Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ed Beat: Haillie, The Chosen?; The Corpse Movement; Local Color; What TFA?

 Haillie Selassie! Why is Michael Bloomberg, who the last time I looked was mayor of NYC, buying influence on the LA Schooll Board?
 A group of billionaires and astroturf groups is trying to buy a Los Angeles school board election to expand the corporate education policy agenda in that city. One big goal is to defeat one-term incumbent and former teacher Steve Zimmer. The "Coalition for School Reform" has gotten $1 million from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But the group wasn't exactly broke before Bloomberg's contribution, according to the LA Times:

Education and arts philanthropist Eli Broad leads the way with a contribution of $250,000 to the coalition, which includes L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Also in for $250,000 is billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio, who headed the Univision network for years. Lynda Resnick, the entrepreneur behind POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and other ventures, has donated $100,000 to the coalition. Investor Marc Nathanson and his wife, Jane, have together given $100,000.
Bloomberg's former schools chancellor, Joel Klein, who now runs NewsCorp's education division, looking to turn corporate "reform" into profit for Rupert Murdoch, also chipped in $25,000, followed by another $25,000 this week. Also this week, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst threw in $250,000.
The schools are, aside from Social Security, the biggest potential corpoRat slush-fund EVER.
School Choice?  The concept sounds wonderful, but mainly it's camouflage for the intrusion, via vouchers opr charters, of religious instruction in public schools, at public expense.
On the surface, School Choice is purportedly about increasing opportunities for inner city and rural youth. The all-important subtext, however, is that School Choice is really about freeing up dollars for Christian-based education. An important arrow that energizes today’s religious quiver is the intentional misuse of language in changing the debate by referring to public schools as “government schools” and public education as a “government school monopoly,” thus instantly and directly speaking to Tea Partiers and Libertarians....During the 2011-2012 school year, thirty-two private school choice programs were in place with more than $800 million available for vouchers and scholarship tax credits, money that by all rights should have gone to our public school systems, many of which are in dire need. Groups with heart-warming names like The Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children encourage naive donors to support vouchers for reasons that are as deceptive as they are fundamentally non-democratic.
School choice isn't such a great idea when there's no choice about enduring partisan, sectarian instruction.

More "Common Corpse": Former teacher, teacher educator, and education critic Susan Ohanian, is one of the most trenchant observers around these days. She is especially corrosive in her opinions about the intentions and the presumable consequences of the national plans of the Obots and their minions to standardize the curriculum.
...(About) the Common Core State (sic) Standards (CCSS) and there are two things to remember: The Common Core did not originate with the states and it is speculative and experimental–in a word, cuckoo. I use the (sic) in its title because putting the word “state” in there is a political move, a public relations ploy. Learning from President Bill Clinton’s failure to get the national test he wanted, corporate leaders and their political allies try to keep this school remake as distant from the White House as possible, insisting over and over that it’s a “grassroots initiative” –what the people asked for. Every time they say this, the press repeats it. The Common Core reality is about as far from Mom and apple pie as a zombie invasion.

Writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Golden was one of the few journalists to acknowledge the closeness of the White House to the Common Core: “Today, the Gates Foundation and Education Secretary Duncan move in apparent lockstep.”
 Make no mistake about it: Y/our Prez LowBar is a LEADER in these effort, all of them, to make 'education' just another commodity, the distribution of which can be dis-equilibrated to disadvantage the weakest, poorest, and most vulnerable, for the advantage of Big Binness. In the 'business' mind, there are already too MANY 'educated peasants for the jobs available.

And Gates' only interest is in selling more operating systems.

