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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Common Core Disorder Hits the Burbs

ALERT: This just in from a suburban parent in New York State.  Does your child have any of the following symptoms:



-Sudden or gradual loss of passion for school
-Loss of interest in school or learning
-Math anxiety
-Writing avoidance
-Learned resistance to reading
-Sudden drop in confidence
-Makes statements such as, "I am basic," or "I am below basic."
-Sadness or anger towards school or learning
-Stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting

If so, your child may be suffering from what is widely being referred to as Common Core Disorder. Common Core Disorder is affecting children in grades K-12 in states that have adopted the National Common Core Standards (such as New York State) or adapted them and created their own (such as the Pennsylvania Common Core State Standards).


All school districts are being affected, even in the most affluent suburbs.
In this open letter to parents of children throughout New York State, New York State Principals announce,  "Your child is so much more than a test score, and we know it."

Wow. That is the kind of straight shooting we need around here. Everyone knows that New York State used to really value their tests. When I was a kid I felt badly that my friends from NY had to take Regent Exams. But they did, and no one seemed to suffer from Regents Disorder...

The principals say, "Testing Has Increased Dramatically: We know that our students are spending more time taking State tests than ever before. Since 2010, the amount of time spent on average taking the 3-8 ELA and Math tests has increased by a whopping 128%! The increase has been particularly hard on our younger students, with third graders seeing an increase of 163%!"

I'd say my kids have been hit especially hard here in Pennsylvania in grades 3, 5, and 8. And now with the Keystone Graduation Exams, all of high school seems to be one big, stressful series of high stakes standardized tests.






The NY State principals also report, "The Tests were Too Long: We know that many students were unable to complete the tests in the allotted time. Not only were the tests lengthy and challenging, but embedded field test questions extended the length of the tests and caused mental exhaustion, often before students reached the questions that counted toward their scores. For our Special Education students who receive additional time, these tests have become more a measure of endurance than anything else.

Hey, they did that in Pennsylvania's state tests last year, too. The tests was more about endurance than assessing what the kids knew. My older daughter had to go to the nurse at the end of day one of a state test. And WHY are they embedding questions that DO NOT COUNT (field test questions) in these high stakes tests? Is there no respect for our kids? Private school students do not have to endure this, and neither should ours.



These tests are literally making kids sick: "Children have Reacted Viscerally to the Tests: We know that many children cried during or after testing, and others vomited or lost control of their bowels or bladders. Others simply gave up. One teacher reported that a student kept banging his head on the desk, and wrote, 'This is too hard,' and 'I can’t do this,' throughout his test booklet."

And setting aside compassion for a moment, we don't know, "How Much this is Costing Already-Strained Taxpayers: We don’t know how much public money is being paid to vendors and corporations that the (state) contracts to design assessments, nor do we know if the actual designers are educationally qualified."


Thank you to the New York State Principals who were brave and bold and honest. 
It takes true leadership to call it like you see it. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends of our children, it is time to object. This has gone on too long and been taken too far. No one wants this kind of education for their children.

The cure for Common Core Disorder? Parents and loved ones who stand on top of tall buildings and shout that they have had enough. Tell them to stop overtesting our children. This isn't learning. This isn't student centered. This isn't accountability. They can't fool us. And they clearly can't fool the principals of New York State.



The principal's end their open letter with the following. It is what I want our school leaders from the District Office to the classroom to say to us. These principal's rock:

"Please know that we, your school principals, care about your children and will continue to do everything in our power to fill their school days with learning that is creative, engaging, challenging, rewarding and joyous. We encourage you to dialogue with your child’s teachers so that you have real knowledge of his skills and abilities across all areas. If your child scored poorly on the test, please make sure that he does not internalize feelings of failure. We believe that the failure was not on the part of our children, but rather with the officials of the New York State Education Department. These are the individuals who chose to recklessly implement numerous major initiatives without proper dialogue, public engagement or capacity building. They are the individuals who have failed."

Brave. Bold. Honest. Thank you.
 

