in a wave of many school closures, sending most of the students to a pretty rough school a few blocks away. The building is gigantic, deep into the neighborhood, and used to have a teaching kitchen up on the roof nicknamed "Le Bok Fin" after "Le Bec Fin," Georges Perrier's now-closed upper crust French restaurant downtown that was the most white glove place we had for decades.

When I first heard the story, I don't know how, but I misread it that neighborhood alumni of the teaching kitchen program at Bok were basically occupying the kitchen and reopening it as an actual popup bar (the likes of which have become increasingly popular each subsequent summer for the last few years) called "Le Bok Fin". I initially thought it was cute and loved the perceived social justice angle. I don't know how I could be so naive! Of course it wasn't people-powered, it was some rich developer daughter of a rich developer who bourgeoised it out, catered almost exclusively to the New Philadelphia yuppie whites, had bought the entire building for a fraction of its value, and "promised" to turn it into a "maker space", the assumption being that we would all read this Silicon Valley lingo as a gross good, to be brighteyed and cheerful at its mere whisper without applying any critical thinking to its meaning or impact.

There's thankfully been a lot of criticism of the whole project, but some of the reactions have been creepy. One retort said that the developer promised there would be "workshops" "about" "personal finance" and "affordable daycare," which I assume means that they will charge the already lower-income neighbors to listen to rich whites lecture on these subjects.

Here's a good essay, by a former teacher.

Beautiful Views and Repressed Critique: On Le Bok Fin
A few weeks back, I went with some friends to Le Bok Fin, a pop-up bar, located on top of a closed Philadelphia public school hosted by development company Scout Ltd. I was hesitant and skeptical, but told my wife that I would keep it to myself. After all, it was a close friend’s last night in town.

When we left the bar that night, I promised myself I would write about the experience, the project and my feelings about its significance.

I know that Le Bok Fin has been publicized by its developer as an opportunity for the community to explore their recently acquired space. Considering their press statements, photos, initial pop-up and yoga classes, the target community doesn’t seem to include those who attended the school or many of those who live in its immediate surroundings. This project is geared toward a different segment of Philadelphia’s population - younger, wealthier, newer, and whiter than the average citizen of this city.

So, it was no surprise that, on entering the building, the kitsch of going to a bar in a closed school was overwhelming to me, a teacher in another Philadelphia school built, like Bok, during the Works Progress Administration era. Photos from old yearbooks were cut out and hung on bulletin boards that lined the way to the elevator, appearing more decorative than historical. Chairs, lab tables, and stools from the school were used as the furniture for the rooftop bar. I overheard comments about how cool the furniture was. On Instagram, posters even asked where they could buy similar chairs. It didn’t feel like a tribute or reuse to me; it felt more like exploitation.

Reminders of “the good old days” can be pleasing, but only if we conveniently forget the current reality for a large number of Philadelphia’s students; our schools can’t afford adequate furniture, books, technology, or supplies, let alone the renovations necessary to make school buildings safe for students.

It’s sickening to work daily in a criminally understaffed, under-resourced and ignored “open” school, and then to see a “closed” school in my own neighborhood that has become the hippest place in the city. Philadelphia’s students are increasingly marginalized, but adults who can afford $6+ cans of beer are enjoying a beautiful view on top of a building that used to belong to those very students.

Since my visit, I’ve read many critiques and defenses of the project, from its developers, educators, and other Philadelphians. Most concerning to me is the blatant dismissal of any critique from developers and their supporters. The response comes back in various shades of, “Well, they’re (we’re) doing something with the building”. This strikes me as an exceptionally low bar for a developer like Lindsey Scannapieco with significant prestige and financial backing from her father (initially listed as the buyer of this property) and others. Judging by the initial reception, there is promise of significant profit from this formerly public building. Yet honest critique is dismissed, ignored, and pushed aside.

Considering the absolute steal of a purchase price, Bok’s legacy of providing concrete job skills for Philadelphia’s young men and women, and the dire need of Philadelphia’s schools, its developers should take an active role in creating a positive and inclusive project beyond vague promises of “affordable space” and a partnership with StoryCorps (which carries an NPR affiliation attractive to their target audience). Hosting an event that honestly explores the legacy of this building and its closure would be a start. Scout should actively work to engage the consistently marginalized residents of their immediate surroundings, including youth, people of color and recent immigrants. There is a possibility of this project being used to empower and unite, rather than to divide and displace. Responsibility for this lies on the developers, who possess power.

The future of our city is always at stake. If Le Bok Fin is any indication, it belongs to those who have time and money to focus their energy on surfing Yelp for the best new place to spend their leisure time. The problem here is not overtly bad or evil intentions. The problem is that we applaud developers who rush in to rebuild and repurpose without considering who is being forgotten in the sparkling future they envision. And we help them by posting uncritically on Instagram and encouraging our friends to visit. The image of young Philadelphians toasting the promise of our beautiful city while perched on the roof of one of the city’s many closed schools is disturbing.

While I appreciate drinking craft beer in a spectacular setting as much as the next guy in my demographic (white, bearded, late-20s, South Philadelphian),I won’t be back to Le Bok Fin. I feel it too much. It brings the divided reality of Philadelphia into stark relief for me. If my feelings make me an SJW (a derisive term for “Social Justice Warrior” that I came across in preparing for this piece), so be it. But I’m going to let myself feel it, and I wish more people would.
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Re: The War On Teachers

Postby divideandconquer » Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:03 pm

I would add war on children:

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