 Local Color: You may reliably infer that anyone in power calling for more "accountability" from schools is probably proposing "reforms" and conditions the stipulations they themselves would NEVER submit to. Such is the case in Indiana, where some dabbling douchebag (GOPhuq, needless to add) State Senator wants to eliminate STATE certification of teachers and leave it in the hands of schools and departments of Education. What's wrong widdat, you ask?
In Senate bill 409, he wants to shift the responsibility for teacher licensing from the state to teacher preparation programs.
Why? Banks, a Columbia City Republican, didn't offer an explanation in a meeting with our editorial board, but it's not hard to guess. So-called education reformers are all about accountability. They would like nothing better than to tie particular teacher education programs to struggling schools. It would harm any efforts to place the best teacher candidates in classrooms with the greatest needs, but improving Indiana schools is not their intent.
What they want to do is provide a way for posers, charlatans, quacks, and of course the Bible-blatherers to gain access to schools without facing State-lev el scrutiny. What could POSSIBLY go wrong widdat? Can't imagine!
Why Teach for America? Hint: Union busting, privatizing education, deprofessionalizing teachers. I have noted before my total scorn and contempt for the "TFA" program, arguing that the ONLY legitimate purpose it serves is to burnish the credentials of former sorority sisters applying fo the Junior League and to keep them 'gainfully' employed whilst the sift through the corpoRat applicants for "baby-daddy." 
"...TFA goals derive, in theory, from laudable—if misguided—impulses. But each, in practice, has demonstrated to be deeply problematic. TFA, suitably representative of the liberal education reform more generally, underwrites, intentionally or not, the conservative assumptions of the education reform movement: that teacher’s unions serve as barriers to quality education; that testing is the best way to assess quality education; that educating poor children is best done by institutionalizing them; that meritocracy is an end-in-itself; that social class is an unimportant variable in education reform; that education policy is best made by evading politics proper; and that faith in public school teachers is misplaced."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ed Beat (Stand Alone): "You Can't Say "Fuck" In School."

“What’s Genocide?” by Carlos Andres Gomez

their high school principal
told me I couldn’t teach
poetry with profanity
so I asked my students,
“Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Holocaust.”
in unison, their arms rose up like poisonous gas
then straightened out like an SS infantry
“Okay. Please put your hands down.
Now raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Rwandan genocide.”
blank stares mixed with curious ignorance
a quivering hand out of the crowd
half-way raised, like a lone survivor
struggling to stand up in Kigali
“Luz, are you sure about that?”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Carlos—what’s genocide?”

they won’t let you hear the truth at school
if that person says “fuck”
can’t even talk about “fuck”
even though a third of your senior class
is pregnant.

I can’t teach an 18-year-old girl in a public school
how to use a condom that will save her life
and that of the orphan she will be forced
to give to the foster care system—

“Carlos, how many 13-year-olds do you know that are HIV-positive?”

“Honestly, none. But I do visit a shelter every Monday and talk with
six 12-year-old girls with diagnosed AIDS.”
while 4th graders three blocks away give little boys blowjobs during recess
I met an 11-year-old gang member in the Bronx who carries
a semi-automatic weapon to study hall so he can make it home
and you want me to censor my language

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

your books leave out Emmett Till and Medgar Evers
call themselves “World History” and don’t mention
King Leopold or diamond mines
call themselves “Politics in the Modern World”
and don’t mention Apartheid.

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

you wonder why children hide in adult bodies
lie under light-color-eyed contact lenses
learn to fetishize the size of their asses
and simultaneously hate their lips
my students thought Che Guevara was a rapper
from East Harlem
still think my Mumia t-shirt is of Bob Marley
how can literacy not include Phyllis Wheatley?
schools were built in the shadows of ghosts
filtered through incest and grinding teeth
molded under veils of extravagant ritual.

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Roselyn, how old was she? Cuántos años tuvo tu madre cuando se murió?”
“My mother had 32 years when she died. Ella era bellísima.”

…what’s genocide?

they’ve moved from sterilizing “Boriqua” women
injecting indigenous sisters with Hepatitis B,
now they just kill mothers with silent poison
stain their loyalty and love into veins and suffocate them.

…what’s genocide?

Ridwan’s father hung himself
in the box because he thought his son
was ashamed of him.

…what’s genocide?

Maureen’s mother gave her
skin lightening cream
the day before she started the 6th grade.

…what’s genocide?

she carves straight lines into her
beautiful brown thighs so she can remember
what it feels like to heal.

…what’s genocide?
…what’s genocide?

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Luz, this…
this right here…
is genocide.”

Poem, by Carlos Andres Gomez

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cookie: Free Will

In a thread on F-book the other day, stimulated by this image:

The protestations of one correspondent about the confusing love of "god" drew from me the following reply:

"Free will" is a mind-game the Oligarchs introduced into the public mind a couple of milennia ago as a way to get people to accept their fates and blame themselves for failing to negotiate the traps and snares the Bosses set before them to hold them in durance.