 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Maya Angelou & Judy Blume Against Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts

And they let the President know it. Well, that's my take on it. Read below and see what you think:




“All children must have the freedom to grow, to evolve, to develop,” explains acclaimed poet Maya Angelou, who spoke at President Obama's inauguration. “We parents, authors, illustrators are standing up for our children. We desperately need you and your administration to stand with us.”


More than 120 leading authors and illustrators of books for children, including several national award winners, are calling on President Obama to “...change the way we assess learning so that schools nurture creativity, exploration, and a love of literature.”  
 Yes, that is what I want for my kids, for all kids: creativity, exploration, and a love of literature. SOLD.

Their letter delivered to the White House states, “Our public schools spend far too much time preparing for reading tests and too little time curling up with books that fire their imaginations.”

I really love this part:
"We the undersigned children’s book authors and illustrators write to express our concern for our readers, their parents and teachers. We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature. Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes... We call on you to support authentic performance assessments, not simply computerized versions of multiple-choice exams. We also urge you to reverse the narrowing of curriculum that has resulted from a fixation on high-stakes testing.

There is a great idea. Let's have our local school districts design authentic performance assessments. And let's do it without hiring a single consultant. We can handle this, folks. Instead, let's buy lots of books & laptops for kids to read, to do research and to work on their assessments & presentations.




I couldn't have said this part better myself:

"Teachers, parents and students agree with British author Philip Pullman who said, 'We are creating a generation that hates reading and feels nothing but hostility for literature.' Students spend time on test practice instead of perusing books. Too many schools devote their library budgets to test-prep materials, depriving students of access to real literature. Without this access, children also lack exposure to our country’s rich cultural range."


 "This year has seen a growing national wave of protest against testing overuse and abuse. As the authors and illustrators of books for children, we feel a special responsibility to advocate for change."

 They want our children to develop "...a love of literature from the first day of school through high school graduation." So do I.



Check out the letter to President Obama & see the list of authors who signed it  here. Oh, and they cc'd Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Good idea.

Comment below or write me at daschwartz24@comcast.net if you want to come together in our district or form an alliance from anywhere around the world. Let's support one another as we speak up and demand that our kids deserve more than test prep.

 Let's start now.


 




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Angst of Standardized Test Prep in our House

My 10 year-old daughter is really enjoying 5th grade this year. She has loved her teachers all through elementary school and so have I. It means a lot when your child comes home happy, excited, and feels respected, appreciated, and valued. And my daughter does. I couldn't ask for more qualified, knowledgeable, intuitive, and caring teachers than the ones at her school.

What I can ask is for our state to get rid of the high stakes testing, so her teachers can have the autonomy that all professional educators need to teach kids that learning is one of the most natural and satisfying experiences in life... not formulaic essays that will be assigned approximately 25 times before the spring tests. The test prep is taking a toll on us around here.

Above is a Pennsylvania State Writing Rubric, much like the ones used to score standardized tests across the county. I blogged about how non-standardized the scoring really is here, in my review of Todd Farley's book, Making the Grades; My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry. After tonight's homework, I got a really clear picture of the subjectivity.


The Teaching & Learning Company, in Carthage, IL thinks the essay above is an exemplar for 5th grade writing. I love my cat, but I would never expect him to watch the same shows I do... no matter how long my day was. Come on, Teaching and Learning Company, keep it real!



Many English teachers I know, including myself, have printed out state writing item samplers. We are trying to show our students what "the highest score possible," a "4", looks like. With much respect for all the hard work our kids put into these essays... what ever happened to creative writing? This type of writing must be as boring for the kids to write as it can be for us to read.




This speaks for itself...






This is what a 5th grade test prep looks like in our home.  Fifth grade is the first year that a written component of our state test is given. And right here is where the corporate reformers hope we parents will break. I am not pulling my child out of our outstanding school district. I am, however, telling my daughter the truth about standardized tests.... We are discussing opting out.

