Sunday, November 29, 2009

Water deal requires a passage of bonds

A major water bill has been passed by the California  Legislature, led by local leader Darrell Steinberg.  It includes a 10.1 Billion water bond. We will vote on this bond proposal  in 2010.
Bonds are sold, and then  they must be repaid.  That is, in a future year, we will be paying billion for the bonds, plus interest.  This will repayment of debt will  come out of the budget before we pay for schools, health care, etc.

This water bill and the bond issue were crafted by Governor Schwarzenegger,  Senator Darrell Steinberg, and Speaker Karen Bass.
I see that major Republicans helped to pass this water bill; Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee and  Senator Denis Hollingsworth.  And, I recall that they voted against adequately funding the schools in the budget votes.  

So, I will vote against their  water bonds.
Now, Democrats too voted for this bill - including Steinberg.
They currently  have a 13 % approval rating by the public.
Although I voted for Steinberg,  he has not managed to lead during this state’s fiscal crisis.  Or, more precisely, he has tried to lead but failed to get the necessary votes of the governor and the Republicans.
  Well, we can play this game too.
Perhaps we should start a campaign;  If they will not support  quality education for the children, we  will not vote for their subsidized water.

No money for schools- no money for water bonds.

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Democrats join corporate America in attack on schools

Here we have it: The Democratic Leadership Council, corporate power, and the Broad Foundation joining hands to destroy public education. Bill Gates must have taken the day off. 

Don't dismiss this as right-wing propaganda typical of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. This trio is likely to be spewing their filth in the New York Times and the Washington Post any day soon. 

If you doubt that the Democratic Leadership Council had already destroyed every shred of integrity that once rested in the Democratic Party, then be sure to note what Harold Ford, Jr. is doing these days. And remember, no group was a stronger supporter of NCLB than the Democratic Leadership Council. Take a look at this page. Click on a few of the articles--if you have the stomach for it.
From Susan Ohanian.

Read the entire piece and the link to the Wall Street Journal editorial of today.

The Crisis of Jobs

Excellent, valuable video:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why California Students Do Not Understand Chicano/Latino History

  Why California Students Do Not Understand Chicano/Latino History.
Dr. Duane Campbell, BMED (emeritus) has been organizing testimony to change the History/Social Science Framework for California Schools.  The current Framework was written in 1987 and ignores Chicano/Latino history and Asian history. State Frameworks control the writing and the  selection of textbooks in California.  The Framework was scheduled to be revised in 1994, 2000, and 2007, but it was not.
This story is told in Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education, 2010,(Allyn And Bacon)   now in its 4th. edition by Duane Campbell with co-authored sections by a number of  faculty in BMED.  This  willful refusal to include Chicano/Latino and Asian history is a continuing  example of cultural imperialism.
Dr. Campbell will speak on the current status of the Framework, on California  textbook adoption , curriculum development, on multicultural education and the role of the university in challenging ideological hegemony.  Co authors of the book will be present to respond to questions. 
Monday, Nov. 30.  4 PM.  Hinde Auditorium,
Sponsored by the Joe and Isabel Hernandez-Serna Center.

Light refreshments will be served.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Responsible testing ?

GAO Study Shows Problematic Practices Like Teaching to the Test and Curriculum Narrowing Happening More Frequently in High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools

Washington, D.C. – A government study released earlier this week, originally requested by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, has found that problematic educational practices are occurring more frequently in some high-poverty and high-minority schools across the country. Feingold requested the report to examine teaching practices related to the No Child Left Behind education law. The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was the result of legislation Feingold successfully passed through the Senate in 2007 requiring the GAO to study the techniques being used to prepare students to meet state standards and achieve on state standardized tests. Feingold released the following statement after the report was issued:

“This report reaffirms my concern that the No Child Left Behind Law’s one-size-fits-all approach and heavy focus on high-stakes testing is causing problems in schools, particularly schools that serve our most disadvantaged students. The study found that problematic teaching practices like teaching to the test and spending more time on test preparation are happening more frequently in high-poverty and high-minority schools, many of which already have less access to high-quality teachers and resources than more affluent schools. While responsible testing is an important part of measuring achievement and holding schools accountable, it should not come at the expense of providing students a well-rounded education that prepares them for success later in life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Is it good for the kids?