You may reliably know when they're pulling that crap when somebody's excoriating you, piously, yet ferociously: "You HAD choices. YOU just made the wrong ones."

One may gauze it up with such trappings as suit one's exalted sense of value or purpose, as much as one might wish; it does not change the fact that, in reality, the best anyone can HOPE to achieve is a limited amount of local, private autonomy. With "when to end it" being the ultimate act. That is, or ought to be, enough, and it is or ought to be unnecessary--and unbecoming--to bedeck it with some sort of quasi-spiritual, but trans-material 'will-to-power.'

Free will, the advocates/believers will always say, is what distinguishes us from the rest of the animals, thererby willfully (?) ignoring the fact that THAT--the whole "Us" versus "them" thing with the rest of the living world--basically IS the problem.

Folks in that space have a really annoying way of belittling their contradictors, imputing to themselves "levels" of "development" unavailable to or "beyond" those held by the unenlightened.  My interrogator deprecated MY "limited view."

Using "limited" as if it were a bad, or diminished or reduced, inferior thing.  It's to laugh!

Ed Abbey, legendary, proto-environmentalist/advocate/warrior thought 'endless growth' at the cellular level was the 'ideology of the cancer cell.'

I am increasingly of the opinion that "limitlessness" with respect to human aspiration echoes that same mortal, debilitating, ultimately self-destructive trope.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WWH/CJE Soapbox: Stop Me If You've Heard This

Stop me if you've heard this before:

There's a poster/"meme" floating round among my crowd on F-book which features a memorable passage from an Aldous Huxley book (for the number and sagacity of which he was quite rightly honored and renowned) to the effect that "there will be in a generation or two, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude..."

I contend that Huxley dreamed too small. There is, indeed, now such an opiate, but it is not produced in any pharmacy: It's called "commercial television." And it doesn't need additional pharmacological components; just the flickering, blue screen. It is quite mesmerizing, and the messages--called programs and commercials--crafted for it convey such an array of clever and subtle propagandas wiuth such care and attention and at such expense at so MANY levels of awareness that it is QUITE impossible to resist all of them.

I almost wish it were as simple as giving us all a potion to swig or a cocktail of them. Bring on the Soma.

But it's all done, quite simply, with the glowing screen, before which children are stationed from their very first breaths, and from which they do not EVER stray far--a lock-grip now,  with all the portable devices, made all the easier to exert and all the LESS unusual..It's pharmacological to the extent that it's neuro-chemical.  If you watch 'em, though, people consulting their Ipads/pods/etc are just as furiously pursuing a fix as any junkie chasing down a needle and a nickel bag.
@[301216049998351:274:Truth Emerges]

Well, shout the scolds who are now just starting to notice that things are NOT as rosy as they had been led their lives-long to believe and cherish, you let it happen! WE let it happen!

No, "We" didn't "let it happen." That's a filthy canard. In a class with free will. It's exactly the way  rapists can blame their prey for being there to be raped. The "You could have stopped it!" meme requires US--the victims--take the blame for what was done TO us. Consciously, with forethought and premeditation. And with terrible resolve.

We gotta understand what "we" would have had to have prohibited. To do that we gotta go back about 100 years, for practical purposes--though the story really begins with the 'discovery" of the "Masses" bu sociologists a generation or so before. Guys with names like Weber and Durkheim. Directly and indirectly, they influenced Sigmund Freud, and Freud changed everything--especially later.

Freud had a nephew in America named Edward Bernays, one of that generation of Americans who were to Wilson what the vanguard intellectuals were to Lenin, with whom they were all contemporaries. Bernays took an interest in his uncle's insights about human motivation--sex and death, the centrala ones--and he recognized in that insight a clue to controlling the Masses which were quickly and soon burgeoning and clamoring for influence. But he was also an eclectic reader and man of letters, He had an European university education, so was fluent in several languages and conversant in many fields.

