What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools. – D. Morris

Morris, David.  “What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools adn Actually Bad for Microsoft too, as we Learned Recently.”  Common Dreams.  November 30, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/30-0

The author points out the fact that as schools are moving to a “business model” businesses are moving to a model more like a schools which include more collaboration and teamwork.

“Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

This month Microsoft abandoned the hated system.

Sue Altman at EduShyster vividly sums up the frustration of a nation of educators at this new development. “So let me get this straight. The big business method of evaluation that now rules our schools is no longer the big business method of evaluation? And collaboration and teamwork, which have been abandoned by our schools in favor of the big business method of evaluation, is in?”

The Hypocrisy of Alex Fischer. – K. Griffin

Recently Alex Fischer, an out-of-touch CEO, made public his plans for Columbus Public Schools.  While asking teachers to make more concessions than they already have isn’t new his call for cheaper and less healthy meals for some of Ohio’s most needy children is outrageous. And this coming from the same person who is chairman of nationwide children’s hospital shows just how hypocritical these corporate education reformers are.

While it is important to have a cross section of community members on local committees and boards, any member who’s goal is to preserve their own financial interests at the expense of the children’s health should be removed immediately.

Furthermore Mr. Fischer’s recommendation to increase the number of unaccountable and un transparent charter schools, of which only 23% receive a passing grade from the Ohio Department of Education, is more proof of Fischer looking out for corporate interests, the chamber of commerce, and his wealthy buddies, instead of those of the children.

In viewing Fischer’s bio from the Columbus partnership website, he has an impressive amount of experience in dealing with businesses and economics, but nothing with education.  I’m left wondering of he sends his own children to one of the charter schools he wants to expand or if he feeds them the food he’s recommending for CPS students. My guess is no.

Teachers should be seen and not heard. – A. Mullen

Mullen, Anthony.  “Teachers should be seen and not heard.”  Blog.  Education Week.  January 7, 2010.  Retrieved from: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_of_the_year/2010/01/teachers_should_be_seen_and_no.html

Anthony Mullen is the 2009 National Teacher of the year.  He wrote a fictional story describing the absurdity of the corporate driven education reform movement which leaves out all input from the people working in the trenches.

“I’m thinking about the current health care debate, “I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”

The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.

“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”

Heckuva Job, Reformers. – D. Ravitch.

Ravitch, Diane.  “Heckuva Job, Reformers.”  February 27, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/27/heckuva-job-reformers/

In a summary of the 2013 Metlife Survey of the American Teacher Diane Ravitch summarizes some of the crucial findings in the survey and asks when the corporate reformers will be held accountable for the harm they are inflicting on students, teachers, and principals.

From the survey:

“Teacher satisfaction has declined to its lowest point in 25 years and has dropped five percentage points in the past year alone, from 44% to 39% very satisfied. This marks a continuation of a substantial decline noted in the 2011 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher; teacher satisfaction has now dropped 23 percentage points since 2008.”

From Dr. Ravitch:

“Bottom line: a workforce in the schools that is increasingly demoralized, stressed out because of the demands imposed on them by politicians, and worried that they and their students are being set up to fail by clueless reformers.”

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools. – D. Kirp

Kirp, David L.  “The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools.”  New York Times.  February 9, 2013.  Retrieved from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/the-secret-to-fixing-bad-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The school district in Union City NJ, has fixed their schools without charter schools and Teach for America recruits.  They did it with preschool, all day kindergarten, and teaching about community pride and respect.

What makes Union City remarkable is, paradoxically, the absence of pizazz. It hasn’t followed the herd by closing “underperforming” schools or giving the boot to hordes of teachers. No Teach for America recruits toil in its classrooms, and there are no charter schools.

62% of Ohio Charter Schools Fail and Cost More per Pupil

ohio charter schools 2012

Gates Foundation Wastes More Money Pushing VAM. – G. Glass

Glass, Gene V.  “Gates Foundation Wastes More Money Pushing VAM.”  Blog: Education in Two Worlds.  January 14, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://ed2worlds.blogspot.com/2013/01/gates-foundation-wastes-more-money.html

Professor Glass, an education researcher and professor in the School of Education and National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Emeritus Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University questions the obvious data manipulation used in the latest value-added study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

At the center of the brief’s claims are a couple of figures (“scatter diagrams” in statistical lingo) that show remarkable agreement in VAM scores for teachers in Language Arts and Math for two consecutive years. The dots form virtual straight lines. A teacher with a high VAM score one year can be relied on to have an equally high VAM score the next, so Figure 2 seems to say.

Not so. The scatter diagrams are not dots of teachers’ VAM scores but of averages of groups of VAM scores. For some unexplained reason, the statisticians who analyzed the data for the MET Project report divided the 3,000 teachers into 20 groups of about 150 teachers each and plotted the average VAM scores for each group. Why?