Horrifying …

I’m sure most of my former students will tell you I was too strict and gave too much homework, but the chapter I hope you read on apparent abuses by a KIPP CEO at a school in California is absolutely horrifying. It was posted at Steven Krashen’s blog, Schools Matter.

Or click on this link:

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2016/03/the-green-whitewash-of-no-excuses-part-2.html

Why do we need charter schools?

Peter Greene, the Curmudgucator, hits the nail right on the head about why charter schools are necessary.

(Hint: it’s not for making schools better!)

A quote:

So, really– what do we need charters for?

Improvements in quality, choice, innovation, instruction, programs– all of it can be accomplished in a public school system. All of these ideas for improving education could be applied to public schools, which would have the additional advantage of bringing the improvements to ALL students instead of a small group.

Of course, part of the challenge would be that changes and reforms would have to be discussed, debated and deployed publicly. A person who wanted, say, to subject non-wealthy non-white students to boot camp style No Excuses education would have to convince the taxpayers that it was a good idea. It’s possible that only charters can provide an opportunity for one driven visionary to impose his or her ideas on a school without being answerable to anyone. But that would be less like a democratic institution and more like a small-scale dictatorship. It’s not a very admirable goal– and anyway, the invention of mayoral control has once again made it possible to establish small scholastic dictatorships without resorting to charters. This, too, we can accomplish without charter schools.

There isn’t anything on this list of goals that we actually need charter skills to accomplish.

Is there any other goal I’m forgetting to– oh, wait a minute.

Redirecting Tax Dollars

Charter schools do accomplish one goal that can’t be achieved by public schools– they manage to redirect public tax dollars into the pockets of private corporations, charter operating companies, corporate shareholders, and guys who just figured they’d make some money in the charter biz.

(my emphasis – gfb)

Hearings address surplus of STEM workers in USA

There are official Senate hearings going on right now on the ways that large multinational corporations like Disney are firing relatively well-paid American tech workers and replacing them with workers overseas at much lower rates of compensation. In some cases they use a special visa program designed to hire foreign tech workers if there are no American workers available.

But anybody who claims – as do the heads of Microsoft and ALCOA – that there is a lack of highly-skilled American workers is simply lying. There are lots of highly-trained US STEM grads who cannot find jobs in the fields they were trained in.

Partly that’s because such American STEM grads expect to get paid a living American wage, with benefits and that’s not something that large multinational corporations are fond of paying for any more, except for a privileged few at the very top (like CEOs who make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year…).

Here is a quote from the Science magazine article:

At the hearing, titled “The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers,” subcommittee chair Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) kept the discussion focused on the moves by a number of U.S. companies to replace long-serving American workers with workers on H-1B skilled guest worker visas and to force the laid-off Americans to train their replacements. As Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained, “Congress intended the H-1B program to allow an employer to hire a skilled foreign worker in a specialized occupation when the employer could not find an American worker with needed skills and abilities,” and for many years the debate has focused on employers’ claims of a STEM skills shortage. But, Sessions said, “the sad reality is that not only is there not a shortage of exceptionally qualified U.S. workers, but across the country thousands of U.S. workers are being replaced by foreign labor.” As H-1B expert Ron Hira of Howard University in Washington, D.C., testified, “over the past year, in addition to the Southern California Edison case, a number of other cases—including Disney, Northeast Utilities, the Fossil Group, Catalina Marketing, New York Life, Hertz, Toys R Us, and I could keep going on—were highlighted by the press. But these were only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There are many more cases out there.” Testimony by labor force expert Hal Salzman of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in New Jersey added that “all evidence and events suggest [that] the substitution of guest workers for U.S. workers is accelerating.”

Jersey Jazzman Examines the ‘Myth of the Heroic Charter School’ — New Jersey Style

As you know, certain charter chains keep claiming that nothing needs to be done about poverty in America.

All that needs to be done to get rid of the ‘achievement gap’ is to get rid of unionized, veteran teachers; hire inexperienced, untrained teachers; and require them to follow a script, have ‘high expectations’, maintain tight discipline. Then, the scores will go through the roof.

Jersey Jazzman has actually taken the time to look into this, and has lovely graphs and tables backing up his words showing that it’s really a load of cow manure. The graphs should be read deciphered by all.

Pay particular attention to the graph that shows that on one Big Standardized (BS) test (where a particular charter chain scored quite high), the vast majority of the public-school students they were compared to, didn’t even bother taking the test, because they knew it didn’t matter to their futures in any way at all and was a big PITA.

Here is the link.

Shortage of US STEM workers? High-Tech Companies Think Otherwise

In fact,

“Although employers often claim in public statements that shortages of domestic talent prevent them from finding workers, they tell a different story in filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Salzman noted. “Accenture states that restrictions on guest worker supply would result in ‘new or higher minimum salary requirements and increased costs.’ Another firm says they would have to ‘replace existing offshore resources with local resources, namely U.S. workers, at higher wages.’ That is, without the congressional discount for guest workers, the highly profitable IT industry would have to hire more U.S. workers and pay them more than guest workers.”