I admit that this point is speculative on my part. I haven't done the digging to irrebuttably support the claim I'm about to make, but it seems irrefutable to me that Bernays saw the connections and implications among Pavlov's work in what we now call "operant conditioning," and he would certainly have been fluent in the instrumentalist ethics of industrial "Taylorism"--what is now called "scientific management"--and he was already versed in his uncle's "eros" and "thanatos" understandings. He mumbled a few words, in about 1919, and invented the Public Relations industry which has, in various forms and constellations, controlled the destiny of the planet for the next, now almost a century.

"We" had no more possibility of resisting tha onslaught than an ant colony can resist a flood.

And , No, "we" didn't try to "stop it" or to "prevent" it.
But hat again is a canard.
Stop what? Prevent what? The most extravagant spree of national consumption in history?
There were folks who foresaw it: Ed Abbey, for one.
But the appeal was overwhelm
It rode--fuck, it exploited--the euphoria of the USer/Allied victories in WW II. It was part of the "American Dream."
The new cars, and the rituals that attended their annual unveiling?
The television?
How old were you, when they sat you down the first time. If you were born after 1955, you were a captive of the flickering screen before your first birthday. The genius of the thing is the flickering screen. Human vision began its evolution in the water, where you must pay attention to flickering because that's how most predators look when they're fixing to have you for dinner. Our eyes evolved to be perfect receptors for the (first) motion picture and then the seemingly now endless permutations of the blinking pixel. It's bloody mesmerizing. Watch a room where there's a tv screen on but no images on it. People keep checking over there, checking that they're not missing something

And don't make the BIGGER mistake of claiming to be immune. You're not.
If you think there's a difference between Bud and Coors, or Nike/Puma, or Dodge/Ford, then you've been recruited, brother.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ed Beat: Raving; Semi-Breaking Scandal; Another "Fix" In; The Common Corpse

Mini-Rave! From "Dr. Woody'z Little Known Facts from the Archives of Educational Statistics":
This usually comes as a grave shock to the system of the drill-n-skill, test-score mavens: In the "science" of psychometry--intelligence testing, in plain terms--there is NO statistically significant difference between IQ scores between 85 and IQ 115.
The "mean" is 100, and one Standard Deviation--about 15 points--in either direction can MORE easily be, MORE LIKELY (probabilistically )to be, a matter of chance than of superior or inferior aptitude. Almost 70% of all 'test scores' will fall between those points. 
The first Standard Deviation (on both sides of the Mean) accounts for about 68% of all variance. The next, on both sides account for another 28%. That's a total of 96% of ALL variance inside the first TWO Std. Devs. Third and beyond: only 4%, top and bottom (and turtles all the way down).
The best book ever written about the 'science' of psychometry, its history, and its manifold and manifest failings, foibles, and fabulists is Stephen J. Gould's The Mismeasure of Man.
If you only ever read one book about the rat-trap and cess-pool of educational statistics, it should be this one.This is the book which answered--hell, it demolished--the controversial, 1994 book, The Bell Curve, a decade before the latter was written.

Hot Off the Presses:  According top published reports, administrators in a highly-publicized, much-admired CorpoRat-private/charter school ordered teachers to delete failing grades from reports of student progress in order to bolster the claims by the school of its superiority, effectiveness, and efficiency.
No, really.
A for-profit school that was hyped by Republican lawmakers as a solution to Tennessee’s education problems recently admitted deleting bad grades to “more accurately recognize students’ current progress.”
A December email obtained by WTVF showed that Tennessee Virtual Academy’s vice principal instructed middle school teachers to delete “failing grades” from October and September.
“After … looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays,” the email says, adding that each teacher needed to “take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress.”
“If you have given an assignment and most of your students failed that assignment, then you need to take that grade out.”Raw Story (
I, for one, am SHOCKED. SHOCKED, I tell you!


CorpoRat Closures? In Philadelphia, school officials are turning over authority to close "non-performing" schools--invariably in poor and marginalized neighborhood--over to a private corporation, and infuriating many parents. At least 15,000 students in 44 schools city-wide will be affected by the decision, according to reports on the blog, TruthOut.
 Overall, 44 schools will be affected by the shakeup: Of the 37 to be closed, three will relocate by merging with other Philadelphia schools. Beyond this, seven other schools will face major restructuring – i.e., though these school programs will remain intact, the schools themselves will be uprooted and moved to other buildings, merged with other schools, and/or forced to add or subtract grade levels. About 15,000 students will be affected by the proposed changes. And though official numbers have not been released, hundreds of teacher and staff layoffs are also expected.
There is nothing democratic about how this happened to the City of Brotherly Love. Though officials gave lip service to the idea of “parental empowerment” through “school choice,” in the end, parents had no role in deciding what policies would be enforced. Everything was outsourced. As a Pew study reports, the city consulted with “URS Corp., a California-based engineering design firm, and DeJong-Richter, an Ohio-based company that specializes in school-closing issues” to come to its final consensus. Though town hall meetings were organized between 2010 and 2012 to hear citizen concerns, the closures, relocations and reconfigurations  were ultimately decided by the consulting firms, with no serious input from locals.
In other words, the fix was in, from the start, and the kabuki of "community inbolvement" only served to cloak the design.
The Stinking Cor(ps)e: To start a jolly donnybrook, praise the "Common Core Standards" in a room full of teachers with more than five years experience.
The Common Core Standards are the fruit of yet another effort by the "one-size-fits-all" education reformers to "regularize instruction, nationally," in pursuit of higher test scores--which are wrongly hyped as indices of improved student "achievement."
These efforts (most stimulated originally by some ALEC-affiliated organizations like the Gates Foundation) have some harsh critics, not only of the standards themselves, but also of the way they were forced onto State Boards of Education.
One such former State Superintendent is Robert Scott, of Texas, who unleashed a scathing critique of the process recently:
My experience with the Common Core actually started when I was asked to sign on to them before they were written. … I was told I needed to sign a letter agreeing to the Common Core, and I asked if I might read them first, which is, I think, appropriate.  I was told they hadn’t been written, but they still wanted my signature on the letter. And I said, ‘That’s absurd; first of all, I don’t have the legal authority to do that because our [Texas] law requires our elected state board of education to adopt curriculum standards with the direct input of Texas teachers, parents  and business. So adopting something that was written behind closed doors in another state would not meet my state law.’ … I said, ‘Let me take a wait-and-see approach.‘ If something remarkable was in there that I found that we did not have in ours that I would work with our board … and try to incorporate into our state curriculum …
Scott excoriated the backers of the Standards for lacking candor and transparency.

This. - vince

At last report, the scrappy members of the Seattle Teachers Union are still holding firm and gaining support in their District and elsewhere against administering as meaningless, functionless, but "required" State assessment exam, the "MAP." Marchant!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ed Beat: Un-Critical Thinking; Real "Reform"; Michigan Sell Out; Caveats; Reforms.

The Daddy-Party: Legislators in Texas have abandoned all pretense of the appearance of sanity. They have flatly legislated that "Critical Thinking Skills" should NOT be taught in Texas schools: Why?
The Texas GOP spells it out for us: critical thinking challenges fixed beliefs and undermines parental authority.Their concern is understandable. Every culture wants to pass on to its children its own values and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through parental authority. Schools help reinforce social values through indoctrination. The fear is that education designed to have students think critically undermines society by questioning the very values upon which it is based.
Were I still in the professing binness, I'd have special provisions--tests, thinking games, etc.-- for students from Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.


Long Distance: From a Seattle schools source comes this interesting piece about mis- and mal-feasance under the regime of the cryptio-fascisti running MICHIGAN schools. There is every appearance that the State School Supt has acted officially to endorse and enrich a political ally and person fiend:
Utica (MI) has been a wealth of potential for multiple facets of education, art and culture and many of those programs have been decimated to cater to the special interest of profiteers and politicians.
The Broad trained superintendent was hired with the goal of destroying successful educational opportunities and replacing those with opportunities that will benefit private interests.  Christine Johns is one of the most highly compensated Superintendents across the state.  Carol Klenow, who hired Superintendent Johns, will directly profit by running the Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium.

Counter Examples: Meanwhile: From that historical, miasmatic educational swamp, New Jersey, there are encouraging signs:
WHAT would it really take to give students a first-rate education? Some argue that our schools are irremediably broken and that charter schools offer the only solution. The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing poor, mostly immigrant kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing the public schools we have.