I really hope my district carefully considers how much weight test prep work should have on a child's report card grades (a more accurate measure of academic success). What we must keep in mind is   the ever important, but non-measurable, impact test preps can have on fostering a love of learning.

Don't worry, we don't need test scores to know our schools are great. What we need are parents who know there is little value in the data derived from this ridiculous process.

If private school kids don't need it, then my kids don't need it.
Period.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Opting Out or Storming Their Corporate Offices with Pitchforks?!




 Exciting news, readers! The day after I posted my review of Making the Grades, by Todd Farley, he emailed me. As you know, I have an ever growing wall of fame of my intellectual rock stars. I felt as delighted to hear from Todd as some of my students would be to hear from the rapper, Drake! He wrote me:

 "Naturally, I have a Google alert to tell me when something is written about my book, so I saw your post about it/me yesterday. Just wanted to say thanks for the shout out."

No need to thank me, Todd. You are the rock star who outed the standardized testing industry. You deserve a trophy. A gold medal. At least a free dinner at The Olive Garden (Nah, come to town, we will take you out to BlackFish, seriously our treat. We love it there and we owe you big).



Readers, I personally loved reading this book in print. My yellow highlighter was running out of ink there were so many sickening, scandalous things to mark. That said, Making the Grades, is now available on Kindle, where you can underline and highlight electronically (which can also be quite satisfying).


 I read somewhere that Todd now has kids of his own and asked him if he would opt them out of standardized tests. Here is his response:

 "As for us, when my two boys go to school, I can promise you that Pearson et al will have no say in their lives/futures/educations.  I've been much too deeply involved in the development and scoring of tests -- for Pearson, ETS, ACT, AIR, Riverside Publishing -- to think that the testing industry is anything other than one enormous, lucrative boondoogle for those companies (and, okay, me when I worked for them). What, when I want to hear how my children are doing in school, I'm going to ask for the input of a bunch of multi-national, for-profit corporations in a completely unregulated industry that has a history of errors?  Ridiculous idea.  Opt out?  I won't be opting out if the standardized testing companies try to get involved in my sons' educations--I'll be storming their corporate offices with pitchfork in hand......"



   "...storming their corporate offices with pitchfork in hand..." 
 And that, dear readers, is why I add Todd Farley to my rock star wall of fame.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Battle Standardized Tests to the Bitter End

"If I had to take any standardized test today that was important to my future and would be assessed by the scoring processes I have long been a part of, I promise you I would protest; I would fight, I would sue, I would go on a hunger strike or March in Washington. I might even punch someone in the nose, but I would never allow that massive and ridiculous business to have any say in my future without battling it to the bitter, bitter end."
  -Todd Farley,
Author of Making the Grades; My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry

I just finished reading this entertaining, provocative, and deeply disturbing memoir written by Todd Farley, who rose in the standardized testing industry ranks from professional test scorer, to management, and then to consultant. He started in the biz for the higher-than-minimum wage hourly rate, and quit fifteen years later out of boredom and guilt. Farley tells first hand accounts of the scoring and scorers who are holding our children's futures in their hands...and it isn't pretty.

Both Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalites: Children in America's Schools, and Alfie Kohn, (one of my educational rockstars), author of The Case Against Standardized Testing, wrote blurbs on the book and call it a "...searing challenging to the powers that be," and "the kind of book you will be telling your friends they've simply got to read." That is why I am telling you, readers.


Top Ten Reasons to Read, Making the Grades:

10. The first chapter is titled: Scoring Monkey
During his training, Farley questions the process. His co-workers tell him that, "Basically, we are just a bunch of scoring monkeys. No thought required. Just click. "And he did. "I had just become a professional scorer," he reports.

9. They only look at our kid's work for mere seconds
"Most of the (4th grade safety posters) were on our screens for no more than seconds. The ones that were confusing we may have looked at longer, but eventually we just clicked a score button, any score button, to make them go away."

8. Scorers are temporary employees, who are not as invested in scoring as the public may think.
"Vincent was studying to take the bar exam...during our work day: he kept a law text open on his lap all day, every day, and as many times as (our boss) asked him to shut it to concentrate on his scoring work, Vincent said, "I'm scoring, I'm scoring."

7. Professional scorers read about 30 essays an hour: a two or three page essay every two minutes. Farley reports that now automated scoring systems are here and they assess our children's hard work in seven seconds! "Even if those programs don't know what an essay says, that's still a helluva time."

6. Sometimes professional scorers have a good sense of humor.  
"We watched (a manager) respond to a question from one of his people about an essay's score, by taking the essay, holding it up to his head without even glancing at it (a la the Johnny Carson 'mind-reading' bit from the Tonight Show), and announcing, "Carnac says this essay earns a 2."

5. You can make big bucks writing questions to torture children. 
"Lazing about my apartment, scratching the ears of my cats and joining them for frequent naps, I wrote numerous multiple-choice questions and short stories...(In the year 2000) the questions paid $25 a pop, and the stories paid $500...I (was) convinced I'd found my destiny..."

4. Pearson has Pentagon-type security. 
"...even more important than keeping people out was Pearson's intention to keep secret everything going on inside those doors. On the building's main entrance was a sign prohibiting all cameras and recording equipment from the site, and the first thing one saw when passing through the door was a bold pronouncement proclaiming, 'Camera Phones Will Be Confiscated.'"
Pearson scorers even had to sign confidentiality agreements.

3. See no evil....hear no evil....
"Pearson management knew they had employees on site who were incorrectly scoring student responses that would ultimately make up the 'Nation's Report Card'."

2. Psychometricians advised managers not to do too good a job scoring. 
"...the ETS psychometrician in Princeton (said), don't do too good a job scoring..that's not our official stance of course...I'm just saying don't go overboard. Maybe use some of the less good scorers..." Farley thought, "Her request had been...shocking...she cared more about getting a reliability number than she did about the correct scores getting put on the papers."

1. "I don't believe the results of standardized testing because it is the most inexact of sciences."
Farley says, "It seems to me entrusting the education of this country's children to 'professional scorers' in far distant states instead of the men and women who stand in front of their classrooms each day is about as smart an idea as entrusting your health not to the doctor holding the stethoscope to your heart but to some accountant crunching numbers in Omaha. Personally, I'd trust the guy who's looking me in the eye."




When I was growing up the SAT, ACT, MAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, NTE, Praxis, etc. were our concerns. We had dreams. We knew we had to face our fears and take these tests if our goals included certain types of higher education. That was stressful enough.

Today politicians are using standardized test scores to threaten our children with having their high school graduation denied, their schools unfunded and closed, their principals and teachers fired, and Farley says he'd battle it to the bitter end...

Perhaps our politicians don't know or don't care, but we sure do. It's time to act. 














Monday, October 14, 2013

Standardized Testing is not Standardized


This is a true story. A Pennsylvania mom showed me the Algebra 1 Keystone Exam scores that were sent home for her son. He was out sick and missed the full first day of testing. He was present on the second and final day of the exam. His score showed a zero for the first day's modules, and an advanced score on the second day's modules. She was confused (and trust me when I say that this mom is a highly accomplished, successful, and intelligent woman by any standard) because it appeared that her son scored advanced overall. How could this be?
 

Yes, her son scored a zero on the first half of the test and scored advanced overall. It makes no sense that he not only passed, but scored advanced. She was visibly relieved that he would not have to re-take the exam... but what about the other kids who somehow failed and have to take remedial classes and re-test until they pass? How could this be right?



Last summer when the New York State Common Core State Standard aligned test scores hit the media, it was quite a fiasco. I blogged about it here . NY state officials warned the public that there would be about a 70% failure rate, and magically there was a 70% failure rate. Then the Pennsylvania Common Core State Standard aligned test scores came in...



 A very reliable source told me that he had access to the Keystone scores over the summer and that we, too, had about a 70% failure rate. Strangely, the scores available were suddenly reporting about a 40% failure rate.  When he inquired about it, he was informed that, "..the (Pennsylvania) cut scores did change in the spring; therefore, shifting some student scores."

