Welcome to the racing world of my inner mind. As a mother, teacher, and advocate for all children, my mind swirls with the issues we are faced with today. This blog welcomes you to ponder and wonder with me as we think about the ideas that matter...the big ideas.
If you haven't read my Einstein against
standardization entry yet, please read that here.It is an important entry to read before you move
on to this one on the brazen effort to get the business world's interest peaked
in this, "...amazing
moment for private equity investors to explore for-profit education
Yes, you have heard it here, and
actually it is no secret at all. That line of marketing genius comes from this ad, which attempts to grab the interest of
investors looking for the next big money making opportunity.
"This is a
long-overdue shift the public has been clamoring for -- measuring quality
by what students are able to master, not by time spent in a classroom -- and
the private sector is offering numerous opportunities to ride this wave."
Really? We are clamoring
for this? You think we want you to
ride the wave at our children's expense?
Not only are these opportunists
salivating at the thought of getting their hands on our tax dollars, but the
Kindergarten - 12th grade is not enough. They are sinking their talons on the
higher education "market," as well.
That is the reason business and education
shouldn't mix. Business people see a market, educators
Unleash powerful market forces...?
I am so naive. I thought he was going
to say something about his belief that students will benefit, and learning will
They are selling kid's
I wonder why they want so much data...
"...The most influential new
product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the
academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children
identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning
disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some
cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward
school - even homework completion. Local education officials retain legal
control over their students' information. But federal law allows them to share
files in their portion of the database with private companies selling
educational products and services.Entrepreneurs can't wait.”
is going to be a huge win for us," said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at
CompassLearning, which sells education software. Read about it here.
“The database is a joint project of the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the
Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states.
Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch's news corps, built the infrastructure over the past 18
months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a
newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.”
“States and school districts can
choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the
service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to
charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states - Colorado, Delaware, Georgia,
Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts - have committed to enter
data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering
nearly all student records statewide.”
It states that parents are spooked....indeed. UPDATE: "After months caught in the crosshairs of parents, advocates, and educators concerned about student-data privacy, controversial nonprofit
inBloom announced... that it will close its doors." Guess who stopped it? PARENTS. Read more here. And it is not over: " Leonie (Haimson) almost singlehandedly stopped the effort to mine student data,
whose sponsors wanted confidential and identifiable information about
every child “for the children’s sake.” Leonie saw through that ruse and
raised a national ruckus to fight for student privacy. Privacy of
student records is supposedly protected by federal law (FERPA), but Arne
Duncan weakened the regulations so that parents could not opt out of
the data mining. It is not over. The Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation put up
$100 million to start inBloom, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation
got the contract to develop the software, and amazon.com plans to put it
on a “cloud.” They will be back. We count on Haimson and the many
parents she has inspired to remain vigilant on behalf of our children.
As a grandparent of a child in second grade in a Brooklyn public school,
I have a personal interest in keeping his information private."
Is Pennsylvania next? Keep an eye out.
know my school district’s on-line grade book is a Pearson product…)
Even our colleges aren't safe...
Read below about what Diane Ravitch
posted on her blog about the Gates Foundation and higher ed:
this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Just as it has done in K-12 education,
the foundation has bought the research, bought the evaluations, bought the
advocacy groups, and even bought the media that reports on what the foundation
But as the article reveals, good
journalists have a tendency to tell the full story, even if their employer is
on the Gates' dole."
"The story is shocking. It describes an
experimental online degree program with no traditional professors or courses.
"Instead, students progress by showing mastery of 120
"competencies," such as "can use logic, reasoning, and analysis
to address a business problem."
Here is the typical, local way to
address the business problem of corporations taking over schools...
By the time most communities get to
this point, the struggle is difficult to win.
We need to speak up long before it is
in our own neighborhood. Our neighbors & friends in Philadelphia, New
Orleans, Chicago, LA, New York, and now the suburbs of DC, and entire states, like North Carolina (Which is destroying their public education system) are being sacrificed:
"According to the National
Association of Counties (NACo), Prince George’s County—which lies on the
eastern border of Washington, D.C, and is home to nearly 900,000 people and
125,000 students who attend the county’s schools—is the first county in the
United States where the executive has that level of control over a formerly
autonomous school district. It is similar to some cities, such as Philadelphia,
where the mayor appoints school board members."
This blogger hopes that once our eyes are open, that we will just say no...
"Once people realize that their
own children are being experimented upon and used for profits, the greed grab
will end. The testing craze, the corporate education reform industry, the
for-profit and non-profit charter industry, the online educational programing
business, etc. will dwindle and either die out or become minuscule."
"The profit margins are estimated, the marketing planned, and the
technologies used to lure parents into believing that purchasable technology
and the education of their children are one and the same thing – all of these
and more are planned with little or no long term proof or assurances that
children will benefit as little human beings. Create a brand. Do market research.
Sell-Sell-Sell. Use fear marketing or exclusive-limited-edition appeal –
whatever. Sell-Sell-Sell. (Edu-Brands: InBloom. Pearson, KIIP, Broad, White
Hat, Uno, K12 Inc., etc.)"
Corporations sell widgets. Schools
teach children. All the technology and Race to the
Top money won't help children.Children need passionate, properly
trained, well-educated teachers. And that is why I moved to the district
where I teach. I wanted my own children to get the
education that I saw the students in my district receiving. I suppose that means that strong
school districts help keep property values up. And I suppose that means that if our
public schools are compromised, our home values will go down...
Standing up for our schools seems to
make good educational sense, good ethical sense, and wait...good financial sense.
much in potential profit is at stake? $$$$$$$$$$$$ Billions. Federal and state
tax “incentives” guarantee that these testing/textbook/online-programming
corporations will double their money within a few years. Guaranteed. (See here.)"