Then, there's this, from Canada, but still promising. Inquiry learning. What a novel idea. Have kids learn the "basics" while pursuing information/knowledge of personal interest and concern? Why, I never...
It’s one man’s vision for a new school in tune with the 21st century. Jeff Hopkins, the outgoing superintendent of the Gulf Islands school district, says there’s no school like the one he will add to Greater Victoria’s array of independent high schools: The Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, scheduled to open on Fort Street in September.
For one thing, there won’t be any textbooks, or classrooms of same-age students facing a teacher for set periods of instruction. Instead, students will pursue “personal learning plans” while attaining competency in math, history, sociology, politics and more.
There will not be a teacher telling all of the students to “turn to page 110,” Hopkins says. “Our job would be to help nudge the student into those subject areas as it relates to their inquiry.”

Sobering: A former high school educator has words of warning for the NEXT level of educators who ill have his former students.His words should be alarming.
 "For more than a decade now we have heard that the high-stakes testing obsession in K-12 education that began with the enactment of No Child Left Behind 11 years ago has resulted in high school graduates who don’t think as analytically or as broadly as they should because so much emphasis has been placed on passing standardized tests. Here, an award-winning high school teacher who just retired, Kenneth Bernstein, warns college professors what they are up against. Bernstein, who lives near Washington, D.C. serves as a peer reviewer for educational journals and publishers, and he is nationally known as the blogger “teacherken.” His e-mail address is This appeared in Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Education Beat: Commodities Exchange? Fight Fiercely; Color Lines; ALEC strikes again and again

Education Isn't A Commodity: The money changers, banksters, cut-purses, and loan-sharks are lining up to feed on the US School System, and Prez LowsBarry is in full sympathy:
Events this week revealed how market-driven education policies, deceivingly labeled as “reform,” are revealing their truly destructive effects on the streets and in the corridors of government.
From the streets, we heard from civil rights and social justice activists from urban communities that school turnaround policies mandated by the Obama administration’s education agenda are having disastrous results in the communities they were originally intended to serve.
From the corridors of government, we were presented with irrefutable evidence that leaders driving the reform agenda are influencing public officials to write education laws in a way that benefits corporate interests rather than the interests of students, parents, and schools.
These events, in tandem, reveal an inconvenient truth of education reform that should make anyone who promotes these policies question, “Whose interests are being served here?”

 A Black Eye For Hahvuhd:  Harvard has an honor code, which apparently they ENFORCE. Who gnu"?
This may be the only time when the scions of the Coordinator Class actually have to be accountable to their 'superiors' for their actions. And don't feel badly for 'em: they can always finish at Brown or BC, or some other, second tier school, and they'll STILL get into Wharton:
Students Disciplined in Harvard Scandal
Harvard has forced dozens of students to leave in its largest cheating scandal in memory, the university made clear in summing up the affair on Friday, but it would not address assertions that the blame rested partly with a professor and his teaching assistants.
Harvard would not say how many students had been disciplined for cheating on a take-home final exam given last May in a government class, but the university’s statements indicated that the number forced out was around 70.
The class had 279 students, and Harvard administrators said last summer that “nearly half” were suspected of cheating and would have their cases reviewed by the Administrative Board.
On Friday, a Harvard dean, Michael D. Smith, wrote in a letter to faculty members and students that, of those cases, “somewhat more than half” had resulted in a student’s being required to withdraw.

Color lines: Melissa Harris-Perry Buries The Lead Story on National Wave of Public School Closings


An ALEC "Two-fer": ALEC never sleeps. And don't you believe reports of their demise. NOT TRUE, as the following stories demonstrate:
Three States Pushing ALEC Bill to Require Teaching Climate Change Denial in Schools
By Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog
31 January 13 
he American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - known by its critics as a "corporate bill mill" - has hit the ground running in 2013, pushing "models bills" mandating the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems.
January hasn't even ended, yet ALEC has already planted its "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act" - which mandates a "balanced" teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms - in the state legislatures of Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona so far this year.


Obama's Race To The Top Drives Nationwide Wave of School Closings, Teacher Firings
A nationwide epidemic of school closings and teacher firings has been underway for some time. It's concentrated chiefly in poor and minority communities, and the teachers let go are often experienced and committed classroom instructors, and likely to live in and near the communities they serve, and disproportionately black.

 Wanna Feel Good? Here's a good piece from the heart of the benighted, god-blighted bible-babbling Belt:

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists

"For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference..