Saturday, March 30, 2013

WWH/CJE Soapbox: SCROTUS & Justice

Woody'z never been to law school, though I took the LSAT (151), but my barely repressed 'inner barrister' --or "jailhouse lawyer" if you prefer--is agog: In oral arguments today, Slammin Sammy Alito, demonstrating the acumen which got him onto SCROTUS in the first place, bravely and forthrightly affirmed the right of people to vote on OTHER people's rights. Leave it to the states, sez he...No. Really. He said that....

Where DO they FIND these drooling twatwaffles?

It is, or should be, profoundly embarrassing to USer citizens that a sitting member of the SCROTUS--Alito--would evince in one place so much concentrated ignorance of (or contempt for) the due process and equal protections clauses of the 14th Amendment
--ya know: the "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" part--
Whither the contempt or ignorance unless he were planning to use the case to attack and undermine those very principles, of due process and equal protection. 

Nobody can predict how the divas and legal prima donnas on SCROTUS will decide on the two measures the Constitutionality of which was argued this week. 
Both measures--Prop 8 and DOMA--are self-evidently violations of both the due process and the equal protection clauses. It is SOOO OBVIOUS, even a corrupt asswhole like Scalia and his house servant, Clancy Thomas OUGHT NOT to be able to ignore it.

IF the Justices are honest, they MUST strike down both Prop 8 and DOMA.

But they're not honest. We've seen it a hundred times since 2000. They have (not-so-secret) agendas, one of which, SCROTUS/OPUS DEI-wise, has been to circumscribe already vested civil rights of citizens to seek relief of grievances.

I think that's why nobody seems to want to mention that 14th Amenmdment thing, because they're afraid to remind the OPUS DEists of the opportunity this presents to overturn the 14th Amendmant...which has LONG been a righturd/conservotard/fuckwitz wet dream...

I have always thought that was the underlying motive for hearing the matters. Why are they before the Court? Think about it. It needs four votes to grant "cert," that is, to agree to hear the case. Now the "liberal" wing had no reason to grant cert, since lower courts had already ruled both invalid by reason of unconstitutionality. 

So it had to be the OPUSDEIsts--the gang of Cross--which agreed to hear the cases and who apparently expect to prevail, since they wouldn't have brought the cases forward which they didn't intend to win.

BOTH measures under debate --Prop 8 and DOMA--are PLAINLY in violation of the LETTER of the fucking law. If they are not overthrown, it will severely undermine the power of the amendment, with vast implications.

The righturds have been trying to scuttle it since 1870, or so. These people NEVER quit.
 P.S.: I think Slammin Sammy Alito probably is the most truculently ignorant and/or blithely stupid white person in DC, anymore, since both the Chimperor and Paul Wolfowitz have mostly left town. "Justice Scalia" is the most egregious oxymoron since "military intelligence" or "giant shrimp."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Teh Ed Beat: Charter Thievery, Chicago Blues; Privatizers; Common Fail

Charter Robbery...
: We have mentioned MANY times here that the "charter school" movement, at it's root, is both result of and the tool for the the overwhelming CorpoRat plan for the privatization/destruction of "public schooling," in the USofA. A couple of corpoRat hack/political lickspittles at the NYTimes recently weighed in with an approving, summary piece, the MOST 'critical' part of which reads:
“We’re not providing adequately now,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. “Why would you take away financing from public schools?" Why indeed. The same forces that want to cut taxes for themselves do not want to pay for your public education system. So divide and conquer. Here in NC, they're pushing charter school exemptions like no teacher certification, which will lower wage expenses for profit-driven operations - but at what cost?
Charters were developed primarily to DRAW MONEY and support away from public schools and to enrich educational "entrepreneurs." They do NOT "enhance" student performance, or any other indicators of achievement.They target mainly poor folks with promises they have no intention of keeping, of grants, etc, for schools--the tuition for which the grants do not completely cover.

Here's how it works in Ohio:
Last school year, 6,143 Akron-Canton area students all shared one thing in common: They withdrew from traditional public schools to attend publicly funded, privately run charter schools that had lower academic ratings than the public school they left, according to state data. And as they left, they took with them $46.2 million in tax dollars that otherwise would have gone to the public schools.
What ELSE will school admins and state legislators do to screw with the schools? Here's a useful compendium of recent events in the Nation's glans, Florida.


