Friday, December 23, 2011

Cost of Testing

It costs California $53.6 million to administer the STAR test in grades 2-11.
Just a simple fact worth knowing!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teens need to sleep in, schools should follow

School shouldn't start so early!!!!!!!
Another one of my commentary style posts...

I recall as a teen HATING high school for quite a few reasons, the thing that seemed to bind it all together? Waking up before the sun. Our school began at 7:00am and to get there was a 20 minute bus ride. That meant leaving home no later than 6:30am, which was better than some of my peers in the father reaches of the district, walking up to two miles to a bus stop with a pickup time of 5:50am! In the snow! Yes, it sounds like one of those "back in my day, I had to hike up a hill, barefoot, in the snow, both ways" stories, but it is truth. I would get up at 6:00am, perhaps the latest of any of my peers I knew, hop in clothing I'd chosen the night before, brush hair and teeth, eat some cereal, and off I went. I dreaded my alarm daily, more than I even dreaded algebra class. If I got up a few minutes early, I'd lay there nervously counting down the minutes. I KNEW something had to be WRONG making teens get up this early. To add to it, I tried to go to bed early but I just couldn't. Add sports for some or drama, esp. "hell week" or performance week for me, and I could be at school until 10pm, midnight, even 2am. I only fell asleep in class once, first period AP French IV as my teacher grabbed a yardstick and slapped it down at 1,000 mph a nanometer from my face. I woke up.

Okay, on to the story and my commentary again.
From we have,

Except for a handful of forward-thinking school districts, the continuing resistance to starting high school later to accommodate the biological time clocks of teenagers speaks to the attitudes of the adults in charge of our children. How can it be that despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation in teenagers is every bit the public health menace that cigarette smoking is, school administrators have abided the status quo?Sleep researchers have convincingly demonstrated that, on average, teenagers need nine hours of sleep and that their brains are programmed for them to stay up later than adults. Sleep researchers have also convincingly demonstrated that, on average, adults need eight hours of sleep. Not getting enough sleep is as pervasive in today's culture as was consuming two or three packs per day of Lucky Strikes in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. In reaction to a July 2010 Wall Street Journal article reporting the salutary effects of starting first period later at a Rhode Island prep school, several commenters decried what they termed the coddling of a generation and giving in to spoiled brats' laziness -- precisely how depression was depicted four decades ago -- rather than responding to a biological imperative. School boards and superintendents, whose reputation and ranking depend on how many advanced-placement tests their students pass, have not come to grips with the toll that sleep deprivation takes on the developing adolescent brain. Sleep is essential for sustained focus, concentration, and attention, the brain circuitry of which is the same in children and adolescents as it is in adults. The prefrontal cortex, center of complex reasoning, signals the striatum, a deeper brain structure which modulates activity and attention to novel stimuli, which connects to an even deeper area called the thalamus, which relays sensory input from the body and regulates alertness and sleep. Sustained attention requires that these three brain structures, known as the CST system, cooperate, a function of the brain neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Sleep deprivation not only reduces CST function, it alters CST norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Amphetamines, the mainstay of treatment for