Hmmmm.... 

As it turns out there is a very non-scientific art/science to determining the score (called the cut score) that separates the kids who pass from the kids who fail. The information below is directly from this ETS (Educational Testing Service) link.

"It is impossible to prove that a cut score is correct. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a process that is appropriate and defensible. Ultimately, cut scores are based on the opinions of a group of people. The best we can do is choose the people wisely, train them well in an appropriate method, give them relevant data, evaluate the results, and be willing to start over if the expected benefits of using the cut scores are outweighed by the negative consequences." 


WHAT? The Educational Testing Service is acknowledging that that there is no way to know if the cut score is correct? That it is based on the opinions of a group of people?

How is it okay with any citizen of our state that our children are being threatened by having their  high school graduation denied, even with great grades, based on THIS? How is it okay that schools, teachers, and principals are going to be evaluated based on THIS? How is it okay that our urban schools are being financially starved based on THIS?

"This is a manufactured crisis. We know who should be held accountable..." It is the politicians, our Governors, our State Departments of Education, our President and our Secretary of Education.



Our schools are not failing. Privatization and corporate reform are.

The Pennsylvania NAACP states the following about Pennsylvania's Keystone Exams:

"It is clear that the regulation linking Keystone Examination scores to high school graduation is a present day form of Eugenics. Hidden under the cloak of 'the business community has asked for an improved workforce', and 'colleges are concerned about the number of students needing remediation', attaching Keystone Examinations to graduation is clearly based on the idea that it is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society through selective scores on a paper and pencil test. This is a clandestine social movement that strips children of their dignity and self worth..." 

All children are pawns in this manufactured crisis. Parents need to unite and stop giving value where there is little to none. Standardized testing is not standardized, as it turns out. 

Not by a long shot.










Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kindergarten Common Core, Caste System, or Just Plain Crazy?

 In this NY Daily News article, kindergartners are being required to take Common Core aligned standardized tests for NY state. 

 "Goodbye Play-Doh, hello No. 2 pencils.
Because of a tough new curriculum and teacher evaluations, 4- and 5-year-olds are learning how to fill in bubbles on standardized math tests to show how much they know about numbers, shapes and order."

WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK THIS IS A REASONABLE IDEA?

“(The kindergarten kids are) scared. They just don’t understand you’re supposed to bubble in next to the answer.”



This is REALLY developmentally inappropriate. 

Why are they doing this? 
 
Corporate reformers want those who can afford it, to pull their kids out of public school and send them to private school. Who hasn't at least thought to pull their kids out of this nonsense? Sadly, some private schools are in need of money and are voluntarily selling their souls to the common core, too. The Gates Foundation offers grants to private schools if they align to the common core.

These reformers want families who can't afford private schools to pull their kids out of public schools, and put them in charters. Many families don't realize that charters are simply un-unionized, privately owned, test-prep focused schools running on public funds, often staffed by well-intended teachers competing for merit pay based on test scores or inexperienced volunteer teachers from Teach for America. Charters still over test kids and have to follow mandates and rules, such as the Common Core State Standards. I have noticed that some charter schools call themselves pubic charters, but they are really public/private partnerships, which makes for quite a lack of transparency for our public tax dollars.

What do they ultimately want? Vouchers to send public tax dollars to private and Parochial schools, and sending even more tax dollars to support privately owned charter schools, which will financially starve public schools and collapse the public school system. The kids left behind in public schools will be the ones not accepted into charters. That would mean many special education students, special needs students, students who are English language learners, students with behavioral issues (like ADD or ADHD)...the kids who don't necessarily test well. You get the picture.

Seems like a caste system:

The Common Core State Standards are marketed to the public as getting students "College and Career Ready."

Private schools are not mandated to follow the narrow, prescribed curriculum that most states now require of their public schools. The corporate reformers send their own kids to the most elite private schools. They want top tier private school students to get a richer, deeper, more creative and critical thinking filled education. Under their philosophy, if you can't afford that level of private school, your children won't get that.