A Toddling Town: Pres. LowBar's asswhole pal and former Chief of Staff, now Chicago mayor, Rahm, Emanuel, is busy trying to (either) "bring order" to Chicago's tumultuous schools (or) to eliminate yet another focal point for community involvement in minority schools by closing a bunch of them. Communities are resisting.You'll remember the Chicago teachers staged an ineffectual strike last autumn. This is Emanuel's payback for embarrassing him. Emanuel hired as the new superintendent of CPS an executive whose previous experience includes presiding over the collapse of DETROIT's school system. The scheme seems to be an out-right attack on 'neighborhood' schools, but only in SOME neighborhoods.

Even Al Jazeera has noticed and sent reporters to cover the dismal Chicago story.
These closings have been targeted at some of the most depressed and resource-starved communities ... When you shut down schools in those communities, which are often the anchor of the communities, it increases the blight and a lot of the social problems in the community. So it is a big issue in terms of neighbourhood and community issues, aside from the educational problems it causes," said Michael Klonsky, Small Schools Workshop.
It may be nothing but a coincidence, but "neighborhood schools" (in big cities, often a euphemism for "colored" children) in Philadelphia are also under attack from the same bean-counting white people. Parents there are also resisting, though in all these cases, resistance will likely be virtually futile.

Rationale (Snark): Here's an oldie, but a goodie, from 2012, by a teacher who suggests, with considerable irony, that ALL Murka's school problems could be if we'd "Just Privatize!"
IF YOU ARE AN EDUCATION NEWS JUNKIE, and who isn't, you've probably heard Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Governor "Candy Bar" Chris Christie in New Jersey talk about problems in education. Usually, when they mean "problems," they mean teachers and unions. Their favorite solution? Let's privatize America's public schools. It's the Tea Party Holy Grail. If we are to believe what they say we would know that government is always bad and business is pure and good. So let's see how privatizing schools is working in that place we liberals call "reality."
Not all that fucking well, from the data and the anecdotal evidence. Oh, it works fine for one class of students--wealthy/advantaged. They could got to school in tents and sheds and wouldn't be affected. They get the majority of their instruction in the home, anyway. It's poor, lower-clazss and minority kids who get it in the shortz, and not just in Catholic schools.


Follow the Money: And now, finally, two pieces about the "Common Core Curriculum," a bit of standardization designed to assist the entrepreneur/predator capitalists to make the wholesale capture of the schools (and their BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars)  easier. Both are from the blod of former Raygunaut ed warrior, Diane Ravitch who, along with (now Sen) Lamar Alexander, the bloated, bloviating national scold and formere Ed Sec Bill Bennett, led the way to "reform" USer schools after "A Nation At Rish, and who NOW--finally--has apparently seen the error of her ways (though appallingly LATE in her career).

In "Exploring the Origins of the Common Core," a Ravitch colleague, Jim Martinez divulges the fully political (as opposed to the educational) impetus of the plan. One of the heavyweights, Marilyn Jagger Adams, was previously a colleague of Ravichs' amont the Raygunauts. She wields the heavy hand of institutionalized "fonix."

In a a critique on her work in the 1990s that refers to her government directed research on phonics instruction, several of my own former friends and colleagues take Adams' claims apart.
Common Core includes in it’s history, No Child Left Behind and other national educational policy reports dating back to A Nation At Risk (1983). It’s important to remember that most research is government funded and so it is unfair to critique educational research for it’s funding source. However, it is absolutely fair to question who gets to decide what the research is about and how that research is presented and used.

Adams and her cohort of flunkies have been granted audiences incredibly disproportionate to the amount (or lack) of agreement their research has engendered

Our last bit, today, is an interesting musing by a working teacher on the purposes of the Common Core, and she concludes the REAL purpose is to ensure that SOME children and schools will ALWAYS fail: 
(W)e were told that it would be possible at some point for all students to be successful. Assessment was designed to create a culture where all students would, in a few years, be “Proficient and Above.” The Bell Curve was out. The reality is that the finish line (the level at which one must achieve to be designated proficient/successful) has constantly and continuously been moving. The reason is to ensure that we would *never* reach that point and that there would always be failures. CC is the next step in ensuring failure – the real, although largely unspoken, goal.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

WWH/CJE Citizens' Dispatch: "Oooo-oooo, That Smell..."