inattention, stimulate CST circuitry artificially by either mimicking dopamine at nerve cell endings or stimulating dopamine's release. However, clinical experience shows that amphetamines interfere with sleep and in excess act like cocaine, which can overexcite nerve cells to the point they self-destruct. Prolonged amphetamine abuse can produce a syndrome that looks like schizophrenia.Clinically, every psychiatric disorder I treat in adolescents is worsened by getting too little sleep. Well over half the teenagers who come to me with attention symptoms are sleep deprived. While CST malfunction is not caused by sleep deprivation alone, and amphetamines have a role in medicine's pharmacopeia, my experience is that medicating the inattentiveness and cognitive impairment of sleep-deprived youngsters with amphetamines -- teenagers today bum Adderall from each other like cigarettes -- is like trying to paralyze the tail that wags the dog, or like treating a smoker's hacking with codeine-containing cough suppressants while failing to address the lung disease.What's at issue here is an attitude change with respect to sleep behavior. Change is hard. Change requires self-reflection; there is no way around it. Facing sleep deprivation head-on means that the adults in charge of our teenagers acknowledge and deal with their own sleeping habits, including maladaptive sleep behaviors like the widespread use and abuse of sleeping pills and alcohol at bedtime; like stimulant and caffeine dependence and abuse during the day; like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea and the toll snoring takes on sleep-partners and relationships; like arguing at bedtime, as well as a host of unattended mental and physical disorders -- depression, obesity and diabetes for instance -- that disrupt sleep patterns. Years ago, senior physicians rationalized the hundred-plus hour work weeks they demanded of their bleary-eyed trainees saying, "Four hours of sleep were good enough for me." Now that we know how many preventable mistakes were caused by secondhand sleep deprivation, medical trainee's work-weeks have been scaled back to no more than eighty hours. I am not advocating we lower academic standards; far from it. However, as a physician who cares deeply about the health and welfare of teenagers, I feel it is essential we give adolescents the opportunity to get the sleep needed for optimal brain function. These are the facts: well-rested adolescents significantly outperform their sleep-deprived counterparts academically; their moods are better; their graduation rates are higher; they watch less television; they do more homework; and they are involved in fewer car crashes. High school should start at 8:45 a.m., or better at 9 o'clock. The successful grassroots campaign of Wilton, Connecticut's League of Women voters, which moved their high school start time 50 minutes later, proves that logistical complications like busing schedules and after school activities, often cited as obstacles to change, can be overcome when the community is involved and motivated. It's only a matter of time until the family of someone killed when a teenager falls asleep at the wheel brings action for reckless endangerment. School board members and superintendents need to wake up now, before they receive the subpoena.
I am trying to find out, why do we have schools that start so early, with so much evidence against i? I've heard a few reasons....
1) A leftover practice from an agrarian lifestyle
2) To allow students to go to school and have a job
3) To accomodate busing
4) It prepares them for the work world.
Regardless, it is sleep deprivation, psychological warfare on our children. I bet if we had a mandatory later start time, test scores would improve as would graduation rates. Those who really do need to go to school and work, always would have the option of independent study or online education.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prussian Education Very American

(Ok...I'm mostly copy/pasting, with citation at the end, as I'm too busy to write this myself and it was basically what I would have written myself.... But I give my usual snippets of commentary. Here goes.)

Prussian Education
The Prussian (German) Educational System With acknowledgement to Dulce decorum who originally posted this. The Prussian (German) Educational SystemAfter the defeat of the Prussians (Germans) by Napoleon at the battle of Jena in 1806, it was decided that the reason why the battle was lost was that the Prussian soldiers were thinking for themselves on the battlefield instead of following orders.
The whole argument for socialization in schools (i.e. "homeschooled children will be misfits in society" or the notion that private school educates you to be independent - who wants that? Public school is for the good of all, it prepares citizens, able to interact in the adult world....) and public schools is evident now as it was then. Who wants the "chaos" of a nation of free thinkers? Egads, I mean, imagine an environment of englightenment, freedom, etc? For a utopian society to best work (in the eyes of the elite status quo) it is much easier to just "manage" the population, make them worship and obey you, than anything else. Blind idolatry.
The Prussian philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), described by many as a philosopher and a transcendental idealist, wrote "Addresses to the German Nation" between 1807 and 1808, which promoted the state as a necessary instrument of social and moral progress. He taught at the University of Berlin from 1810 to his death in 1814. His concept of the state and of the ultimate moral nature of society directly influenced both Von Schelling and Hegel, who took an similarly idealistic view.Using the basic philosophy prescribing the "duties of the state", combined with John Locke's view (1690) that "children are a blank slate" and lessons from Rousseau on how to "write on the slate", Prussia established a three-tiered educational system that was considered "scientific" in nature. Work began in 1807 and the system was in place by 1819. An important part of the Prussian system was that it defined for the child what was to be learned, what was to be thought about, how long to think about it and when a child was to think of something else. Basically, it was a system of thought control, and it established a penchant in the psyche of the German elite that would later manifest itself into what we now refer to as mind control.The educational system was divided into three groups. The elite of Prussian society were seen as comprising .5% of the society. Approximately 5.5% of the remaining children were sent to what was called realschulen, where they were partially taught to think. The remaining 94% went to volkschulen, where they were to learn "harmony, obdience, freedom from stressful thinking and how to follow orders."
Look at the perfect bell curve, and then IQ tests and standardized testing pre-NCLB. Statisticians and status quo want people to perfectly fit into the ideal bell curve. (Even with NCLB, 100% proficient and above, there is a bell curve.) Granted the bell curve's upper eschelon is about 2% not 6% but, if you look at the extreme outliers of the bell curve (sorry, not in this image) the tippy top best is 0.1% or IQ above 145. The Prussians sought to get the best of the best, top 0.5% (so those with nearly an IQ of 145 and above) in the best of schools and "middle management" of 5.5% (IQ a bit above 130) in quite nice schools, leaving the droned masses in "regular" education. This sounds a bit like America today. Look at most of our leaders and politicians, where did they attend school? Where do their children attend school? Almost always, not the vokschulen /public school. That is because the public schools dumb down things, and teach subservience to those in power.
An important part of this new system was to break the link between reading and the young child, because a child who reads too well becomes knowledgable and independent from the system of instruction and is capable of finding out anything.
We do not allow internet or social media in many schools, or we only allow certain "screened" sites....controlling the flow of information. Also, most Americans cannot read above the 6th grade reading level, and just look at reading scores and proficiency - abyssmal. On purpose. Provide the Americans or Prussians or whomever with enough ability to read, feel proud of themselves, feel educated, but secretly disallow them to be profience readers. Make it so they cannot read Locke or Smith or anything intellectually stimulating, and please, do not allow them to ask questions or think for themselves, as that is a danger to those in power.
In order to have an efficient policy-making class and a sub-class beneath it, you've got to remove the power of most people to make anything out of available information.This was the plan. To keep most of the children in the general population from reading for the first six or seven years of their lives.Now, the Prussian system of reading was originally a system whereby whole sentences (and thus whole integrated concepts) were memorized, rather than whole words. In this three-tier system, they figured out a way to achieve the desired results. In the lowest category of the system, the volkschuelen, the method was to divide whole ideas (which simultaneously integrate whole disciplines - math, science, language, art, etc.) into subjects which hardly existed prior to that time. The subjects were further divided into units requiring periods of time during the day. With appropriate variation, no one would really know what was happening in the world.
Thus, we have today, in America, seperate subjects and discipline. You learn pre-ordained snippets of information for a specific amount of time then BZZZT! The bell sounds, you are done, move on to a new function, just like an assembly line production. No interdisciplinary lessons, where you find common themes, unity, higher level philosophies of the world, things left for the top few percentile. Just whitewashed, separated, dull facts doled out in prescribed manner and time. God forbid you make it interesting, ad that would spark curiosity and perhaps self directed learning. No no no.
It was inherently one of the most brilliant methods of knowledge suppression that had ever existed. They also replaced the alphabet system of teaching with the teaching of sounds. Hooked on phonics? Children could read without understanding what they were reading, or all the implications.In 1814, the first American, Edward Everett, goes to Prussian to get a PhD. He eventually becomes governor of Massachusetts. During the next 30 years or so, a whole line of American dignitaries came to Germany to earn degrees (a German invention). Horace Mann, instrumental in the development of educational systems in America, was among them. Those who earned degrees in Germany came back to the United States and staffed all of the major universities. In 1850, Massachusetts and New York utilize the system, as well as promote the concept that "the state is the father of children." Horace Mann's sister, Elizabeth Peabody (Peabody Foundation) saw to it that after the Civil War, the Prussian system (taught in the Northern states) was integrated into the conquered South between 1865 and 1918. Most of the "compulsory schooling" laws designed to implement the system were passed by 1900. By 1900, all the PhD's in the United States were trained in Prussia. This project also meant that one-room schoolhouses had to go, for it fostered independence. They were eventually wiped out.One of the reasons that the self-appointed elite brought back the Prussian system to the United States was to ensure a non-thinking work force to staff the growing industrial revolution.
Exactly. Not much commentary here, as I've blogged about these exact ideas previously.
In 1776, for example, about 85% of the citizens were reasonably educated and had independent livelihoods - they didn't need to work for anyone. By 1840, the ratio was still about 70%. The attitude of "learn and then strike out on your own" had to be broken. The Prussian system was an ideal way to do it.One of the prime importers of the German "educational" system into the United States was William T. Harris, from Saint Louis. He brought the German system in and set the purpose of the schools to alienate children from parental influence and that of religion. He preached this openly, and began creating "school staffing" programs that were immediately picked up by the new "teacher colleges", many of which were underwritten by the Rockefeller family, the Carnegies, the Whitney's and the Peabody family. The University of Chicago was underwritten by the Rockefellers.The bottom line is that we had a literate country in the United States before the importation of the German educational system, designed to "dumb down" the mass population. It was more literate that it is today. The textbooks of the time make so much allusion to history, philosophy, mathematics, science and politics that they are hard to follow today because of the way people are "taught to think."Align Left
Again, I've blogged about these ideas too but cannot stress them enough.
Now, part of this whole paradigm seems to originate from an idea presented in The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon (1627). The work described a "world research university" that scans the planet for babies and talent.
Eugenics, anyone?
The state then becomes invincible because it owned the university. It becomes impossible to revolt against the State because the State knows everything. A reflection of this principle can be seen today with the suppression of radical and practical technologies in order to preserve State control of life and prevent evolution and independence. The New Atlantis was widely read by German mystics in the 19th century. By 1840 in Prussia, there were a lot of "world research universities", in concept, all over the country. All of them drawing in talent and developiong it for the purposes of State power and stability. The Birth of Experimental Psychology in Germany By the middle of the 19th century, Germany had developed a new concept in the sciences which they termed "psycho-physics", which argued that people were in fact complex machines. It was the ultimate materialist extension of science that would parallel the mechanistic view of the universe already under way. This new view of people became more or less institutionalized in Germany, and by the 1870's the "field" of experimental psychology was born. The ultimate purpose of experimental psychology was to discover the nature of the human machine and how to program it.The main proponent of this new experimental psychology in Germany was Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who is today widely regarded as the "father" of that field. He is described by orthodoxy as having "freed the study of the mind from metaphysics and rational philosophy." Presumably in favor of irrational philosophy. Wundt obtained his PhD in medicine from the University of Heidelburg in 1856, and embarked on the study of sensory perception. His most famous work was "Contributions to the Theory of Sense Perception" , done between 1858 and 1862. It is described by orthodoxy as the first work of experimental psychology. In 1875, Wundt was appointed to a chair in philosophy at Leipzig, where he instituted a laboratory for the "systematic, experimental study of experience." Back then, the phase "get a life" was not in vogue, and evidently he didn't have much interpretable experience of his own.In 1873, he began a year-long writing project which resulted in "Principles of Physiological Psychology", which became a "classic" that was subsequently reprinted through six editions over the next 40 years, establishing psychology's claim to be an "independent science". Wundt also wrote on philosophical subjects such as logic and ethics, but as he did not subscribe to "rational philiosophy", his writings presumably yielded irrational interpretations of both areas. It is conceivable that his warped view of humanity and the universe contributed in some small way to the eventual Nazi penchant for experimenting on those they didn't like, producing for them an irrational experience they would never forget.
Yep, eugenics. And the psychology field's taking over of education, a form of mind and societal control and management.
American students of Wundt who returned to the United States between 1880 and 1910 became the heads of Psychological Departments at major universities, such as Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania, to name a few. Wundt trained James Cattell, who on his return to the United States trained over 300 PhD's in the Wundt world view. The system of "educational psychology" evolved from this. Funded by the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, the Wundtian system gains control over educational testing in the United States for soldiers of World War I.
These tests were the first "standardized tests", IQ based, in America. They're where our tests in schools "come from".
The "Educational System" Expands The wave of immigration which began in 1848, combined with the visibility of revolutions taking place all over Europe, helped foster uncertainty in the public mind. Laws requiring compulsory schooling were then legislated. It was all very Hegelian. We wouldn't want those little tykes to become reactionaries, would we? In 1890, Carnegie wrote a series of essays called The Gospel of Wrath, in which he claimed that the capitalistic free enterprise system was dead in the United States. It really was, since Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan, by then, owned the United States. It was about 1917 that a great "Red Scare" was instituted in the United States in order to set up a reactionary movement intended to get the public to accept the idea of compulsory schooling - Prussian compulsory schooling, of course.The implimentation of the German educational nightmare in the United States met some initial resistence. In Carnegie's home town of Gary, Indiana, the system was implemented between 1910 and 1916, mostly through the efforts of William Wirt, the school superintendent. It involved no academic endeavor whatsoever. It worked so well in supplying willing workers for the steel mills that it was decided by Carnegie to bring the system to New York City. In 1917, they initiated a program in New York in 12 schools, with the objective of enlarging the program to encompass 100 schools and eventually all the schools in New York. William Wirt came to supervise the transition.Unfortunately for Carnegie, the population of the 12 schools was predominently composed of Jewish immigrants, who innately recognized what was being done and the nature of the new "educational system". Three weeks of riots followed, and editorials in the New York Times were very critical of the plan. Over 200 Jewish school children were thrown in jail.
All I have to say here is, creepy.
The whole political structure of New York that had tried this scheme were then thrown out of office during the next election. A book describing this scenerio, The Great School Wars, was written by Diane Ravitch on the subject. Curiously, William Wirt was committed to an insane asylum around 1930, after going around making public speeches about his part in a large conspiracy to bring about a controlled state in the hands of certain people. He died two years later.In order to make sure that the independence of the one-room schoolhouse and the penchant for communities to hire their own independent teachers would cease, the Carnegie group instituted the concept of "teacher certification" - a process controlled by the teaching colleges under Carnegie and Rockefeller control. No one knew that the Communist revolutions were funded from the United States. The buildup of the Soviet Union, as well as that of Nazi Germany, would also be funded later from the United States in order to get a reactionary public to bend to the will of controlling political factions. It was a plan that worked well in the 1920's, and worked well again in the 1950's in the psychological creation of the "cold war", providing funding for the buildup of the military, industrial and pharmaceutical complex. The "non-thinking" American public never suspected a thing. Such a thing would have been "unbelievable."Because the United States was owned by wealthy businessmen, a synthetic free enterprise system was created and anti-trust laws were passed to prevent anyone else from gaining power. Everything that had already been consolidated was "grandfathered" out of the law.
The Corporate-governmental complex. Just now, OWS and the Tea Party movements are waking up to this, which has been in place for nearly a century.
It was a brilliant scheme, and it worked very well.Earlier in the century there were "school boards" in every town. Between 1932 and 1960, the number of school boards dropped from 140,000 to 30,000. Today there are about 15,000 - all controlled by extensions of the Carnegie-Rockefeller educational complex. In 1959, with the advent of the "sputnik" and the public realization that "another country was ahead of us", the embarassed educational system was forced to temporarily create a synthetic focus on science which produced a generation of scientists and technicians in order to resolve the apparent decifit in the public mind.In retrospect, in 1889 the U.S. Commissioner of Education assured a prominent railroad man, Collis Huntington, when he protested that the schools seemed to be over-educating (producing too many engineers and people who could think), that schools had been scientifically designed not to over-educate. It was a reference to the German system of education inculcated into the United States between 1806 and 1819.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

eugenics 2011

Wanted to thank wildswan for this link about the new name for the American Eugenics Society, and supposed members. I plan at some point to research the members.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ludicrous: Fed Ed is necessary?

From HuffPo, my response and commentary are in regular text, the article in italics.

Shifting power from the federal to state governments isn't the solution to education reform in America. It's a bad idea and it will only make a quality K-12 public school education for all children an unreachable ideal.Steve Jobs attended public schools in a poor California neighborhood. He had the good sense -- at a tender young age -- to demand that his adoptive parents move him to a better school by threatening to drop out.
Well, the problem here is with ESEA (1965) which really got the ball rolling on the federal control o education (all under the kind guise of the war on poverty). With Fed. Ed and ESEA, equal funding "supposedly" is given to schools. This is aided by having school boundaries so that a certain neighborhood attends a certain school, unless of course they are de-segregated schools that bus minorities to caucasian-majority schools and the like...but even then, the students do not have say in where to attend school. The only way to attend a school that best fits your needs is to a)move b)attend a charter or c) private school.

Imagine that: Jobs could have been a middle school drop out!
I can understand this argument, but, he could have been home-schooled, many successful icons were compulsory school or college drop outs. There is a difference (sadly) between education and schooling.

Steve was lucky they complied, as are legions of Apple fans. Many children are not so lucky, however.

Ahem. Back to my point that schools should have fluid borders, but gasp, the educational/institutional complex (inc. unions) want nothing of that.

And things could get much worse for them if presidential candidates promising to "turn out the lights" at the Department of Education get their wish. We all know that there is much wrong with public education in America and want to fix it. But getting the federal government out of the business of education is a bad idea.
Because Government has such a great track record...(sarcasm)

Quality schools provide a pathway to jobs, opportunities, and success. America's beleaguered public schools place many children at a competitive disadvantage relative to children with better schooling alternatives.
Exactly, our public schools are "beleaguered". I'm not against public schools necessarily, but against how they are run. The reason we have these lackluster schools is, well, a complex web of issues, but binding children by geography, to a school that perpetuates a broken system, is plain wrong. However, I do not think the author shares my perspective in this sentence.

Voters that depend on public schools should know that shifting complete authority for public education and school financing to the states is a terrible solution for black and brown children, disabled children, children of the poor, the struggling middle class, and the Occupiers all across the nation protesting the growing wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots.
And how? Why? Our educational system has not vastly improved since ESEA. The achievement gap between rich and poor, minority and not, is not disappearing. Reagan's A Nation At Risk blatantly pointed out that, hello, there is a disparaging difference among educational quality and attainment across the nation. NCLB, and now Race To The Top, yet again addresses this issue. If what we are doing, and have been doing for quite some time, was effective, we'd see it by now. But we keep doing the same thing. Garbage in, garbage out. Doing the same thing many times and expecting different results is insanity. And how is shifting education, making it more local, bad for disadvantaged students? What does DC know about the complex demographics of California? Of my small town?

Republican presidential candidates want to shift control of public education from Washington to Albany, Austin, Tallahassee, Topeka, Harrisburg, Hartford, Madison, Montgomery and other state capitals across America. Newt Gingrich wants to weaken Washington's role in public schools by limiting its power to gathering education-related statistics.
With ideas bouncing around of collecting data ( on things like age of mother at child's birth, birthmarks, condition of gums and teeth etc...I say, go Newt- strangers need not know those things about my amily, and besides, what good would they be in education? Maybe we will get more testing subgroups. Special Ed, Black, Hispanic, Gum Disease, Premature, Wine Stain Birthmark, etc.

Mitt Romney, a former defender of No Child Left Behind, now wants "to get the federal government out of education." Michele Bachmann promises to shut down the Department of Education if she's elected. And Rick Perry not only decries federal expansion into public schooling, he deems it unconstitutional and counter to the value of local control.Other Republicans, some Democrats, and many education reformers don't want to get the feds completely out of education. They want the federal government to support the creation of semi-private alternatives to traditional public schools, such as charter schools, and to support greater school choice. These pro-charter and pro-school choice reforms have gone hand-in-hand with rallying against teacher unions, teacher tenure, and calling for greater accountability of school districts receiving federal education funds.
While I disagree with some of the direction of the accountability movement, and am leary of corporations running schools, we do need more accountability. Education should be about the children, about education, and about improvement. No one can argue against that, right? And PLEASE someone, explain the "evils" behind school choice? I see it as pro-student, pro-education. I do not see it as anti-teacher. If the reactionary cry of "public education will end" is true, and with that, the fear of loss of a job, umm.....go work at the replacement school. If the free market economy dictates things properly, experienced, knowledgeable, skillfull, accountable teachers will be desired if not demanded. Voila. A job. If you are a teacher no one wants, then perhaps you are in the wrong career field. And worker's rights will still exist thanks to unions, because of worker's rights. And perhaps the workers will create their own unions, too.

Distrust of Washington has been a primary motivation for those seeking to get the feds out of education. But it's unclear why we should entrust state governments with greater authority over public education and school financing, especially when not all that long ago a sitting president had to deploy federal troops to escort children into state-enforced racially segregated schools.
True. But we as a society have come a long way and would not tolerate this. If a faction of society did, the only way you'd be "stuck" with this is if the author and like minds get their way and rid of school choice. With school choice, charter etc, you could escape segregation!