Gene R. Carter, Executive Director of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ( which I have been a member of for over 30 years) says
"If policymakers made decisions by first asking, What works best for children?, they would redefine what a successful learner is and how we measure success. Parents know what they want for their children. A child who enters school in good health and feels safe and connected to her school is ready to learn. A student who has at least one adult in school who understands his social and emotional development is more likely to stay in school. Students who have access to challenging academic programs are better prepared for further education, work, and civic life. These components must work together. This should be the goal of everyone whose job is to create education policies and practices to adequately prepare our children for their futures.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered some sobering statistics on why reauthorization of ESEA cannot wait:

27 percent of America's young people drop out of high school.
Recent international tests in math and science show our students trail their peers in other countries.
Just 40 percent of young people earn a two-year or four-year college degree.
The U.S. now ranks 10th in the world in the rate of college completion for 25- to 34-year-olds.

Duncan urges us all to "roll up our sleeves and work together and get beyond differences of party, politics and philosophy." ASCD members agree that reform of our nation's education law cannot wait. We stand ready to do our part. We advocate for the federal government to play a leadership role in equity and access for disadvantaged and special-needs student populations, support the development and training of highly effective educators, promote effective education policies and services for every stage of a student's development, and promote innovative strategies and programs for 21st century students to be successful.

ASCD members across the United States deserve an answer from each of their elected officials to the following question: Where do you stand on education?"

Response by Duane Campbell
Well, Duncan is mostly correct.
The claim that recent tests reveal that U.S. students lag behind students in other countries is partially correct and partially distorted.
As Gerald Bracey points out in Education Hell: Rhetoric Vs. Reality , Transforming the Fire Consuming America's Schools. (2009)
If you remove the schools serving the lowest income 25% of U.S. students, then the remaining students perform as well or better than schools anywhere in the world.
Why remove this group? Because the U.S. has one of the highest poverty rates for children in the world and some of the weakest supports for using the schools to combat this poverty.
See other reviews of Arne Duncan's Race to the Top on this blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Right to a great public education; California

We've got to stop cutting public education. To ease the budget crisis, one state after another is taking an ax to higher education. This is cruel and shortsighted.
Cruel because it denies students the right to a decent education. Shortsighted because how will this generation of students get prepared to compete globally or even to clean up the financial mess brought about by Wall Street?
I'm a product of the worst and best public education California has to offer. I grew up in an East Los Angeles housing project in the 1970s and 1980s. I attended overcrowded public schools in the inner city. Like many racial minorities from America's barrios and ghettos, I received an inadequate education.
While I excelled in mathematics, I was never taught to read or write at a competent level throughout my K-12 schooling. To complicate matters, the longest paper assigned to me in high school was two pages long.
I taught myself how to properly read and write while going through college to compensate for my poorly funded K-12 education. But what will happen to those without this same self-drive that I learned from my Mexican immigrant mother? Fortunately, I also benefited from affirmative action and from numerous educational outreach programs and policies like Occident College's Upward Bound - a preparatory program for students from disadvantaged communities.
If not for such programs, I wouldn't have made it to UCLA as an undergraduate. I wouldn't have earned a master's degree in urban planning there. And I wouldn't be pursuing my doctorate at Berkeley.
So I worry about those who grow up in poor neighborhoods without the same educational safety nets that allowed for me to attend some of the best universities in this country. I can't help but be concerned about the plight of my wife's elementary school students in East Los Angeles today.
Those who fight affirmative action and against government-sponsored early educational outreach programs conveniently wash their hands of any responsibility toward those who lack the financial resources and access to human capital to go to college.
And fewer and fewer have those resources, with one state after another raising tuition and other fees. These fee hikes couldn't come at a worse time.
If we care about equality of opportunity, if we are concerned about our ability to compete in the global economy, it's time to give everyone, including those from America's barrios and ghettos, a shot at a great public education.
Alvaro Huerta is a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Readers may write to the author at: Progressive Media Project, 409 East Main Street, Madison, Wis. 53703; e-mail:; Web site: For information on PMP's funding, please visit
This article was prepared for The Progressive Media Project and is available to MCT subscribers.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crisis in the UC's

And, they even mention the CSUs

Why Are We Destroying Public Education?
University of California Students and Staff Prepare for
System-Wide Strike to Protest Cuts

Democracy Now - November 17, 2009

The governing body of the University of California
system, the Board of Regents, is preparing to vote on a
major tuition hike for both undergraduate and graduate
students. Undergraduate tuition would rise an average
32 percent, while some graduate schools would begin
charging thousands of dollars for programs that are
currently tuition-free. The Regents are meeting
Thursday at UCLA, where students from across the state
are converging for what organizers have dubbed a
"Crisis Fest," including mass protests, civil
disobedience and teach-ins.

The Crisis of Jobs

A Wake Up Call on Jobs

by Robert Kuttner
President Obama has announced a White House Jobs Summit for next month. At least that's the beginning of recognition that the unemployment rate is unacceptable. The measured rate is now 10.2 percent, but if you count people who have given up or who are involuntarily working part time, the real rate is over 17 percent.
This spells political catastrophe for Democrats in the 2010 mid-term election, as foreshadowed by the recent losses in the New Jersey and Virginia governors' races. But Obama's top economic advisers, such as Larry Summers, don't seem to get it. They continue to resist the idea of a second stimulus package.
"I think we got the Recovery Act right," Summers recently told the Washington Post'sAlec MacGillis, adding, "We always recognized that America's problems were not created in a week or a month or a year and that they were not going to be solved quickly. We designed the Recovery Act to ramp up over time, through 2010, and to make sure that the investments we made were important for the country's future."
And other senior Obama officials such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget Chief Peter Orszag are more concerned with cutting the deficit than spending more money to reduce joblessness. According to theWall Street Journal, Orszag is sympathetic to the idea of a commission to cap government spending and Emanuel is floating the idea of spending some of the money that has been repaid from TARP bank bailouts on deficit reduction.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arne Duncan and the Department of Education

The use of trumped-up numbers downplays the difficulty of the work Demmellash and other nonprofit leaders do -- and it downplays the stubbornness of problems like poverty, racial isolation, and lack of education. T

The Social Innovation Fund is not the only corner of the Obama administration to fall under the sway of venture--philanthropy vogue, sometimes to the detriment of good social science. Through the Department of Education's innovation funds, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is promoting a very specific image of school reform, one that borrows liberally from the venture philanthropists' goal of bringing free-market values to the public sector. The federal guidelines encourage states and schools to embrace specific "innovations," such as enacting merit pay for teachers and lifting laws that cap the number of charter schools. Though such policies may have tertiary benefits, there is no research consensus on whether either one contributes to the "bottom line" of education reform -- increased academic achievement for high-poverty kids.

A recent Stanford University study of charter schools in 16 states found that in math, only about 17 percent of charter schools increase student achievement over traditional public schools. The researchers described the results as "sobering." A competing study out of Stanford, by Hoover Institute Fellow Caroline Hoxby, found that students who win a lottery to attend a New York City charter school do much better on standardized tests than socioeconomically similar students who lose the lottery and return to traditional public schools. But New York's charters may be superior in quality exactly because state law allows only a few carefully selected organizations to manage charters. It is exactly such laws that the Department of Education claims stifle innovation.

Regardless of whether you believe the charter detractors or defenders, it's undeniable that the obsession with innovative charter schools is out of proportion to the reality that less than 5 percent of American kids attend such a school. "[Charters] should not distract us from the challenging, important, and unheralded task of making process improvements in the operation of traditional schools," writes Grover Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, in a gently mocking essay titled "Innovation, Motherhood, and Apple Pie."
In Denver, the site of one of the largest experiments in merit pay for teachers, a 2008 study from the University of Colorado found no evidence that the new compensation system helped students; rather, teachers who were already high-performing chose to opt in to merit pay, while those who were less successful opted out. Even among teachers who participated in merit pay, only 38 percent believed the program directly improved student test scores.
Critics contend the administration has ignored more difficult, yet proven school reforms, such as efforts to integrate schools, thus guaranteeing that fewer classrooms are overwhelmed by the challenges of poverty and racial isolation. Research by Cornell labor economist C. Kirabo Jackson found that when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in North Carolina ended a 30-year busing program and resegregated, the highest-performing teachers fled schools that became predominantly black and poor. Yet integration is seen as a pie-in-the-sky, old-school lefty goal by the venture-philanthropy crowd and has registered not at all on the Obama/Duncan agenda. It's not "innovative."
Another criticism is that even when innovative social programs are proven to work well, the Obama administration under-estimates the costs involved with scaling them up. The White House's single favorite nonprofit is probably the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoffrey Canada's effort to flood 97 blocks of New York City with educational, health, and economic resources -- including several charter schools. The president has asked Congress to set aside $10 million in the 2010 budget to replicate 20 such "promise neighborhoods" across the country. But that figure is considered laughable by most nonprofit experts. The Harlem Children's Zone has an annual budget of $70 million.
While the Social Innovation Fund and Department of Education grants are unlikely to result in systemic policy improvements, it would be a mistake to view the administration's social--innovation efforts in a vacuum. The same White House is pushing for a major overhaul of our health-care system. The $700 billion stimulus package is the greatest increase in federal spending since the Great Society.
In the end, the administration's social-innovation push may be most useful for its signaling effect. Both Obamas have appeared in front of the moneyed and influential to tell them they should invest in community nonprofits and care about inner-city schools and unemployment. Nevertheless, it's true that the Obamas' infatuation with social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy serves as a reminder of their aversion to a more robust, liberal, government-focused rhetoric. In this regard, they are, perhaps, more Clintonian than they'd like to admit.
The administration's concept of social innovation injects government into the philanthropic sector as a sort of tastemaker, hopefully influencing charities to advance progressive public policy ideas without the federal government having to spend too much more money. With the Republican congressional delegation in a full-on tax revolt, the strategy is arguably politically savvy, at least in the short term. But is it innovative? Not so much. There's nothing new about vilifying big government and asking a stretched-thin philanthropic sector to address a truly staggering landscape of human needs -- 10 percent unemployed, 47 million uninsured, only half of all black and Latino boys completing high school.
"Many of these social problems are of the scale that require the government to be involved," says Nee of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. "A lot of the nonprofit stuff is sort of ... nickel and dime."
From: The American Prospect.
DANA GOLDSTEIN | November 16, 2009