You have got to click on the link
above. This is a bipartisan effort, and it will take a bipartisan effort on the part of caring parents, teachers and community members to come together.
No matter our politics, it seems that people who really care about kids, all kids,
are standing together.
of the corporate reform movement, "... is coming from liberals (who say
Gates is trying to privatize education and is attacking unions) as well as conservatives
(who say Gates and President Obama are in cahoots to federalize education
through the Common Core learning standards)." Read more in this editorial called, The Trouble with the Common Core.
It seems to me, that nobody wants the
corporate reform movement, except the corporate reformers...
Which brings me back to that
"... new wave methods are
exactly what students, parents, and employers believe is necessary for America
to keep pace with the world. Delivering education through the right means for
success -- be it online, ground-based, a blended model or some other hybrid --
continues to be a for-profit industry specialty."
market research have they used to determine that WE want on-line or a
hybrid or blended model of education? oh,
right, the $$$$$$ model. Watch
them ride the wave....or make your voice heard.
Okay, it is almost embarrassing to admit another intellectual crush on this blog, but I think I am not alone on this one.
Here is the thing, we have a problem in public education....and it is not the kids, the parents, the teachers, the administrators, the superintendents, or the school boards (Though all of the above are often blamed for the "problems").
Although "We" didn't actually create these problems, it is very important that "We" make sure we are using different thinking from the folks who did create them. "We" want our children to have an outstanding public education like kids in elite private schools get. Families in my home district know that "We" have extremely successful schools. Our kids are the some of the lucky ones, and "We" want to keep it that way. The time has come for us to speak up for our kids and for all kids everywhere.
There is a national movement to "prove" that public schools are failing. This bipartisan movement is trying to make families believe that vouchers (taking our school tax dollars out of public schools and using that money to help pay a fraction of private school tuition) and funding charter schools with our public school tax dollars will be better for our children (They market this as "Choice"). And this is where my business background comes in handy...
In addition to my Master's in Education, I also happen to have a Bachelor of Business Administration from the highly respected Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University.
And although I am proud of my degree and all I learned at Hofstra, I can see why business and education just shouldn't mix. I majored in marketing, which is really about using psychology to get people to want something, to believe they really need it, and hopefully to get them to act on that desire and make a purchase. It seems to me this corporate education movement (also called the school reform movement) is outstanding at marketing (A+ for you, corporate reformers).
Another priceless principle of business is that the customer is always right. Readers, you wouldn't believe how many of us there are who do not want this "product." We want to stop the attempts to "prove" our schools are failing when they are not. We want schools that value humanities, art & music programs, foreign language, recess, physical education, critical thinking, and the absolute pleasure of inquiry and intellectual pursuit.
....And you know we are right.
There are just too many standardized tests being pushed on public schools by this movement at this time. The schools have no say, these laws have been passed. That is why "We" have become more important than ever.
We must channel our inner Einstein. He knew what he was talking about:
believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing
human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American
culture. . . ."
— Albert Einstein, Saturday Evening Post interview, 10/26/1929"
I don't think anyone would argue that Einstein was a genius, and not just at physics. Our politicians are great at creating reform rhetoric, where language is turned inside out to disguise reality.
College and Career Ready(adjective):
This refers to the school of thought that children born into privilege
can be skimmed into top-tier schools and allowed to explore a broad
spectrum of interests, while 99% of children should be prepared to work
for those other children someday. College Ready refers to raising
assessment scores enough to get students into college, provide photo
opportunities for reformers and simple graphs and charts which suggest
student growth for the media. Career Ready means willing to accept a
life of minimum wage labor in the service industry, without the false
hope that a better future is possible, all while fighting for policies
that enrich one’s bosses at the expense of one’s self interest.
Data Driven Assessment (noun):
A test made by a corporation and protected from peer review by
intellectual property laws and strict confidentiality agreements whose
purpose is to provide numbers too complicated and nuanced for the
general public to understand, but vague enough that they can be molded
into a variety of purposes as the need for “data” to support reforms
I can't really delve into the corruption of the test companies and their "interest" in our children and tax dollars, that needs a post of its own. Below is a tidbit from this watch dog site.
" (Test Company) Pearson is one such entity that as of late always seems to be at the
right place and precisely at the right time. In other words, just as new
legislation is passed, as new educational mandates are set, Pearson is
suddenly able to provide the legions of educators and school systems
clamoring for some kind of answer with just the right product. How can
this be? In recent years, this once relatively small publishing house
turned itself into a massive provider of a range of educational
products, from traditional print materials for the K-12 sector, higher
education resources and technology solutions for public school systems.
It is one thing to have various products to sell and to allow the
marketplace to judge their success or failure. It is another matter to
reorganize the rules so that Pearson products are all one needs to buy
to satisfy a range of emerging Federal and State education mandates."
Read the article at the link. You won't believe everything they have their hands on.
In addition, our children are losing instructional time (class time) to take "field tests" for these test companies. Field tests have no educational value. The tests don't count for our kids. Basically, our kids are taking the tests so the test companies can learn which questions they want to throw out. In my marketing experience, corporations had to ask parent permission to get minors to test their products. In addition, they got paid for their time. These practices are being questioned in this article.
a field test is to the point where it's abusive to students..."
"You're putting kids in the position where they're guinea pigs."
Again, what may be good business, is not good for our children.
And again, Einstein knew it:
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
I think we know it, too.
What are we actually allowing the test companies to "teach" our kids?
One last gem for the road:
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the
people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything