Don’t just get mad, Get Even – Senate Bill 191 passes colorado legislature

Corporate Takeover of Public Education

The Formula

Evaluate school according to an unattainable goal (NCLB – 100% proficiency of every student according to a single measure) to ensure the label of “failing schools.”

-Standardize all curriculum, nationalizing public education (Gates Foundation is funding the

“Common Core Standards Initiative” – technically this is a federal directive but the distinction between the federal government and corporate America is no longer recognizable). (corestandards.com)

-Cut funding to neighborhood schools so they are forced to grow class sizes; cut music, art, and PE, reduce student services, and eliminate innovative programs.

– Replace professional educators with unqualified, temporary, novices that will work cheaply and rotate every two years (Teach for America and The New Teacher Project).

(rethinkingschools.org/archive/24_03/24_03_TFA.shtml)

– Reconstruct schools under experimental charters lacking sound educational pedagogy and boasting inadequate research outcomes (Google charter school failures).

– Tie student and teacher performance to high-stakes tests, creating a monopoly for state test providers. Never require accountability or public oversight for ETS, McGraw Hill, and Pearson while granting them complete authority in judging American schools, students and now teachers. In 2007 McGraw Hill Education reported $403 million in profits.

– Redirect remaining limited resources to growing bureaucracy, data management, and failed policy.

– Maintain the status quo of 25 million American children living in poverty. Continue to deny those books, lead-free environments, nutritious lunches, nurturing school climates, and cut them off from the emerging world of technology. Then fire their teachers and shut down their schools. Or contract with militant charters who will adequately prepare poor kids for military service or prison life ensuring continued profits for the privatized and profitable penal system and defense contractors.

– Undermine local school boards and eliminate publicly controlled schools by centralizing decision-making under the corporate funded federal government (China and the Soviet Republic have provided a working model).

– Create policies that scapegoat teachers and alienate parents further removing them from the decision making table.

– Use standardized tests as a mechanism for class warfare thus creating the illusion of providing “better education” and instead use the data as justification to cram ethnic groups in overcrowded factory model schools until they demonstrate mastery of the skill of shading bubbles.

If you are angry about the Passage of SB191, here are 10 ways you can take action:

– Begin by thanking the courageous leaders who opposed SB191. In a Progress Now survey, 4400 of the 4600 respondents opposed tying teacher compensation and job security to test scores. Let those who opposed the bill know that the public is with them.  Here is the link to the Education Committee votes.

(leg.state.co.us/Clics/CLICS2010A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersSenate?openFrameset)

– If you are a member of the American Federation of Teachers, you can withdraw your membership immediately. I can provide you with a contact that can provide standalone insurance policy for the cost of your union dues.

– If you are a parent, exempt your child from state tests. The purpose of your child’s education is not to police teachers and provide data sets for government mandates. You will save our schools money in the process and provide your child with a living example of the power of democracy.

– Do not make financial contributions to your political party. Instead identify the candidates, democrat or republican, who maintain children as the priority and protect our neighborhood schools from commercial interests and government representatives attempting to over step the limits of their authority. Contribute directly to candidates who advocated for the needs of children and provide them with the information and support to win the battle for All kids.

– On Facebook, unfriend those legislators who voted yes on SB191. Final votes will be updated shortly. This accomplishes nothing but it feels good.

– Recruit a challenger for Senator Johnston (Adams/Denver). Get behind the good people of the world and oust the Boobs. Children aren’t represented in the legislature they depend on parents, teachers, and citizens to advocate on their behalf. If we defer all our responsibility to lobbyists and organizations, then flawed policy is what we’ll get.

– Avoid the organizations which are behind SB191 and the national strategy to privatize and capitalize on our neighborhood schools. Identified Proponents of SB10-191

Stand for Children, Colorado Succeeds/BizCares,  Metro Organization for People, Colorado Children’s Campaign.  

– Read the book, Seeds of Tomorrow; Solutions for Improving our Children’s Education. Buy one for your legislator; we’ll take care of the shipping charges: angelaengel.com

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19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    What do you propose to fix the schools? Or do you think the present system is doing a sufficient job? Because if you don’t propose a credible alternative that has a chance of being implemented, then my support and my donations go to the legislators who were willing to step up and try something.

    • toobadsosad999 says:

      The first time I saw a statement similar to this was at a town hall meeting with Republican Representative Tom Tancredo. They had banners and buttons saying “Fix Social Security Now“. The Republicans wanted to dismantle Social Security not fix it and the alternative universe talking points of the fanatical far right are legendary and we have come to expect no less from them. Most here would agree, it’s all spin and lies.  Are you a supporter of Tom Tancredo David?

      The way I see this legislation is similar to the diarist. She is right there has been an effort to dismantle our schools and dumb down America while professing a desire to “Fix Our Schools” . Please tell me how incentivizing our teachers and principles the way we incentivized Wall Street is somehow going to “Fix Our Schools” ? Incentives nearly took down capitalism and now we want to bring this wicked tool to a school near you.