School life with "reformers"

'Feels Like My Heart Has Been Broken'
New and Veteran Teachers in D.C. Stunned By Their Dismissal, as Well as Handling of It
By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 8, 2009

A neat row of X's stretches down Eve McCarey's performance evaluation, showing that in category after category, she is someone who "exceeds expectations." With three years of experience as a special education teacher at Anacostia High School, she is hardworking, well-spoken and now unemployed.
McCarey seems to be the sort of teacher any hard-charging, reformist schools chancellor would want in a classroom. But despite layoff rules designed to help the system retain high-performing teachers, McCarey found herself out of a job Friday, along with other educators who range from idealistic Teach for America newcomers to a 32-year guidance counselor who is praised by parents as uncommonly effective.
"It just feels like my heart has been broken," said counselor Sheila Gill, 57, of McKinley Technology High School. "I have been trying to process all of what's going on. It happened so quickly and so suddenly."

Schwarzenegger signs Delta Death Warrant

Schwarzenegger Signs The Delta's Death Warrant 

by Dan Bacher

After an all night session, the California Legislature on November 4 passed a water package including an $11.1 billion bond that provides a clear path to the construction of the peripheral canal and more dams. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger then signed the bills that he described as "an historic legislative package to reform and rebuild California's water system" during a series of press conferences and highly choreographed photo opportunities over the past week. 

While Schwarzenegger and Darrell Steinberg lauded the package for being an “historic compromise,” Delta legislators, fishermen and Indian Tribes slammed the legislation for leading to the destruction of the Delta, its farms and its fish. 

"Water is the lifeblood of everything we do in California," said Schwarzenegger. "Without clean, reliable water, we cannot build, we cannot farm, we cannot grow and we cannot prosper. That is why I am so proud that the legislature, Democrats and Republicans, came together and tackled one of the most complicated issues in our state's history. This comprehensive water package is an historic achievement." 

Schwarzenegger praised the efforts of his Democratic collaborator, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, to push the water policy and bond package through the legislature. "He has been a tireless leader, a relentless advocate for the environment and a true statesman,” said Steinberg. 

Steinberg claimed the legislation enacts “landmark improvements to the environment and investments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the heart of California’s water supply system – to ensure the restoration of the Delta’s fragile ecosystem while enhancing water reliability for all Californians.” 

“Over the last several decades, numerous efforts to comprehensively address the state’s water problems have consistently failed,” Steinberg gushed. “But the Senate this week rose to the occasion, overcoming enormous regional, philosophical, and political obstacles to forge an historic, bipartisan compromise.” 

On October 11, Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation calling for the legislature to meet in an extraordinary session to address California's water crisis, in effect strong arming the legislature to pass the water package that he wanted. 

While the Legislature approved the water policy and bond measures, they killed a bill by Assemblywoman Alsyon Huber that would prohibit the construction of a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta without a full fiscal analysis and a vote of the state legislature. 

“I offered up a simple bill, a common sense approach,” Huber stated. “Unfortunately, my bill was killed without a hearing.” She vowed that she will resubmit this bill so it will have a full debate. 

