The last post was about poverty and it is not like any I have ever seen sans in the Caribbean which I thought was horrific decades ago. I recall driving down roads and people lifting feet on their steps as we drove by should we accidentally drive over them. And all of this en route to Nevis where the late Princess Diana vacationed and where Richard Branson took the Obama's post Presidency. I was told that when dignitaries and the rich arrive the poors there are to go inside should the wealthy be disturbed by the poors lounging on their stoop the road. I have never been back nor ever thought I would see this unless I drove through the deep South and the book of the same name by Paul Theroux confirms what I suspect.
Poverty is not a state of mind but it is a reality. We declared a War on Poverty in the 60's and guess what? Poverty won. We have such severe income inequality the rich are dedicated to Education reform as the means in which to resolve it. Not closing out foreign held businesses or profits held overseas, paying corporate taxes, reducing CEO paychecks and stopping fraud and waste in varying industries which contribute to this, no not doing that. Instead they have a new solution, privatize it and make more money under the guise of helping the poor. It is a win win as it is a money making tax deduction!
The LA Times has this essay on why the billionaire class love ed reform and the fraudulent use of Charters and Vouchers as the means in which to do so is neither noble or about kids. It is about money. And the legacy of Charters in some veiled vague notion as experimental schools in which to try out new ideas to eventually develop and build in public schools was not about curriculum but about money. SHOCKING I KNOW! Not really.
Then we have the Billionaire in Chief, Betsy DeVos, who hand, shoe, fist in well coiffed mouth continues on her march to ensure that the Government will get its grubby hands out of the future piggy banks of America's rich as soon as possible. Whatever comes out of her mouth only validates that a private paid education a'int that great. But her ideas are not her own nor are they the just a GOP dream folks, the Clinton's and yes Obama were very much advocates of the same concept. This article by Diane Ravitch explains all of this to you. And Thomas Frank in his book, Listen Liberal, does the same. No one's hands are clean in this shit pile.
And while the article below blames Bush and the lies he spread about education in his state (well the lies he spread about most everything truly are mind blowing. Hookers spread their legs and bullshit to clients less) has been well debunked and yet here we are again and again debating the tests and how well kids demonstrate their knowledge - of how to take tests. That is all it does, mastery and creativity cannot be measured but hey let's lay blame, point fingers and make sure the union is somehow responsible. Again it was in fact here in Tennessee that devised the testing materials and began the shoveling of the bullshit we are now stepping in. No wonder people here have such chips on their shoulders, they never get any credit for anything!!
The last few years we have seen fewer opt out revivals and none here in Tennessee the people here too stupid and too compliant with authority to have the audacity to say fuck yourself over another failed TN Ready test that once again is not ready and school is out. Well hey the testing guru died a couple of weeks ago and we are in mourning. Add to that the Predators are in the Stanley Cup playoffs we need time people time.
Bush’s ‘Texas Miracle’ debunked, Lone Star State sparks anti-testing revolution
There’s a reason hundreds of parents and kids held a protest outside the New York City headquarters of the standardized testing company Pearson last year, and it wasn’t just because of the infamous “Pineapple” test question. There’s a reason that a Florida school board member with a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees made national news when he flunked his state’s 10th-grade math test. There’s a reason teachers in Seattle are refusing to administer the Washington state standardized test. Something is very amiss when standardized tests fail to make the grade, and as much as I’d love to, I can’t blame it on what George W. Bush did as president.
It’s actually what George W. Bush did as Texas governor.
Bush’s education adviser Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas with some school board experience, convinced him that the “soft bigotry of low expectations” was holding back minority students in failing schools. His solution: if Texas made all schools give the same tests, the state could direct resources where they would do the most good, and eventually African-American and Hispanic kids would catch up to the white kids. It was a great theory, and initially the scores rose.
Bush called it the “Texas Miracle.” And once the Texas governor ascended to the Oval Office, Kress lobbied Sen. Ted Kennedy to add bipartisan legitimacy to the plan as Bush’s top Democratic supporter for the No Child Left Behind law, which promised to spread the Texas Miracle to the other 49 states. The law projected victory by 2014 in getting all students to “meet or exceed the state’s proficient level of academic achievement on the state assessments.”
Education researchers worried that making test scores the single indicator of success was about as smart as Enron making the stock price the only measure of prosperity. Education researchers saw parallels with the bankrupt energy corporation in how schools would “off-shore” the kids likely to fail tests by holding them back grade levels. Texas started to lose 70,000 kids a year, most dropping out before they had to take the 10th-grade tests that would count against the school. Almost a third of kids in Texas who started high school never finished.
Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped. Researchers discovered that the Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability. Apologists cherry-picked National Assessment of Educational Progress scores to show progress, but overall Texas lost ground to the rest of the country, found Dr. Julian V. Heilig, an education researcher at the University of Texas. But by then it was too late. The Texas Miracle, mirage or not, was the law of the land.
“The reason why we’re seeing, well, what we’re seeing, after ten years of No Child Left Behind is the fact that we didn’t close the gaps, the fact that our graduation rates haven’t gone anywhere, our dropout rates haven’t improved, because Texas never did that in the 1990s,” said Heilig. “Over the last ten years now that we have Texas-style accountability and policy in the whole United States, the reason why it didn’t deliver is because it never delivered in Texas.”
By the time Kress had become a lawyer-lobbyist for testing giant Pearson, Texas was seeing the beginnings of an uprising against the dogma of accountability-by-assessment. Parents complained about “teaching to the test.” Teachers began to complain openly about being forced to take time out of music or art to drill for the upcoming math test, and superintendents began to count up the days testing took out of the 180-day school year.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made high-stakes testing an issue during his 2006 re-election, but the political class saw that accountability scored high in opinion polls. Perry appointed a committee to study the problem to death. He assigned Kress for the job to protect the status quo, but teachers and education researchers pushed the 2009 legislature to the brink of killing the standardized testing. When the state House and Senate passed a bill that would cut at the backbone of high-stakes testing, Perry threatened to veto unless the legislation doubled down on accountability. Kids in elementary school and middle school would be required to pass tests—or else. To get out of high school they’d have to pass not two, but 15 tests. Pearson got a new $468-million contract to write and administer all these new tests.
In a world of Astroturf politics and manufactured outrage, the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test, sparked a sincere grassroots rebellion. By the time Perry’s own education chief, Robert Scott, called high-stakes testing a “perversion” of accountability, Texas legislators knew they had to dial it back.
It’s too soon to say whether a near-unanimity of opposition to high-stakes testing from school boards, superintendents, parents and education researchers will succeed against Perry and Pearson, but there’s a better chance than ever that the false education doctrine that Bush started in Texas and then spread across the country will finally meet its end in the same building where it started.