...It looks like reformers plan for lots of private school students to be "College Ready."

Public and charter schools have to do as they are told. The Common Core State Standards and year after year of standardized tests for folks who aren't paying more than their tax dollars. Test-prep, remedial classes, and a slow and painful death of self-esteem for these kids.

...It looks like reformers are aiming for lots of public and charter school students to go straight to minimum wage "careers."

Reformers call this "CHOICE." Beware when you hear it. It means they are coming for you.

In most states, the issue of public education is considered in the constitution of the state.
The Pennsylvania State Constitution addresses public education in Article III, Section 14 which states:
Section 14. Public School System
The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.

Why are we letting them get away with this?


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keystones & Understandably Angry Suburban Parents


 "I think (accountability) was based on a false theory...that test scores are an adequate stand-in for good education. They’re not. You can coach kids to be like trained seals to get higher test scores. That doesn’t mean they’re getting a better education." -Diane Ravitch
We know better and so should our politicians. No parent, urban, suburban, or rural wants their kids "to be trained like seals to get higher test scores."

 In this interview in her home state of Texas, Diane Ravitch talks about angry suburban parents...like us. Texas suburban parents got ticked off and the state scaled back testing & end-of-course exams (Like Pennsylvania's Keystones).
Interviewer: "You mentioned parents getting ticked off. And you’re right. This past legislative session, suburban parents were angry because the new end-of-course exams were messing up their kids’ college applications, and they got a bill passed to scale back testing. But does it give you pause that it was those parents whose voices were heard here, rather than the parents of the disadvantaged kids in the inner city?"
Diane Ravitch: "No. For a long time, suburban parents watched this movement growing and thought it would not touch them. They thought it was only about the inner cities, where these poor minority kids were going to be tested and tested and their schools closed down and handed over to private entrepreneurs. Now it’s beginning to hit the middle class, and the suburban parents don’t like it. They don’t like their kids being over-tested, they want their kids to have a full education. They don’t understand why this is being inflicted on them, so then suddenly you begin to see rallies where you get the affluent parents standing side-by-side with the kids from Houston and Dallas and Austin and other big cities."
We watched this problem fester in our cities and we didn't get it...we just didn't. Now we do. We don't want our schools closed down and handed to private entrepreneurs. That's what the over testing and end-of-course tests are really about. Our kids are not going to be pawns in this game. Their futures are on the line.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Alternate Universe of Common Core Reform


Welcome to the wonderful word of frustrated, intelligent, hardworking education advocates who spend countless hours researching, reading and blogging for no motive except protecting our children, their education, and their self-esteem. Some education reformers can't wrap their brains around the concept that some people work hard because they care, not because they are motivated by the Benjamins.




It is my pleasure to introduce you to Crazy Crawfish, from Louisiana. "His friends know him
as Jason France. He worked in the assessment division of the Louisiana Department of Education until he couldn’t stand it anymore."


It turns out that New Orleans is what folks call Ground Zero for education reform. 
After the horrific destruction of the city by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, our "revered" Secretary of Education said, "the (hurricane was the) best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans." 




Now Mr. Duncan labels people like me, who question his policies, “armchair pundits.”  He states that people like me must live in an alternate universe for having our own perspectives on education. Ones that are very different from what he espouses.

I am not in an armchair, Mr. Duncan, or an alternate universe. I am in the classroom. I am proctoring your tests. I teach my students to question authority respectfully, which is what I do in this blog. It is what Crazy Crawfish does, too. The things he writes about below are headed our way, if we do not spread the word.

At the very least, we must slow down this destructive agenda. 




post-Katrina New Orleans has been Ground Zero for efforts to privatize schools and weaken teacher unions—hallmarks of education reform. After the hurricane, the vast majority of New Orleans public schools were taken over by the states’ Recovery School District—the district that was subsequently headed by John White. Nearly all of the city’s 7,500 public school employees were fired, although a few were later rehired. The post-Katrina shock also saw the advent of a limited voucher program and a massive expansion of charter schools, many of them for-profit. Education Secretary Arne Duncan actually said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/170649/why-do-some-americas-wealthiest-individuals-have-fingers-louisianas-education-system#sthash.S4O0WscB.dpuf
post-Katrina New Orleans has been Ground Zero for efforts to privatize schools and weaken teacher unions—hallmarks of education reform. After the hurricane, the vast majority of New Orleans public schools were taken over by the states’ Recovery School District—the district that was subsequently headed by John White. Nearly all of the city’s 7,500 public school employees were fired, although a few were later rehired. The post-Katrina shock also saw the advent of a limited voucher program and a massive expansion of charter schools, many of them for-profit. Education Secretary Arne Duncan actually said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/170649/why-do-some-americas-wealthiest-individuals-have-fingers-louisianas-education-system#sthash.S4O0WscB.dpuf

As Naomi Klein detailed in The Shock Doctrine, post-Katrina New Orleans has been Ground Zero for efforts to privatize schools and weaken teacher unions—hallmarks of education reform. After the hurricane, the vast majority of New Orleans public schools were taken over by the states’ Recovery School District—the district that was subsequently headed by John White. Nearly all of the city’s 7,500 public school employees were fired, although a few were later rehired. The post-Katrina shock also saw the advent of a limited voucher program and a massive expansion of charter schools, many of them for-profit. Education Secretary Arne Duncan actually said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/170649/why-do-some-americas-wealthiest-individuals-have-fingers-louisianas-education-system#sthash.S4O0WscB.dpuf
post-Katrina New Orleans has been Ground Zero for efforts to privatize schools and weaken teacher unions—hallmarks of education reform. After the hurricane, the vast majority of New Orleans public schools were taken over by the states’ Recovery School District—the district that was subsequently headed by John White. Nearly all of the city’s 7,500 public school employees were fired, although a few were later rehired. The post-Katrina shock also saw the advent of a limited voucher program and a massive expansion of charter schools, many of them for-profit. Education Secretary Arne Duncan actually said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/170649/why-do-some-americas-wealthiest-individuals-have-fingers-louisianas-education-system#sthash.S4O0WscB.dpuf
post-Katrina New Orleans has been Ground Zero for efforts to privatize schools and weaken teacher unions—hallmarks of education reform. After the hurricane, the vast majority of New Orleans public schools were taken over by the states’ Recovery School District—the district that was subsequently headed by John White. Nearly all of the city’s 7,500 public school employees were fired, although a few were later rehired. The post-Katrina shock also saw the advent of a limited voucher program and a massive expansion of charter schools, many of them for-profit. Education Secretary Arne Duncan actually said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/170649/why-do-some-americas-wealthiest-individuals-have-fingers-louisianas-education-system#sthash.S4O0WscB.dpuf
Below Crazy Crawfish "critiques Arne Duncan’s critique of critics who live in 'an alternate universe.'" 


I may not know the secret to fixing every school, but I know what doesn’t
work: 


Arne Duncan.
Also: Closing the schools
Firing all the teachers
Busing all the kids hours away to new schools
Putting 50+ kids in a class
Virtual schools
Common core
Stripping funding from them
Handing then over to profit centric people
TFA
Handing everyone an ipad instead of a good teacher
Continued testing
Vouchers
Forcing all disabled kids to take ACT
Charters with fascist mandatory marches
Narrowing curriculum to exclude arts, history, science
USED (United States Education Department)
Resegregation
Schools that teach creationism
Schools that treat kids like products instead of people
Mass school closings Etc
(Basically anything Arne Duncan does)
By opposing Arne Duncan, if we do nothing else, we are improving schools by delaying
him from destroying them.




This is all non-fiction, folks. Fact check it, read it, and weep. It is coming our way. In fact, much of it has already arrived. I can't wrap my brain around why our leaders want to take these steps backwards in progress. But it is up to us to tell them that we don't like what they are selling. We don't want it, we won't buy it, and we can't be fooled.