Today I want to say something that I think it is very possible you have thought, but have probably not actually HEARD before. But before I do, I feel I need to add a disclaimer, because as Chomsky said, you can be telling truth, but if folks haven't heard it before, they'll just think you're crazy.

Here's what I wonder if you've heard before (other than from the strange voices in your head):
The Capitalist class, the "elite," the Owners, are INDEED endeavoring to bring down the popular sovereignty of the government of the USofA. They are doing it two ways: 1) by constantly and aggressively amping up citizen discontent, through their lap-dog SCUM/press, meanwhile 2) undermining it from the inside by crippling its operations by partisan manipulations of Congress, and further exacerbating and exaggerating the comlaints. (Think Postal Service)
The Owners, Oners, and Oligarchs don't want only all the money, they consciously and malignantly desire to effect the demise of all but the empty forms of "popular, democratic self-government." That popular sovereignty bullshit got in their way. So in the 50s, they got organized, and started spending lots of money, and now they've just about finished the process of fatally undermining it by forcibly alienating the People from their allegiance to their formerly honored democratic principles.
There. It's said.

Alienation! Everyday, more and more people have occasion to regard their troubled, sometimes desperate conditions, see problems that are only soluble at the scale of concerted social action, and throw up their hands in despair because their Govt isn't there for THEM!

I think there is plenty of evidence to support this view. Just think of how far (and how justifiably, it appears) you are from admiration for the workings of our government? Was NASA the last time? Were you privately disemployed by the recession and unable to regain your former status? Do you envy the workers for their jobs? Do you hate the IRS? Are you worried about DHS and "Homeland Security" and the baleful implications of those terms? Has your unemloyment insurance expired? Do you have a toothache and no money?   

Or, take something like the Citizens United decision.

It's terribly destructive to the interests of individual citizens and small groups, and it is incredibly beneficial to the interests of the elite, corpoRat/Capitalist class, to bestow upon the most powerful and wealthiest individuals and groups the ability to "speak" politically in proportion to their power and wealth. That is what the CU decision did.

To overturn it WOULD be in the best interests of far and a way the vastly larger body of electors who do NOT have millions of dollars to drop into political races to influence the outcome. But to overturn a BAD judicial decision requires the efforts and agreement of a majority of legislators to undo the damage. However, unfortunately, at the moment, and for the foreseeable future, an even LARGER majority of legislators owe their positions--and it is a MIGHTY SA-WEEET life--to the corpoRat interests that any such legislation would weaken and whose power would be thereby reduced, and so would use their captive congresscritters to oppose and defeat.

So guess what? 

You can send all the letters you want, you can e-mail yer Senator til you burn out your circuits, you can hand-deliver petitions signed in blood, and it won't make ANY difference. There will be NO constitutional amendment passed out of Congress to overturn Citizens United, or corpoRat personhood, either, for that matter--NOT in the life-time of anyone reading or hearing these words, anyway.

And in capsule version, that's the precis, as it were, of the whole CorpoRat strategy for the destruction of democratic self-government in general, in the USofA. It's a sort of 'neutron bomb' strategy; it's supposed to hollow out the structure, leaving the pieces in tact but removing the inhibitors to complete corpoRat hegemony.

I bet you thought, when you thought that, if you ever thought that, that you were crazy, dincha?

Well yer not.
Democratic popular sovereignty  and economic capitalism have always been the most uncomfortable of bed-mates. The two are, in fact, structurally antithetical. Democracy is NO GOOD for the capitalist class. Capitalism implies and virtually always exhibits a hierarchical, top-down, monopolistic power arrangement. Power is seldom shared and never gladly. Capitalism is an intrinsically totalitarian (at a minimum, a highly authoritarian) system. Popular sovereignty requires the exact opposite of that.

So nothing about democracy is comfortable in a capitalist economy. Of course, the opposite is also true: Nothing about capitalism is actually friendly to democratic self-government: nothing about democracy is actually any good for capitalism--UNLESS they can capture the forms and gut all the "democracy" out. Which is what the Oligarchs have been up to since the '50s.

The Capitalist oligarchy has used the last 50 years of saturation media indoctrination to persuade the proles that it is no longer worth their time and energy to concern themselves with governance, and that it would be FAR better for them to turn the whole mess over to the Wise Businessmen in Boardrooms. 

To effect this they spent countless millions--BILLIONS--of dollars to make the "Gummint" so corrupt that the people lose, are losing or have already completely lost belief in it. Remember Reagan's infamous nine words. He was the Kommandant of the ante-penultimate stage of the coup.

They made it so unresponsive that the people came to detest it; then, at the same time, they made it overbearing, so the people began to begin to fear it. Then make it impossible to change, to drive them into a depression of impotence. 

It was a brilliant and monstrously effective plan, the outlines of which are still to be found today in the Powell memorandum. Google it.

The true genius of the plan as it unfolded was the development and application of a chillingly, monstrously effective psychological torture tool. It's called "learned helplessness." Which is slightly a misnomer, "Compelled" is closer to it, but I don't want to take much time about it now. Google it. It's the de facto/default method by which the US military psych officers extract intel from insurgent detainees in the camps. 

And it is pretty obviously the preferred strategy of the toadies and sycophants of the Owners to gain "compliance" from the citizenry, through the endless streams and screams of CRISIS, and EMERGENCY, and MAYHEM permeating our own, domestic social firmament. If you 1) had noticed and 2) were looking for the source of the stench at the heart of our politics, beyond the still rotting corpse of Raygun, this is probably it.

They've been perfecting this particular phase of the operation for about 30 years. They've gotten too good at it to stop, now. It rolls along by its own inertia. Unstoppable. Because it works. So WELL!

If I see ya down to the beach, hippies, and we'll work it out, if a beer and a bong can be of any help...I don't think anything else is going to.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ed Beat: Forp Yksmohc speaks; "Teh Stooopit!" Bloody Charters!

Ed Beat: Forp Yksmohc speaks; "Teh Stooopit!" Bloody Charters!
From Powell Memo To Tri-lateral Commission: Chomsky on Education and the Oligarchs. The PTB were greatly upset with and terrified of the eruption of people and student power in the 60s, and decided to kill it off. Enter the "Powell Memo":
Powell drew the obvious conclusion: “The campuses from which much of this criticism emanates are supported by tax funds generated largely from American business, contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees at universities are overwhelmingly composed of men and women who are leaders in the business system and most of the media, including the national TV systems are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend on profits and the enterprise system on which they survive.”
Therefore, the oppressed business people who have lost all influence should organize and defend themselves instead of idly sitting by while fundamental freedoms are destroyed by the Marxist onslaught from the media, universities and the government. Those are the expression of the concerns elicited by '60s activism at the right end of the mainstream spectrum.
The solution? Impose economic hardship, reduce educatiuonal opportunities, make it more expensive, and impose conservative 'litmus tests.' It worked.


Meanwhile, How Stupid Is TOO Stupid: Participatory democracy requires a certain amount of critical acumen and discernment from its benefactors. There are doubts whether or not Murkins still possess the necessary qualities.
The study cited above which found that people in the UK, Denmark and Finland are significantly better informed about the issues of the day noted that some of the differences can be attributed to various models of media funding. The three European countries all have more public television and radio, which the researchers found offered more hard news and analysis, and less puffery.
Education is another big difference. In those countries, spending on education is more or less uniform between schools and school districts. In the U.S., the amount spent on education varies wildly by school, district and state. And while it's in vogue to blame teachers and their unions for what ails our educational system, the reality is that poverty and inequality are the driving forces behind our kids' relatively low educational outcomes.
As Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford, recently told AlterNet, “students in American schools where fewer than 10 percent of the students live in poverty actually are number one in the world in reading. The place where we really see the negative effects are in the growing number of schools with concentrated poverty, where more than 75 percent of children are poor. The children in those schools score at levels that are near those of developing countries.”
It IS ALWAYS money that matters: The ZIP Code of a student's family residence is a better predictor of 'academic success' than any other bit of personal data.

Charter/Charnel Schools: I spent about a year before starting my LSU working for the Morning Adequate (the local daily paper, the "Advocate") covering the River parishes, out of town, north and south of the capitol: parish council, school boards, etc. By 1985 or so, the only white kids NOT in "private schools" were poor and/or disabled.
Covering the Lege, it was depressing listening to predominantly white, "middle class" legislators deciding how LITTLE money they could spend in St. John's parish (e.g.), and get away with it. It wasn't spoken so baldly, but the implications were clear... Teachers didn't flee, but as the white parental support left, the influence of public schools in the State declined and resources were redirected or dried up. That pattern is visible all over the South.
I'mv NOT blaming the schools. They do the best with what they're given. But when there's no local property base to supplement the state appropriation, and that is the absolute bare minimum that can be gotten for mostly black schools from mostly white legislators, schools and students suffer.>
Charter schools are usually only a means by which greed-heads can mine the local school funds for their own enrichment and fuck the kids.
Chas Roemer is a dick, btw.

Speaking of Charter Schools: Charter Schools have been used all over the country as camouflage by which christard, religious interests have been able to import their theocratic curricula into 'public schools. Bill Moyers provided this interactive map to afford you a way to track the inroads the Dominionist fuckers are making in YOUR schools.
Speaking of Christurds: These fuckers never give  up, either. Texas is home to another/renewed assault on affirmative action in admissions.
In this case, an average, but white, girl is suing the State and UT-A for denying her a place, while admitting "minority" students whom she regards as "not as qualified." This is grist for the mill of the "colorblind" set I recommend you read the text to prepare yourself for the next time some idiotic, racist fucktard makes the same argument.

Back to the Future: Elsewhere on the ReSeg Front: North Carolina schools are trying to use Charter Schools to resegregate theit public schools.
No, Really.
North Carolina could soon see a dramatic increase in the number of charter schools, with as many as 150 of the public-private hybrids opening across the state next year.
But new research from Duke University suggests the charter school boom will result in greater racial imbalance in the state's public education system -- and that can have negative educational consequences for students.
North Carolina limited the number of charter schools that could operate in the state to 100 until 2011. That's when the General Assembly -- with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction and embracing a school-choice agenda -- lifted the cap.
Charter schools are K-12 schools that are publicly funded but privately run, are exempt from some regulations that traditional public institutions must follow, and are attended by choice rather than by assignment. Though operated as nonprofits, some are managed by for-profit corporations.
See what truly creative use of the Charter Schools can do? Take you back to the glory days of the '60s!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WH/CJE Soapbox: Fragile, Handle With Care.

On FB, the other day, someone quoted Sy Hersch's recent long, retrospective article in the New Yorker, on the 10th Anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, where Hersh is asking:
What’s up with our Constitution? How could a small group of hard-line conservatives around President Bush, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and a few neoconservatives so quickly throw us over the cliff? This included not only a war fought on false pretenses but also a system of torture and indefinite detention that, in far too many cases, ran against our laws and values (and was only partially checked by the Supreme Court). It’s not enough to blame it on the fear, anger, and confusion brought on by the 9/11 attacks. What happened to our press corps with its alleged independence and its commitment to the First Amendment and the values of the rest of the Bill of Rights? What about Congressional oversight—laughable in the run-up to the war, and even more laughable today, as American enters its twelfth year of its worldwide War on Terror. Is our Constitution that fragile?
And the answer, of course, is YES. It is THAT fragile. and bringing it down was was EASY! Pitifully, painfully, predictably EASY! Piece of cake, in fact. And it could hgave happened at any time in the previous 230 or so years.

The Constitution, the Congress, the Executive, all of Government itself, existed on a knife edge from 1789 until about 1990.

It ALWAYS functioned on nothing more than a sort of "Gentleman's agreement" that the winners oif periodic elections would have won the right to govern until at least the next election.

But it was a tenuous 'peace.' It could have broken at any time. The particicipants coioperated to hold it together. Everybody knew it was fragile.  So they were careful. They were polite. They were collegial. Because they new it all hung on an unenforceable agreement.

Until Reagan. Everything that is malign, evil, despicable, wrong, depraved, and foul about our politics today starts with "the Great Communicator," or more precisely, with his handlers and puppeteers.

The Raygunauts came into power on the basis of what, when Benedict Arnold did it, was called treason: Negotiating with the enemy.

No, really.

Well BEFORE the election of 1980, the Raygunaut/GOPhux (Poppi Bush, and soon-to-be CIA Director Bill Casey), with the assistance of the CIA, met with agents of the Mullahs in Paris, and offered a separate deal to the Iranians holding the US hostages from the Tehran Embassy: If they'd hold 'em til AFTER the presidential election, and deny Carter his  "October Surprise," once Jimmeh was gone and Ronnie was in, they'd sell the Iranians arms to fight off Saddam Hussein, whom the US was sponsoring in HIS war on Iran.

The Iranians bought it. Carter didn't get his October Surprise, Reagan "won," and as a token of the agreement, they released the hostages on Raygun's inauguration day. Reagan and the Conservoturds were victorious.

The damage was done, to the 'gentleman's agreement,' however.

It was always vulnerable, of course. It only EVER needed somebody to say: fuck it, I ain't playing by these rules anymore. Until the Raygunauts, however, nobody'e ever pushed the envelope that far. Then it was a done deal, and there was absolutely NOTHING anybody could do to prevent it, nothing anybody could do to UNDO it.

They shat the bed that was our form of government, defiled and befouled it, and beshat, defiled, and befouled it remains to this day.
Enjoy it! Or at least get USED to the stench. Cuz it's not gonna change...

Friday, March 15, 2013

As the Cookie Crumbles: Habent Papem, Non Habent Mamem.

I've decided that my main interest in the new Pope is to make Catholics uncomfortable about him, as the SPIRITUAL HEAD of their Church, right from the from the start, such that they will want to reject him and whatsoever "teachings" he propounds, and leave the Church in disgust and shame and confusion over the cognitive dissonances of it all.

He could NOT have been a person high in the Church hierarchy during the Dirty War and NOT have known what the Generals were doing
This "Pope" is a full-on player in the power game. DIRTY-DIRTY-DIRTY! Steeped in the blood and the stench of injustice.

The Dirty War: "Anti-communism" radiating from Washington permitted anything. Kissinger and the CIA had already taken down Allende. You could do ANYTHING against the "Communists."

And the Dude went right along, including with the junta policy of "disappearing' protesters.

He never complained.

Never tried to intervene.

That he's alive and powerful--0that he's the goddam POPE, today--is proof positive of his complicity: Cuz if he objected, they'd have killed him; like the Rightwing Junta did Cardinal Romero in Salvador when he tried to object.

Papa Frankie's a fucking fascist pig.

As is anyone who reaches that kind of power in that medieval monstrosity called the Church.

The Catholic Church sure seems to appreciate consistency, naming now a South American fascist as the new Pope, after having had the REAL McCOY--der Echte-- since 2005, and a Polish anti-communist before that, and then the endless line of Italian fascisti back some centuries. The Church probably suggested the institutional shape and characteristics of "fascismo" to Mussolini.

As for 'reform": He's a Jesuit. The Jesuits were created  1540 (?) as an arm of the 'church militant,' as defenders of the faith, God's Marines, the Pope;s Enforcers, the shock-troops of the COUNTER-REFORMATION. 

So don't look for any breaches in dogma from Papa Frankie...No, no. He's old school.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ed Beat: Privateers, Ahoy! DisAppointment; Nightmarish; Really; Reistance; Racism

Ed Beat: Privateers, Ahoy! DisAppointment; Nightmarish; Really; Reistance; Racism

Profit Centers in Schools: Remember how, a couple of weeks ago, I noted that NYC Mayor Michaerl Bloombberg was investing money and influence in a school-board election in Los Angeles? Well, it's over and the billionaires won:
(T)he pervasive media mythology tells us that the fight over the schoolhouse is supposedly a battle between greedy self-interested teachers who don’t care about children and benevolent billionaire “reformers” whose political activism is solely focused on the welfare of kids. Epitomizing the media narrative, the Wall Street Journal casts the latter in sanitized terms, re-imagining the billionaires as philanthropic altruists “pushing for big changes they say will improve public schools.”
The first reason to scoff at this mythology should be obvious: it simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called “reform” movement. Indeed, to state that pervasive assumption out loud is to reveal how utterly idiotic it really is – and yet it is baked into almost all of today’s coverage of education politics.
 Woody'll guarantee you: These skeevy, greasy, skin-flint goat-fuckers do not give a reeking, dripping, runny, globular SHIT about children's educations. Only the money they can scoop out and run away with.

 Speaking of LA: ANYTHING that has the name "Walton" on it, and is in any way tied to that fucking slag, Michelle Rhee, is BAD NEWS!

Now the Walton family — which derives its fortune from the Arkansas-based Walmart — is trying to use that fortune to bring Walmart-style education to Los Angeles.
The Waltons have long supported efforts to privatize education through the Walton Family Foundation as well as individual political donations to local candidates. Since 2005, the Waltons have given more than $1 billion to organizations and candidates who support privatization. They’ve channeled the funds to the pro-charter and pro-voucher Milton Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization and high-stakes testing organization Students First, and the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice, where Walton family member Carrie Walton Penner sits on the board.
In addition to funding these corporate-style education reform organizations, since 2000 the Waltons have also spent more than $24 million bankrolling politicians, political action committees, and ballot issues in California and elsewhere at the state and local level which undermine public education and literally shortchange students.
Duncan: A True DisAppointment: If Prez. LowBar had actually had the best interests of kids, teachers, and schools in mind, instead of the interests of the corpoRats, privatizers, and charter-school hacks, he'd have appointed Linda Darling-Hammond as his Secretary of Education, instead of that corpoRat-banker butt-boy, Duncan.


 To Complete the Nightmare: Collecting and selling student/school data to private mfgrs to use to develop apps to SELL to schools as part of an IT curriculum? This IS Orwellian.
This coordination, in turn, is likely to attract even more technology entrepreneurs to a market for educational IT spending estimated to be worth $20 billion in 2013. And similar to the way that electronic health records promise to reduce costs and increase efficiency and effectiveness in medicine, the use of centrally hosted data, says Streichenberger, offers similar cost savings and improvements in education.
But the very moves that make this idea a huge opportunity from the point of view of edtech entrepreneurs—the ability to find a large market for learning games and systems all in one place, to pull student data automatically, and to coordinate effortlessly with other apps—makes parents “horrified,” in the words of school activist Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters.
“There are no limitations on the time-frame, or the kind of data. There’s no provision for parental consent or opt-out. The point is to give our kids’ data away for free, and share it as widely as possible with for-profit ventures to help them market and develop their learning products,” she says. ”For-profit vendors are slavering right now at the prospect of being able to get their hands on this info. and market billions of dollars of worth of so-called solutions to our schools.”
Collecting student data, which properly BELONGS to the students themselves, and selling it to IT "entrepreneurs" eagerly looking for ways to get into the School "money-pot," seems pretty skeevy to me. Maybe they can use it to develop better "tests."
No, Really!
“Developing better tests of student learning in the 21st century is as futile as attempting to find a faster horse and buggy would have been in the 20th century.” Douglas Reeves, “A Framework for Assessing 21st Century Skills”...According to Reeves, It is “not possible to reconcile the demands of 21st century skills with the realities of the traditional testing environment.”

Meanwhile: The Seattle teachers are STILL resisting.
A boycott by Seattle teachers of a widely used standardized test has attracted national attention and given new momentum to a growing protest movement that seeks to limit standardized testing in U.S. public schools.

Is It "Racism?" Individuals of all and any stripes, colors, or ethnicities may be bigoted, biased, discriminating assholes.
But bigotry, bias, and discrimination are NOT "racism."
Racism is found, it CONSISTS, in the social consensus which PERMITS certain bigotries and biases to occur for the (implicit) purpose to disempower a despised minority, to injure them, to deny or deprive them of their just share of the social "goods" enjoyed in consequence of our 'corporate' associations. 

It is not the acts themselves, but the conditions that permit them to go unrebuked, unremarked, that is 'racism.'
This is why, to the inevitable fury and consternation of so many, I can confidently say there are virtually ZERO incidents of "reverse racism" in the USofA, because there are very very very few cases wherein blacks COULD employ racial bigotry, bias, or discrimination to oppress whites.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ed Beat: What Knowledge Is Of The Greatest Worth? Zombies, Coming For Your Brains; ALEC in Enchanted-land; For Profit? Fail!

Curriculum Question: The single most essential question educators must try to answer is "What knowledge is of the greatest value?" It is the basic issue in all questions about curriculum. And it is no simple thing to address. The blog at the WaPo takes an informative and interesting poke at the matter.

Christurds: Like Zombies, They Never, EVER Stop: And they want your brains! No, really!

Bill Moyers recently took up the matter of church/state separation in schools, in a "take action" segment recommending "Five Ways to Keep Creationism out of Public Schools." These seem to be possibly practicable alternatives.

Strangely, it seems as though the Adults are far less concerned about this phenomenon than are some kids. The other morn on Alternet there was a great story about five teenage students who, during the last couple of years, have exercised their rights NOT to be afflicted by Christurd orthodoxy in their schools: Zak Coppelin of Louisiana, Jessica Ahlquist, in Connecticut,  Krystal Meyers in Tennessee, and in the very belly of the beast in Texas, Corwyn Shulz and Mark Reyes.


ALEC Does Santa Fe: Tha' wascawwy fascist-front, astroturf "wobby," ALEC, a vile and despicable concatenation of  private/corpoRat "interests" endeavoring to engineer a social climate comfortable for their for their future plans, are dabbling in New Mexico's schools, both through the (gratefully, still-pending) appointment of former Florida ALEC school functionary Hanna Skandera, and legislatively through the huge ALEC constituency in the seats of the House and Senate.  Though not a recent contribution, I think this essay from a New Mexico teacher is germane to many in her profession and situation. Among other things, according to the author:

In 2010, Governor Martinez picked Hanna Skandera to lead our Public Education Department. Skandera arrived from Florida with no knowledge of New Mexico and no classroom experience whatsoever. Instead, she came with reams of ALEC legislation dripping from her pockets.

After two years of failing to convince our legislators to pass a version of the ALEC “teacher and leader quality act,” which advocates firing teachers whose students don’t make enough “growth” on standardized tests, Skandera and the governor have turned to executive rulemaking to enact it, and embarked on this plan last week. I'm no fan of No-Suzanna Martinez, the oil-soaked Tejana carpetbagger who rode BIG Houston money into the mansion in Santa Fe, and dragged the dregs of the Roverian swamp along with her. (Sorry if this seems too local a peg, but the issues are universal.)

Profit Source?: Has AERA "sold out" to the CorpoRats?
It surely has begun to look like it, if one peruses the pages of the most prominent education research journals, according to Morna McDermott McNulty, an Associate Professor in the College of Education at Towson University. In former days, the pages were filled with research notes, reports and comments from academics at Universities. Nowadays, the authors are more likely to come from privately funded, NOT disinterested "fundations."
One would like to believe that a journal of such “prestige” in education or at least a large readership (as the Ed. Researcher) would recognize the scholarship of education researchers, teacher educators, and teachers…but not in this current issue. Today, while perusing the articles in this issue something about the authors just “struck” me as a curious thing, something worth investigating. Something caught my eye- the number of authors that work for non-profits and/or corporations associated with education, and how few were actually sole educators/professors of institutions of higher education or public education.


Higher Ed. Fail: : Dr. Woody doezn't know in what year the dread deed actually occurred, but whenever it was, in my humble opinion the idea of a "college education" meaning anything more than a credential-granting, exotic, expensive trade school died with the creation if the first "college" of business.  

At that moment, the idea of the "liberal education" perished.

A business "degree" does nothing but confer a patina of academic 'respectability' on base, corrupt, banal mercantilism, about which there is nothing "theoretical," or philosophical, or fit to subject to a 'discipline,' other than, as JK Galbraith noted, to discover the ultimate justification for selfishness.

I have frequently averred that imho it is functionally impossible to conduct a democratic polity in the sway, in the life-and-death grasp, of a totalitarian economy, and such knowledge led me to believe that 'capitalism' was/is fundamentally incompatible with political democracy. 

That, I believe, is because capital operates on the premise that everything/everyone is for sale at some price, and that is or should be anathema to the idea of honest, popular governance. "Business degrees" made capitalism 'respectable."

There's a poli-sci term which crystalizes the not infrequent event of a regulatory agency having been colonized by the industr(y/ies) over which it is the designated "authority." It is a common, probably inevitable, concomitant of the "revolving door"--so called--between industries and regulatory agencies. It's a kind of symiosis which teeters precariously close, and too often topples headlong into parasitism.

It's called "capture." The regulatory authority of bureaucratic Govt was "captured" long since by corpoRat wealth. The "capture" was accomplished BEFORE the onset of the latest, 30-year binge, which has only obscenely exacerbated the differences and inequalities.

It's not difficult and it's not terribly expensive, as those oil companies learned which conducted drug, sex, and booze-soaked bacchanals with and for the Interior Dept office factota in Denver office charged with regulating them...

Oh, and I can provide you with the entire curriculum you'd get in 5 semesters at Wharton in five sentences:
5) Never give a sucker an even break.
4) A fool and his money are soon parted, and there's another fool born every minute.
3) There are three important factors in business success: Location, location, and location.
2) Buy low and sell high.
And finally, the mainspring of all the rest:
1) You CAN cheat an honest man!
Here's what disaster capitalism looks like in Chicago's public schools.