Read this article in the prestigious magazine Science:

http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/03/displaced-american-stem-workers-spur-senate-hearing?utm_campaign=email-news-latest&et_rid=17050347&et_cid=316517

Published in: on March 5, 2016 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Is Math Necessary?

This is worth reading. It’s a fact that we do NOT have a shortage of trained STEM grads, and it’s also true that very, very few people will ever use any concepts from advanced math in their work or in their day to day lives.
 
(As a former math teacher, I rejoice when I find a way to use relatively advanced math, eg algebra 2 or above, in the real world – which shows you that it doesn’t happen every day, even for someone who’s actively looking for it.)
 
So why do we require every single HS grad to master whatever the current Algebra 2 curriculum consists of?
via Mike Simpson  (remove)
In his new book The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, political scientist Andrew Hacker proposes replacing algebra II and calculus in the high schoo …
SLATE.COM
Published in: on March 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Benghazi-Libya-Ghaddafi-Clinton

In the wake of the steady Republican clamor for pillorying Hillary Clinton over an attack that left four US diplomats dead, we often forget that without American intervention in Libya on the side of anti-Ghaddafi rebels in the first place, Libya probably would not have become the failed state that it is.

Interesting NYT article on just how Clinton got persuaded that intervening in Libya was going to be a great idea, and how she then persuaded the initially skeptical Obama administration as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-libya.html?emc=edit_th_20160228&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68929936&_r=0

Published in: on February 28, 2016 at 4:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Terrorists in America…

Extermination of the North American Indians was genocide.

Maintaining slavery in the US meant practicing terrorism on a very wide scale.

The Ku Klux Klan practiced terrorism with much local government support (and lack of opposition from the federal government, most of the time) from the collapse of Reconstruction until the mid-1960s.

I think it’s important to remember history. Please read this article:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery

Published in: on February 28, 2016 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  

On Guns And Terrorism in America

Terrorism has a long history in America.

I’ve owned guns since I was a little kid, and have shot targets and hunted deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds from time to time since I was in my 20s. But I am alarmed at the frankly fascist, insurrectionist threats coming from right-wing, openly racist militias all over this country.

This is from an acquaintance of mine, Ron Carver: He starts by discussing the violent, racist reaction to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Armed Klansmen burned 50 African-American churches and kidnapped and killed three civil rights activists in an infamous attack that became a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. During the search for Andrew Goodman, James Cheney, and Michael Schwerner, Lyndon Johnson sent Navy sailors to scour Neshoba County’s riverbeds. They didn’t find them, but they uncovered the corpses of dozens(* note) of African American men. It was a time and place where any crime was tolerated if it preserved the segregationists’ “way of life.”

In the previous hundred years, thousands of African Americans had been lynched, as documented in scores of gruesome photos that were proudly sold as souvenirs.

It is no surprise to me, then, to learn that James Madison’s reason for proposing the Second Amendment in 1789 was to preserve the state militias, the white population’s “principal instrument of slave control.” As documented in The Hidden History of the Second Amendment, an article published in 1998 in the University of California, Davis Law Review, these militias (often called “slave patrols”) were tasked with periodic sweeps of plantations to seek runaway slaves and intimidate any who dreamed of freedom.

Today, the proliferation of armed hate groups, which sometimes call themselves militias, is at least as dangerous as isolated, unbalanced, and gun-toting men with scores to settle. The number of anti-government so-called Patriot groups, such as armed militias, grew by 755 percent in the first three years of President Barack Obama’s first term, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The number of these groups rose from 149 at the end of 2008 to 1,274 in 2011, the SPLC reports.

Hate groups have expanded into every state but Hawaii. They are in everyone’s backyard.

The atmosphere today is toxic. Radio talk jocks promote armed struggle and one security industry executive boasts on YouTube that he would “start shooting people” in response to new gun controls.

For more than a hundred years the NRA promoted sportsmanship and responsible gun ownership — period. But since extremists seized control in 1977, the organization has forced a stranglehold on Congress while promoting the myth that the Second Amendment was enacted to facilitate armed rebellion against our own government, should it become tyrannical.

I support the right to own guns, but we don’t need 30 rounds in a semi-automatic weapon — or a well-armed militia — to bag a deer. I draw the line when my fellow citizens turn their homes into armories and begin training for insurrection. We used to call that treason.

Ron Carver, a former Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) field organizer

————–

  • I read that it was eight, but that’s still 8 too many!
Published in: on February 28, 2016 at 4:30 am  Comments (1)  

Today’s Orwellian Classrooms

(Another old one that never made it out – from March 2014!)

Definitely a must-read for anybody who wants to understand the truly Orwellian and nightmarish nature of the crazy Catch-22, Through-the-looking-glass and frankly incredible schemes that are being forced upon our teachers and students.

The only criticism I have is that the writer seems to suggest this insanity is just limited to NJ. It’s not. It’s all over the USA as far as I can tell, thanks to the utterly misguided but very effective data-obsessed and insane efforts of the Gates and Walton foundations and their hand- picked and highly remunerated spokespersons.

Teacher: How New Jersey Is Trying to Break Its Teachers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 458 other followers

%d bloggers like this: