Monday, May 18, 2015

NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia Remains Faithful to Gates Funding | deutsch29

NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia Remains Faithful to Gates Funding | deutsch29:

NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia Remains Faithful to Gates Funding



On April 26, 2015, education historian Diane Ravitch moderated an hour-long discussion between National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten at the second annual conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE).
Only minutes prior to the conclusion of the session, Ravitch “Barbara Waltered” Garcia and Weingarten with the following question:
The Walton, Gates and Broad Foundations are at the forefront of the  privatization movement. Will you commit not to accept funding from them and not to collaborate with them? [56:56]
She then asked for their “yes or no” answers:
Lily?
Garcia: Yes.
Randi?
Weingarten: Yes.
A beautiful moment. The audience stood and applauded first Ravitch’s question then the Garcia-Weingarten response.
The session soon ended, and Garcia wasted no time backing out of that one.
In fact, in a blog post dated three days prior to her conference appearance (??), Garcia defended her right to say “yes” and mean “no.”
In her oddly-dated post, Garcia attempts to set Gates apart from Walton and Broad. In reality, NEA has no problem with refusing money from Walton because the Waltons hate unions.
As for the Broad Foundation, Garcia criticizes it as “all charters all the time.”
But when it comes to taking cash from the Gates Foundation, Garcia states that Gates is “complicated.”
She might as well have noted that with “all charters all the time” Broad, it is also “complicated” since some NEA locals have accepted Broad funding in the past. But let’s just set that aside for now.
As supposed evidence that Gates can be trusted (and that accepting his money is fine), Garcia cites part of the Gates Foundation website that offers a brochured Gates sell:
We are focused on results. Those that can be measured. And those measured in ways beyond numbers. We see individuals, not issues. We are inspired by passion, and compassion for the wellbeing of people. Our methods are based on logic, driven by rigor, results, issues, and outcomes. Our innovation means trying new things, learning from our mistakes, and consistently refining our approach. Our strategies help us define our path to success, but our effectiveness is based in the aggregate power of our initiatives to impact holistic change.
That is enough for Garcia. She considers Gates trustworthiness as established.
She does not add that the Gates Foundation is clear about making grants “according to our funding priorities” and by directly contacting organizations to invite them to apply for grants under those Gates-determined priorities.
As evidence of Gates’ goodness, Garcia notes that Gates funds “the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (which the NEA helped found).”
Let’s talk about Gates money and National Board.
In March 2014, Gates shelled out $200,000 to help pay for National Board’s conference. Coincidentally, in March 2014, Bill Gates gave a keynote at that same NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia Remains Faithful to Gates Funding | deutsch29:

The Common Core “Deep Learning” Message that All Students are Gifted is Wrong

The Common Core “Deep Learning” Message that All Students are Gifted is Wrong:



Nine year old boy doing advanced math on a chalkboard

The Common Core “Deep Learning” Message that All Students are Gifted is Wrong

…in the ordinary elementary school situation, children of 140 IQ waste half their time. Those of 170 IQ waste practically all their time.
— gifted education pioneer Leta Hollingworth, found in Genius Denied, by Jan and Bob Davidson
A recent report implied that with the right kind of environment and “deep learning” everyone can be gifted. The belief is that students have these capabilities just waiting to be actualized with the right curriculum. The idea is that if the right projects and innovations are used, all students will be enlighten and giftedness will, I guess, cease to be. I mean, if everyone is gifted, no one is gifted. This kind of thinking causes harm to both the gifted population and those who are not gifted.
Deep learning appears to be a spinoff of Common Core State Standards indicating that students can finally be provided deeper thinking about what matters because…well, after all, how many first graders have you known who understood Mesopotamia?
This train of thought jumped out at me recently in a description of one of the High Tech High (HTH) schools in California. I have written about High Tech High before (Bill Gates loves them) and I am not sure what they are doing with Common Core. They appear to push for curriculum unlike the current one-size-fits-all being foisted on traditional public schools.
But they criticize gifted education by describing some of the worst practices that have been used by public schools to address the needs of gifted students. Let’s face it, few public schools have ever done gifted education right.
Many elementary schools have once-a-week pull-out programs where gifted children do activities all students would love—a fact that HTH likes to highlight. Of course, this evokes envy by other children, and many teachers resent the disruption.
In high school, most gifted students are relegated to advanced placement classes (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB), never designed for gifted students in mind. Both AP and IB are better than nothing but not good enough. While HTH may do their The Common Core “Deep Learning” Message that All Students are Gifted is Wrong:

Action Alert for Milwaukee | BustED Pencils

Action Alert for Milwaukee | BustED Pencils:

Action Alert for Milwaukee



BustEDlogo2
Last week Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) decided that their vast experience as suburban Wisconsin legislators qualified them to introduce a bill that would literally take away Milwaukee Public Schools from the people of Milwaukee.  Yes, they proposed a “public school take over bill.”  These bills have been passed in many urban areas across the country and have been proven to simply be a private take over of urban poor and minority populated schools.  Later in the week it was announced that the bill was killed.  However, the movement to privatize urban public schools has been way too lucrative to just let die.  Instead of a bill, the Milwaukee School Take over Bill  has been simply slated to be passed as part of the state budget process—truly undermining the political and social capital of the citizens of Milwaukee.
ACTION ALERT
PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY AND FORWARD LINK TO FAMILY/FRIENDS
Attempts to stick privatization into state budget this Tuesday
WE CAN NOT LOSE ELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS!
Remember Act 10 was just about public workers, then came Right to Work…
This could be looked at as it’s just MPS, then it spreads everywhere…
TAKE ACTION NOW (really easy with this link)
Listen to the BustED Pencils show below.  I talk with an assortment of guests from Milwaukee about what’s happening on the ground and what you can do to help.
Action Alert for Milwaukee | BustED Pencils:


Michael Mulgrew: The better tests N.Y. kids deserve - NY Daily News

Michael Mulgrew: The better tests N.Y. kids deserve - NY Daily News:

The better tests N.Y. kids deserve



Tests that don’t bear scrutiny


It’s time to ring down the curtain on a long-running farce: New York’s current statewide standardized tests. These exams — administered last month — give parents misleading information, encourage schools to focus on test-prep rather than real learning and are all but useless to teachers, the people who need them the most.
Let’s look at the tests’ recent history. Are 80% of the New York State students proficient in reading (the 2009 tests) or fewer than 27% (the 2014 tests)?
And who bears the responsibility for progress or the lack thereof? When city scores on the state tests rose, despite the fact that teachers and other observers said the exams were too easy, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg took credit for the gain. When scores fell dramatically because of a new test and a political decision to set a very demanding passing score, Gov. Cuomo blamed teachers.
Meantime, independent of Bloomberg’s boasting and Cuomo’s alarmist jeremiads, the most reliable and consistent testing instrument in the nation — the National Assessment of Educational Progress — has shown modest but generally consistent gains in reading and math by New York City students.
This spring, hundreds of thousands of New York families demonstrated their unhappiness with the state’s testing regimen when they refused to let their children sit for these wasteful and wrong-headed state exams — having watched as weeks of their children’s regular class time and enrichment courses like art and music were lost to cramming for tests that provide such little value.
Parent unhappiness with the tests has reached unprecedented levels. On Long Island, Comsewogue reportedly had an opt-out rate of 82%, and Plainedge Middle School 74%. In New York City nearly three-quarters of the eligible children at the Earth School in Manhattan reportedly didn’t take the test, while more than one-third opted out at PS 321 in Brooklyn’s Park Slope.
While the UFT supported parents in their decision, we also know that there is a place for tests in our schools — but not the current tests provided under a $32-million contract with Pearson.
As a teacher, I relied on tests — but shorter, periodic assessments that I used to identify the areas where each of my students needed more instruction. If the state Department of Education really wants to help students, it must develop the capacity to create and manage its own array of tests that comply with federal mandates and state curriculum standards, yet are actually useful to teachers.
Unlike the current tests, which provide only a single score for each child in reading and math, these new tests must be able to identify each child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Also, unlike current exams, which are not returned until the school year is over, these new tests must be administered and scored in time for teachers to help kids in the areas where they are falling short.
In addition, if the state is to restore the confidence of both parents and teachers in the testing process, it must be transparent. Every question and its alternate answers must be publicly available when the test is complete, unlike today’s “gag order” that relieves Pearson from the necessity of releasing — and forbids teachers from even publicly discussing — most test questions, and subjects the state to a financial penalty if the questions get out.
A testing program that met these standards — and offered the opportunity to actually help students rather than just measure them by an artificial standard — could regain the support of both teachers and parents.
Would it be expensive? It would almost certainly cost more than the current annual average of $6.4 million the state pays Pearson, particularly considering that all-new questions would have to be created every year.
But in a state that invests more than $20 billion on aid to education, spending a few million more per year to provide teachers with a better tool to help their students is an investment worth making.
Mulgrew is president of the United Federation of Teachers.Michael Mulgrew: The better tests N.Y. kids deserve - NY Daily News:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 5/18/15


Special Nite Cap 

CORPORATE ED REFORM



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