Thursday, November 22, 2012

Education Beat: Goals Are For Hockey; Bill Gates Is No Friend Of Schools; Diane Ravitch's Penance;

Education Beat: Goals Are For Hockey; Bill Gates Is No Friend Of Schools; Diane Ravitch's Penance; Florida in Virginia

He'll Be Ba-ack: America's chief school executive, charter-school tool, privatizing maven, and hoops-shooting pal to Sir Barry, the Compliant, bankster-buddy Arne Duncan apparently will be staying on as head of the Federal Department of Education. In consequence, there will be no measyrable diminishment in the regime of high-stakes test score 'achievement' measures, and/or test based teacher accountability, and/or the shameful tactic of waving Federal "development" dollars in the faces of financially strapped, local School Boards to entice them into the Obama/Duncan paradigm.
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Public Schools Under Assault:
“Public education today is the target of a well-coordinated, well-funded campaign to privatize as many schools as possible, particularly in cities. This campaign claims it wants great teachers in every classroom, but its rhetoric demoralizes teachers, and reduces the status of the education profession,” Ravitch told a Los Angeles audience in February 2012. “There is no historical comparison to the current movement for privatization and de-professionalization.”
I have had issues with Dr. Ravitch in the past. As a member of the Raygun Education "team"--which included lamar Alexander, Bill Bennett, and Chester ""Chucker" Finnm she was at one time one of the foremost advocates of the policies which she now criicizes.
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 Betting ON Poverty: This is pretty disgusting.
In Detroit, in keeping with the national efforts top de-skill and de-professionalize teaching, the School Board is going ahead with plans to further commodify students in 'at risk' circumstances and 'sell' them to private corporations as eyse on the screen.
Interestingly, the CorpoRats have learned to coopt the discourses of Freirean resistance to make it seem as though these reactionary pedagogies are 'best practices.'  + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

My Sweet, Indebtable You!: Recently, the Department of Education released new guidelines and rules covering the repayment schedules for certain student loans. Via Adam Minsky, the "Boston Student-Loan Lawyer":
  • The "new and improved" IBR program, as I've been calling it, will be called the "Pay As You Earn" program. This new repayment plan option for "new borrowers" will allow for monthly payments of 10% of discretionary income (as opposed to 15%) and a 20-year repayment term (as opposed to 25 years), with forgiveness of the remaining balance thereafter. As I've written about previously, this is a great repayment plan option, but it won't be available to most borrowers who have already graduated and are in repayment now. The regulations confirm that the Dept. of Education will exclude most of these borrowers from the "Pay As You Earn" program.
  • The regulations also attempt to streamline the process for applying for a discharge of federal student loans on the basis of Total and Permanent Disability. Specifically, the regulations allow for some Social Security Disability determinations to support discharge applications, and the regulations make it easier for a representative to assist the borrower in the discharge process.
  • Finally, the new regulations try to address some of the ongoing problems with federal loan servicing by offering simpler IBR recertification forms.
Ultimately, these new regulations are a mixed bag. They certainly include some positive changes for federal student loan borrowers, but they do little to aggressively address systematic problems with the federal loan borrowing and servicing system. To read all the details on the new regulations, click here.

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As Goes Florida:We mentioned in a column a litle while back that the Great State of Florida had decided to confront educational, socio-economic "realities" NOT by addressing poverty, homelessness and other social ills which directly impact children in poverty, but instead by lowering standards for Hispanic and Black students. Now Virginia, another historic hotbed of progressive education reform appears to be joining the bandwagon.

Meanwhile: Studies show that charter schools in Florida are NOT out-performing regular, public schools.

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 From the Smoldering Fingers: Bill Gates is not a "good guy." He is, as far as his interest in education goes, at best a well-meaning, blundering, clumsy, bullying fool. At worst, he is what I call a "Zombie Capitalist," whose philanthropy is tainted--POISONED--with self-interest and delusion. The Gates foundation is body and soul behind a "national, standardized curriculum."
Why?
Primarily, because it will fit well with the business of selling Microsoft shit to the schools.
Attention people who care about children in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
You’ve been snookered.
The truth of the matter is that we’ve all been snookered by the U. S. Department of Education, working in cahoots with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but the release of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium sample assessment items makes the flimflam obvious to people in the above states. Their leaders gave promissory notes to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
 Susan Ohanian is as fiercely rabid a critic as there IS of the official, corpoRat/charter "reform" movement, whether called No Child Left Behind or Race To The Top. Follow her blog, if this stuff --and especially criticism of the Common Core, interests you.

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