Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn will seek to offset federal aid to victims of a massive tornado that blasted through Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday with cuts elsewhere in the budget.> more ... (0 comments)
I’ve been getting progressively more alarmed at all of the shameful stories coming out lately on the spread of high-stakes testing into so much of our public school system. The simplistic argument underlying it smells exactly like most of the other simplistic bullshit Republicans incessantly excrete*:
The Bible for opponents of high-stakes testing is a 2010 book called The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, by Diane Ravitch, perhaps the nation’s preeminent education historian. Ravitch, who grew up in Texas and attended Houston public schools, was once an advocate of both high-stakes testing and charter schools. She served as the assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush and was later appointed by President Bill Clinton to head the National Assessment Governing Board. [...]
“Like everyone else,” she told me during a stop in Austin in February, “I was drawn to the idea that schools might benefit from a business sensibility, that we should set goals and then reward high performers and punish low performers.”
Throw our children into the cutthroat world of private enterprise and profit maximization? What could go wrong?
One of the key things that pisses me off when I read yet another story about the harm all of this is causing is that it seems to be the millionth recent example of trying to treat the symptoms without dealing with the underlying disease:
“The number one determinant of how well kids will do in school is socioeconomic background,” Ravitch told me. “It’s not how good your teacher is or which school you go to.” Ravitch makes a convincing case that those pining for a lost golden era of American education are misremembering. Sixty years ago, black and Hispanic kids weren’t allowed to attend public schools—or at least, not real ones—and most didn’t even go to high school. Kids with disabilities were excluded as well, and there were far fewer recent immigrants enrolled. Comparing that system with the one we have today makes no sense.
Why would we want to throw any additional money at alleviating poverty or child hunger, when we can just throw countless $billions at dubious, unproven band-aids that probably aren’t doing much of anything to cure just one of the dozens of symptoms of poverty and child hunger?
Read the whole article from which I took the quotes above. It will make you angrier than anything you’ve read recently.
* And yes, Democrats (the “Me too!” party) have, true to form, signed onto the same bullshit.
Jon Chait’s post on performance evaluations for teachers is correct on one level, and gets the best of Eugene Robinson there. If you’re attacking performance evaluation because people are cheating, then you’re attacking the means rather than the ends. The stronger argument is that, really, it’s really hard to evaluate what makes a good teacher. It’s a complicated skill set, much of it involves skills that can’t be quantified, and subjective evaluations would be unworkable to say the least. The stronger argument is, essentially, to question the premise of improving education through testing.
I’ve not seen convincing evidence that we have a widespread teaching crisis, certainly not of the sort that could benefit from some sort of Galtian billionaire principles to get everything running smoothly. However, I’m not ideologically opposed to modifying the terms of tenure. There are always some obvious cases that often come up when a teacher ought to be let go, and the extent to which tenure stops that is not so good. Then again, swapping tenure for performance pay is not a good trade, teachers tend to fight it tooth and nail (they certainly did under Michelle Rhee in D.C.) and I hardly blame them. It’s a bird in hand question: asking someone to drop a nonmonetary form of compensation in exchange for the possibility of some additional monetary compensation is politically sound, but ultimately it ain’t going to work because teachers can see that play. My (politically nonstarting) solution would be simply to pay teachers competitive rates for what they could expect to earn with their majors. Not in exchange for any concessions, just do it, and while you’re at it, sharply reduce all the extra hoops you have to go through to become a teacher. Limit student teaching to a few months at most, and streamline the credentialing process. This would have the effect of making teaching an incredibly attractive career option: competitive rates, good benefits, and job security. It would cost more money, of course, but it would also create a larger recruiting pool, which would lead to better teachers. In particular, every school district everywhere has a difficult time recruiting qualified math and science teachers because if you’re good at those subjects, you can earn a hell of a lot more in the private sector. Paying competitively (i.e. a lot more) would solve that. Might cause some tension between science and English teachers, for example, but that tradeoff is probably better than the temporary solutions that most school districts use to fill the shortage, or even worse choices. My sister’s junior high school has had a former P.E. teacher teaching math for the past ten years. This man has no degree in math and had no experience teaching it when he got the job, and is by all accounts still terrible at it. He’s the only one who teaches seventh grade math at the school. The school–which is in a suburban district with ample funds–hasn’t been able to find an adequate replacement for the last decade. This is how sparse such teachers are, and there’s no way around it beside more money being spent.
The beauty of this is that, after instituted for a little while, the leverage on tenure would flip. Right now, teachers are paid less, but they get tenure. It’s a trade-off our political system decided to make, and if you try to change tenure you come up against a brick wall because tenure is seen as part of the bargain. Under the new system, the bargain would be different: teachers would be making competitive pay and they’d get tenure, which would mean a very different political reality, and would lead to greater leverage if an administrator wanted to dump the guy who just has his class watch videos all day. I doubt teachers give tenure up altogether, but the other side’s argument would be a lot stronger if they wanted to make modifications to get rid of the worst cases, or to rethink the entire system and turn it into, say, a requirement for “for cause” firing. There’s nothing inherent to unions and tenure as a concept–Chait mentions baseball, which is a sport but also a business where everyone’s unionized but there’s no tenure. It’s strictly an alternative form of compensation.
[A proposed Tennessee law] includes a provision requiring teachers or counselors to inform the parents of some students who identify themselves as LGBT.Seriously. This is what they spend their inbred little minds’ time obsessing about… Heartless fuckheads.
My initial reaction — apart from head slappin’s and whatnot — to this load of chud:
But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel.
was pretty much the the same as this letter by JoAnn Radesca to USA Today posted awhile back:
Why are there so few male teachers in elementary schools? I started college when my oldest son was in high school. I went on to get a master’s degree. When my son graduated with a bachelor’s degree, he went into accounting, making about $20,000 more than I was making as a teacher. This is probably the No. 1 reason men do not go into teaching.
Basically, if folks really believe the crap in their own column-inches, then I reckon dudes were “forced out” of teaching by low pay ‘cuz education budgets were slashed and teachers’ unions demonized, etc. So which is it? “I was just saying a buncha stuff because ‘deadline,’” or “We really oughta be putting more (tax)money into the schools”?
I’m voting for “one from column a AND one from column b, Socrates” on this one.
The budget deal allows students to take out only one grant a year. Cutting students off from the second Pell would save about $8 billion over the next two years. This allows the government to close the $20 billion Pell shortfall without reducing grant amounts. It would also, however, prevent students from paying for more of their education with Pell Grants. According to the article students at for-profit schools, who mostly take classes online, are much more likely to attempt to use more than one grant a year.Don’t know if it was intended this way, but it’s not a bad side effect. I really dislike the idea of for-profit schools–really, I think applying business methods to education has been an unqualified disaster over the past decade, which one can see in an obsession with data and metrics that, as David Simon would remind us, can easily be spun to achieve whatever result you want, and that besides reduces learning to rote memorization of test questions. For-profit schools strike me as very problematic, for reasons that Erik Kain lays out here, as well as others. Unsurprisingly, the profit motive has led to a lot of overcharging and debt, and I just don’t see how the concept can work: a business is there to sell you something, a school is there to give you something (albeit one that they charge you for). There’s no daylight between them. You can sell data but you can’t sell so many of the sorts of things that an education provides aside from that. You just can’t commodify a love of learning, for example. So I say, if we have to take a chunk out of something, taking it out of the for-profit schools sector seems like a good idea.