“I opposed the water package because it creates a new layer of bureaucrats who will make decisions on water that will impact the communities I represent, without allowing us to have a voice, “ she emphasized. “I opposed the bond, especially because of the billions in pork for LA. This dead of night pork giveaway is exactly why voters give us low marks.” 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Water and Water Bonds

The Sacramento Bee Forum has two major pieces on the Schwarzenegger proposed Water Bonds.
Several of the key Republicans supporting this approach voted to block passing of the budget this year.
They used their minority votes to block the passage until they got the budget they wanted. - No new taxes_.  This led to $6.1 B cut in public school funds and devastating cuts in higher education.
In return, I will vote against their water bonds.
The state can not afford to borrow money by selling bonds.  Bonds become due. Existing bonds will soon use 10% of the state's revenue. ( More than high education).  More bonds lead directing to more cuts in health, education, and public safety.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The economic crisis, the budget, and our schools

DSA Talk: The Economic Crisis:
Economic Crisis, The Budget, Our Schools, and Your Students. This session will focus on the causes and consequences of the Great Recession, and its impact on education. Speaker will focus on explaining the crisis, available resources, and strategies for resistance.
Duane Campbell, DSA (Democratic Socialists of America)
12:30 P.M. The Redwood Room. Nov.14. 2009. 

 Sac State hosts

Multicultural Education Conference 

Social justice educator Brian D. Schultz is the keynote speaker for the 16th annual Multicultural Education Conference, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, in Sacramento State’s University Union.
Titled, “Social Justice Through Civic Engagement and Action,” the free conference is sponsored by Sacramento State’s Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department (BMED) and co-sponsored by the Serna Center and Project Citizen. The conference provides an opportunity for university faculty and local educators to promote multicultural education in K-12 public schools in the Sacramento region


a blog note. I had to delete the excellent  post by Diane Ravitch which appeared here two days ago.
Something in the post disrupted the other posts on the blog.  I was unable to find the problem. It must be in the code.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Water bonds and school funding

A major water bill has been passed by the California  Legislature, led by local leader Darrell Steinberg.  It includes a 10.1 Billion water bond. We will vote on this bond proposal  in 2010.
Bonds are sold, and then  they must be repaid.  That is, in a future year, we will be paying billion for the bonds, plus interest.
This will come out of the budget before we pay for schools, health care, etc.

I see that major Republicans voted for this Water Bill. And, I recall that they voted against adequately funding the schools. So, I will vote against the water bonds.
Now, Democrats too voted for this bill - including Steinberg.
Well- they have a 13 % approval rating by the public.
That is about right. I don't find their opinion very convincing.
Perhaps we should start a campaign;
If they will not support  quality education for the children, I will not vote for their subsidized water.

No money for schools- no money for water bonds.
What do others think ? Is this  viable position?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Race to the top ? Teacher Opinion

Letters to the editor;

Race to the top a 'boondoggle'
Re "Not pretty, but state education bill takes a step" (Editorials, Nov. 1): Proposed regulations for Race to the Top resemble the failed policies of No Child Left Behind, with even more emphasis on standardized test scores as the measure of all things.
The National Academy of Sciences recently rebuked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for his plan to judge schools and teachers largely on their test scores. The nation's top researchers explained that his proposal for performance pay could never lead to school improvement.
Congress created the academy to provide it with objective advice. In this case, the advice is that the Race to the Top is likely to do far more harm than good. The one-time federal funds for which California might become eligible under RTTT are not even enough to cover the increased costs of this new boondoggle, which include adopting new state academic content standards, new textbooks, and a new set of statewide standardized tests.
– George Sheridan, Garden Valley

Upgrade Teaching ?

National Panel Urges Upgrades to Teacher Workforce
A report from a high-powered education task force that calls for states and school districts to overhaul how they recruit, prepare, evaluate, and compensate teachers has raised the hackles of the American Federation of Teachers, which dismissed many of its recommendations as “top-down” and disrespectful of the profession.
AFT President Randi Weingarten’s sharp criticism of the report, released Tuesday by Strategic Management of Human Capital, came despite the participation of Ms. Weingarten and two other AFT officers in the 30-member task force that helped shape a series of 20 policy recommendations to improve the teaching corps in the nation’s 100 largest school districts. Some recommendations are aimed at improving the effectiveness of principals, but teachers are the overwhelming focus of the report.
“There weren’t many of us on the task force speaking for teachers, and I think the report reflects that, especially in the lack of emphasis on principal effectiveness,” said Francine Lawrence, the president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, an AFT affiliate, and a member of the panel. “It doesn’t speak to the professionalization of teaching at all, which is a real disappointment.”

Monday, November 02, 2009

Arne Duncan and PACT

Needed: an overhaul of teacher prep
At a speech to Columbia University's Teachers College, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for a broad overhaul of the nation's teacher colleges. Duncan, as reported by the Associated Press, explained that prep programs are lucrative for the institutions that offered them, but fail to adequately prepare teachers for the classroom. Large enrollment and low overhead make them "cash cows" for universities, but profits are diverted to smaller, more prestigious departments rather than invested in research and training for would-be teachers. Duncan also faulted state governments for overly easy licensing that does not gauge classroom readiness and for failing to track which programs turn out effective teachers and which do not. If the country is to reach the president's global goal of the most college graduates by 2020, "both our K-12 system and our teacher preparation programs have to get dramatically better," said Duncan. He pointed to the administration's use of stimulus dollars to reward states that tie student achievement data to their education schools and to the demand to pay for an expansion of teacher residency programs in high-needs schools. Duncan stressed that timing is crucial. A third of veteran teachers are poised to retire, which could create a million new teaching positions over the next four years.
Read more:
See the secretary's speech:


It uses the popular approach of citing a number of "excellent" programs, which happen to be those that Duncan has visited. 
Perhaps he should visit more.  It contains many of the usual problems, such as quoting an anonymous student who reported to E.D. Hirsch why he thought students did not take his course.  There is a great deal of self interest here. Hirsch thinks everyone should take his course.
he uses as evidence hearsay.

Typical, and troubling to me was this;
This is self reported success:

Under the leadership of Sharon Robinson, the AACTE and its 800 colleges and universities have made it a core mission to have pre-service education lead to substantial increases in student achievement. AACTE has also recently launched a series of new programs and initiatives designed to improve teacher effectiveness. One of their most promising initiatives to date is the development of the first nationally accessible assessment of teacher candidate readiness. Under this performance-based assessment, supervising teachers and faculty would evaluate student teachers in the classroom. And student teachers and interns would be required to plan and teach a week-long stint of instruction mapped to state standards and provide commentaries on videotapes of their instruction and classroom management.
AACTE's project is based on PACT, California's Performance Assessment for Teachers, which Linda Darling-Hammond and a wide-ranging consortium of teacher preparation programs in California have done so much to pioneer. Already 14 states have signed up to pilot the performance assessment.

So. AACTE is adopting this "model".   BTW. There is no objective data showing that this model works. 
Here is an examination of its problems by those of us who have used it.

Those who report its success almost universally do not visit student teachers in schools. They are encamped in the university.
It looks good from there.
And, it costs California some $9 million per year for an invalid, unreliable measure.

Duane Campbell

Conflicts of Interest in education and publishing

Conflict of Interest Arises in Push for Common Standards:

The Literacy Research Association sent a letter Oct. 21 to the groups overseeing the development of common standards that, among other points, expresses concern that many of the authors are “representatives of multiple commercial entities that stand to profit enormously from selling curricula, instructional materials, assessments, and consultancies as the standards are rolled out.” Such connections should be “explicitly revealed and addressed,” says the letter from the group, formerly called the National Reading Conference.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Rueben Navarette praises Arne Duncan

Conservative polemicist Rueben Navarette published a piece praising Arne Duncan attack on Schools of Education. Here is a response.

Ruben Navorette ("An apple for the education secretary," Oct 31) agrees with Education Secretary Duncan that Schools of Education should be held accountable for student achievement.
If so, American Schools of Education deserve praise, not scorn. If the role of poverty is taken into consideration, American children do very well in international comparisons.
The late Gerald Bracey pointed out that US schools with less than 25 percent of their enrollments made up of children of poverty outscore all other countries in math and science. American children only fall below the international average when 75 percent or more of the students in a school live in poverty. The obvious reason: Poverty, hunger, poor diet, toxins in the environment, and a lack of reading material, all characteristic of high-poverty environments, seriously affect academic performance. The United States has the highest level of childhood poverty of all industrialized countries.

Poverty is beyond the control of Schools of Education. Low scores on international tests are the fault of a society that allows so many children to live in poverty.
Also, if we accept Secretary Duncan's logic, we should hold schools of business and departments of economics accountable for the current economic crisis.
Stephen Krashen

See the Navarrette post below.
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