Friday, November 27, 2009

Educational Wrecking Crew

Tom Frank's book, *The Wrecking Crew*
<>explains how the
Bush administration destroyed effective government and
damaged our social fabric and our economy. The Obama administration has
chosen to reward two of the worst leaders of Bush's crew -- Geithner and
Bernanke -- with promotion and reappointment. Embracing the Wrecking Crew's
most destructive members has further damaged the economy and caused
increasing political and moral injury to the administration. . . .

The same could be said for Obama's education plan, which picked up right
where BushCo. left off, just before the final assault on public schools and
teaching, one of few remaining career choices with benefits, retirement
plans, and the potential to leave the planet's people a bit better off. In
fact, the corporatization of education has accelerated with the installation
of Obama and Duncan as the Oligarchs' choice to continue the pillaging of
America's educational institutions by corporate interests.

The Race to the Cliff provides almost $5 billion in taxpayer money for
bribes that have been set aside to "incent" the crushing of collective
bargaining laws, create charter laws where are none, install permanent data
surveillance systems in every state, mandate pay-per-score teacher pay
plans, and turn over urban schooling to corporate franchises that are
modeled after the KIPP chain gang cults that so effectively segregate and
brainwash the poor and dark-skinned.

Feedback on the parameters for Arne's Big Bribe bucks has been harsh, so
much so that the Dunc has backed off on the ramming down of the charter
option to the exclusion of attempts to fix, rather than replace or shut down
low performing schools. This is from the Final Rules on RTTT:

The Department made three noteworthy changes to the selection criteria on
turning around the persistently lowest-achieving schools. First, this notice
removes the restriction, proposed in the NPP, that permitted the
‘‘transformation’’ model to be used solely as a last resort. Instead, we
simply specify that an LEA with more than nine persistently lowest-achieving
schools may not use the transformation model for more than 50 percent of its
schools (p. 59691).

This would mean, presumably, that a system with fewer than nine
low-achieving schools could use the transformation model to "fix" all of
them, and thus avoid the draining away of public money by the corporate
charter welfare solution being jammed down by the oligarchs, Broad and
Gates. There are other changes worth noting. My bolds and italics:

Third, the public comments suggested that there was confusion about the role
of charter schools in the Department’s reform agenda. Some commenters
concluded that by placing the charter school criterion in the school
turnaround section, the Department was advancing charter schools as the
chief remedy for addressing the needs of the persistently lowest-achieving
schools. While the Department believes that charter schools can be strong
partners in school turnaround work, it does not believe that charter schools
are the only or preferred solution to turning around struggling schools. In
fact, it is the Department’s belief that turning around the persistently
lowest-achieving schools is a core competency that every district needs to
develop, and that closing bad schools and opening good ones is the job of
school district leaders. Notwithstanding research showing that charter
schools on average perform similarly to traditional public schools, a
growing body of evidence suggests that high-quality charter schools can be
powerful forces for increasing student achievement, closing achievement
gaps, and spurring educational innovation (59691).. . . .

This last remark continues to ignore the only peer-reviewed national study
on charters<>,
the one published by CREDO at Stanford earlier this year, which shows that
bad charters outnumber good ones by a margin of 2 to 1. Thirty-seven percent
of charters score below the public schools, while only 17 percent score
better. In 42 percent of the nation's charters, there is no significant
difference in scores. Is this what Duncan's dopes mean by "perform

The Black Swans?
And the high quality charters? The real high flyers are the KIPP dropout
factories, where the total compliance boot camp system and the psychological
brainwashing scatter as many as 50-60 percent of enrollees between 5th and
8th grade<>--not
to mention record attrition rates among teachers that no public system could

These are the black swans that are displayed for those looking for the
solution to urban poverty without doing anything to end poverty. Click on
the slide above to see what former hedge fund investor exec, Whitney Tilson,
is pumping onto the Web<>,
as noted in previous post by Ken Libby. The KIPP dropout factories have
become the sustaining illusion and delusion for the positive psychology
hypesters like Broad and Gates and the glassy-eyed drones of Martin
Seligman, whose entire urban reform system is built on a house of cards that
continues to ignore the grinding poverty that sustains the achievement gaps
for the bottom quartile of American children whom we have deemed disposable,
all the while turning over their containment and permanent segregation, er,
education to the corporate plunderers and leeches who are destroying our

Priscilla Gutierrez
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