(AP) A child nutrition bill on its way to President Barack Obama—and championed by the first lady—gives the federal government power to limit school bake sales and other fundraisers that health advocates say sometimes replace wholesome meals in the lunchroom. [..] “These fundraisers are happening all the time,” Wootan said. “It’s a pizza sale one day, doughnuts the next… It’s endless.” [Under the proposed rules], bake sales cannot be held on school grounds unless the items meet nutrition standards that specifically limit portion sizes, fat content, sodium and sugars. That two-ounce, low-fat granola bar? Probably OK, depending what’s in it. But grandma’s homemade oversized brownie with cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips inside? Probably not.
- Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
- Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
- What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per m? [per m = per 1000 board feet?]
- Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
- What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods? [1 acre = 160 square rods]
- What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
- Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
- Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
- Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
- Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
The math is pretty straightforward non-algebra grade-school stuff, once you get past the outdated terminology.
A comment on genuineness:
Snopes list it as “False”, yet lay out a purely circumstantial case that it isn’t real. The truthorfiction link is much better, but even there, they document that the test is in fact real, but seem to pretty strongly imply that the test is for teachers, yet show as little evidence for this view as the view that the test is for 8th graders.
- Library Grape: Let Them Eat Cat Food: Santorum Calls For Americans To Suffer More
- vegasjessie: Dangerous Fundamentalism: The Taliban and the American Tealiban
- Political Analytical – Insight and Analysis on Politics and Reason: Mike’s Blog Round Up
- Library Grape: What the Crippity-Crap?
- I Want My Mommy!: /* */ /* */ Francis Sedgemore – journalist and science writerCrooked Timber — Out of...
- Greenwald On Ricci (The White Firefighter Case)
- British Stagflation?
- A Step-By-Step Plan For Rupert Murdoch to Regain a Piece of His Humanity, Then Burn in Hell
- Mitt vs. Al Gore, Revisited
- The Costs of Iraq
- Why Does Ron Paul Hate Newt Gingrich So Much?
- We Are Righteous While You Are Evil. Now, Let's Have a Civil Conversation, Shall We?
- Break for Cuteness
- Romney Now Widely Disliked, Still Barely Losing To Obama In Polls
- Hmm...I Don't Think That's Going To Do It
- May 2013 (28)
- April 2013 (36)
- March 2013 (56)
- February 2013 (42)
- January 2013 (71)
- December 2012 (67)
- November 2012 (40)
- October 2012 (44)
- September 2012 (35)
- August 2012 (39)
- July 2012 (36)
- June 2012 (35)
- May 2012 (42)
- April 2012 (42)
- March 2012 (64)
- February 2012 (71)
- January 2012 (67)
- December 2011 (57)
- November 2011 (72)
- October 2011 (63)
- September 2011 (55)
- August 2011 (53)
- July 2011 (44)
- June 2011 (71)
- May 2011 (91)
- April 2011 (101)
- March 2011 (104)
- February 2011 (96)
- January 2011 (71)
- December 2010 (73)
- November 2010 (59)
- October 2010 (80)
- September 2010 (64)
- August 2010 (39)
- July 2010 (46)
- June 2010 (27)
- May 2010 (54)
- April 2010 (34)
- March 2010 (38)
- February 2010 (47)
- January 2010 (62)
- December 2009 (57)
- November 2009 (72)
- October 2009 (76)
- September 2009 (50)
- August 2009 (85)
- July 2009 (56)
- June 2009 (141)
- May 2009 (103)
- April 2009 (113)
- March 2009 (66)
- February 2009 (43)
- January 2009 (87)
- December 2008 (18)
Wine Labels2012 Election 2012 Elections Abortion Barack Obama Bullshit Bush Christianity Congress Conservatives Democrats Economy Fail Foreign Policy Fox News Gay Marriage Hatred Health Care Ignorance Insanity Iran Law LGBT Issues Libertarianism Lies Media Mitt Romney Music Paul Ryan Policy Polls Quotes Racism Rebuttals Recession Republicans Right Wing Sarah Palin Scandal Stupidity Teabaggers Torture Truth Video War Crimes War on Terror