The Republican candidates will object that this is "ancient" history, and that America is now a post-racial society (for God's sake we have a black man and his family in the White House, and until recently another black man running to take his place). They will say that we have no reason to fear that states will use their new powers to return America to racial apartheid or to violate fundamental constitutional rights.
Well if we had a top-notch education in the first place, ignorance would not run rampant and people would hold enough intellect to ensure this did not occur. They'd know the laws to ensure this did not occur. Through education comes liberty, peace, tolerance.

They will say that the real problem is that the federal government is just too damn expensive, and since education is such a big drain on the federal budget (around $68 billion to be exact) it's an obvious place to cut wasteful government spending. So shifting educational authority to state governments is not about wanting to return America to a bygone era of subjecting racial minorities to the tyranny of states hell-bent on forcibly segregating them into undesirable communities with lower quality schools.
Again, school choice. That's all I have to say here.

It's simply about basic economics -- making the federal government less expensive and alleviating the burden on taxpayers struggling to make ends meet.If economics is the main motivation, it is obvious that shifting authority over education from federal to state government is the worst thing that can happen to the millions of American families struggling to find decent jobs, pay their bills, and provide their children with a quality public education. The same economic pressures that are driving Tea Partiers, Anti-Federalists, and fiscally conservative Republicans and Democrats to advocate cutting the federal education budget are also impacting state governments and forcing them to make deep cuts to public education.

It is debatable if money = educational quality, standardized test achievement and graduation rates have not correlated well with the rise in educational spending. I do not advocate cutting teacher jobs and the like, but throwing money at a broken system fixes nothing.

As a result, public schools are increasingly relying upon charity and corporate sponsors for school funding. Who knows? We may not be far from the day where we see McDonalds, Viagra, Cialis, Nike, Apple and other corporate ads and logos in classrooms and school gymnasiums.

I can agree, actually. I don't want to see this happen, but they already run behind the scenes, controlling our lunch programs, curriculum, and assessments.

Lucky families and families with economic resources can take advantage of better alternatives such as private or charter schools or public schools in affluent neighborhoods like the one the Jobs family moved to.
There goes the tired myth that only rich kids or luck kids go to charters and vouchers because they pick the cream of the crop. Sadly, yes, some states follow this practice and tell me how, and I'll rally against it. However, it is illegal in California. Everyone can attend a charter (if there is room) no matter what.
But many everyday American families -- short on luck, bailout money, and still waiting for Superman to rescue them -- can't afford these costlier options. So their unlucky kids will be at a serious disadvantage in the competition for jobs and opportunities to kids from well-resourced families that can afford to buy better schooling, or poorer kids that are lucky enough to gain entry into quality charter schools with limited slots (and not be tracked into remedial or special education slots but that's another article).Putting a quality public school education beyond the reach of some children is unfair and shameful. All parents -- including those that are unlucky or can't afford private school or a house in a quality public school district -- should be able to tell their kids that they can be the next Steve Jobs if only they go to school and make good grades. Cutting the feds out of education, and shifting authority to the states, will only expedite the process of establishing a two track public education system in America: one for haves and the lucky, and one for have-nots and the unlucky.As we look ahead to MLK celebrations, and the ten year anniversary of No Child Left Behind next month, and as we prepare for the 2012 presidential election -- where fair equality of opportunity will be the single most important issue if the 99% continue to raise their voices -- we must figure out how the federal government can work together with the states to provide equal educational opportunity so that all children have a fair shot at being America's next Steve Jobs, and so that all children have equal access to the opportunities afforded by a quality K-12 public education.
Yes. So let's improve, completely transform, our educational system from the top down.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I wrote this....visit it! it is about "transitional kindergarten". On that site, search around as I have another article about it. I could write a bunch on it and how it...has some bad parts. See? I have kind of been "with it" in the education world. I'm also working on an article for this blog on standardized testing but....I'm on self imposed sabattical, I've given up on it for the moment.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I've not blogged much, what with holidays, family visiting, a family full of sick, cold-ridden sinusitus cases, home repairs and the like. So this blog is not "dead' just on "vacation". Stay tuned, read old posts, and don't disappear!