  2. Angela Engel says:

    The problem is that legislators keep trying the same things. In Feb of 2000 the Owens administration passed a bill grading schools based on test scores. We discovered the obvious – schools with high-income families, educated parents, and education resources and opportunities achieve academically higher and at higher rates according to standardized tests. That is not a reflection on school administrators or teachers, it is a reflection of the economic and sociological factors that impact the lives of children. We wasted millions of dollars until finally School Accountability Reports were pulled. Now we’re repeating this same “fix” by grading teachers according to a single measurement. Let me make this simple in terms of teacher evaluations:

    – Teachers should be evaluated annually or every other year. Colleague, parent, and student surveys should be included in that process. (Employee evaluations are expensive and time consuming and the current administrative resources do not allow for in depth faculty evaluations. It’s pragmatic to evaluate half the faculty one year and the other half the following year. Probationary teachers are evaluated annually).

    – Intervention plan and process should be in place in every district. Teacher’s should have individualized clear and written improvement goals with a stated adequate time period in which to improve.

    (The goal should never be higher test scores which is what the entire focus will be with SB191.) Teachers are all different some are content experts but have terrible skills relating to students and parents. Others are great at creating a positive learning culture but may have to rely to heavily on the text book.

    Teachers can’t be standardized and we’ll lose the great talent if we try and to force them into mediocrity.

    I’d be willing to forego tenure if there was a system of due process that considered claims of hiring or firing injustices. The big push right now is for the New Teacher Project (also Teach For America) to provide cheap unqualified non-teachers to districts. The research shows that these non-teachers have either no greater outcomes or less but they are significantly cheaper than a 25 year veteran teacher. The New Teacher Project is a profit centered entity. The elimination of tenure is good for their business. It also helps districts facing budget cuts and revenue shortfalls. Unqualified, inexperienced, transition workers does not honor our children or our educational system.

    If you are looking for more answers. Read the whole book.

    • conductrix says:

      Let’s not forget Democrats for Education Reform.  It’s the playground of “new Democrats” that like to play footsie with venture capitalists.

      Just say no to Milton Friedman techniques in the classroom!  Kids are not uniform widgets!

    • raymond1 says:

      You wrote: “I’d be willing to forego tenure if there was a system of due process that considered claims of hiring or firing injustices.”

      Um, am I missing something? Literally, tenure is just a promise that you won’t be fired without cause — which is to say, tenure IS nothing more than “a system of due process that considered claims of hiring or firing injustices.” So your magnanimous offer to replace “tenure” with “a system of due process that considered claims of hiring or firing injustices” seems meaningless — like an offer to replace a hamburger with a circular slab of cooked ground beef between two circular pieces of bread.

      • conductrix says:

        There is no such thing as “tenure” in K-12.  Non-probationary status is what you mean.

        I think what Angela means is having a codified appeals process for everyone.  Right now, there isn’t one for probationary teachers to speak of, and veteran teachers are often pushed out into an “unassigned pool.”  If you’re in the unassigned pool long enough, you can be dismissed, even if you were there for no cause at all.  This is a big problem in DPS for veteran teachers.

        • raymond1 says:

          Conductrix, you think that when Angela said she’s be “willing to forego tenure,” she meant replace it with an appeals process giving MORE protection against reassignment?  What a nonsense interpretation; I’d be “willing to forego” my McDonald’s hamburger if you replace it with a Quarter Pounder…

          • raymond1 says:

            … is that she threatens all sorts of high-effort activities (e.g., running a primary against Johnston), yet when David or I tears her illogic to shreds, she can’t be bothered to clarify, for example, WTF she means by replacing tenure with a synonym (due process hearings against unfair terminations)….

          • conductrix says:

            You call it protection against reassignment.  I call it basic fairness against sometimes capricious administrators.

  3. raymond1 says:

    Your title is about 191, but then you go on tangential-at-best rants, like (a) blasting Teach for America, (b) “Continue to deny those books, lead-free environments, nutritious lunches,” and (c) “centralizing decision-making under the corporate funded federal government (China and the Soviet Republic have provided a working model).”

    You’re going to lose a lot of folks when your anti-191 post blasts TFA; and I have no idea how you connect lead-free environments and nutritious lunches to 191.

    I can barely begin to list all the ways your Soviet Union analogy is moronic, so I’ll just note that (a) calling a socialist/communist system “corporate funded” is bizarre, and (b) I always took pride in the fact that it was only fools on the right who would demonize their opponents on every bill as “Soviets.”  But I guess we on the left have our Ann Coulters too.

    • conductrix says:

      Rather, it’s about the way they are used…and where.  In DPS there seems to be a preponderance of inexperienced TFA teachers in the lowest-performing schools; coincidentally, the schools with the highest numbers of Latino or African-American students.  And yet, as Diane Ravitch aptly points out and Engel here underscores, these are the weakest teachers.  These are the students that need the strongest teachers.

      TFA teachers don’t hang around long enough to make use of any mentoring or coaching that would come out of an expanded evaluation system.  They’re typically gone after 2 years.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        Aren’t the TFA teachers put in those schools because they can’t get enough good experienced teachers to go to the lowest performing schools?

        • raymond1 says:

          So I doubt th alternative to an under-experienced but hardworking TFA kid is likely to be a star teacher… Sounds like the teachers’ union just resents TFA, which to me corroborates that many teachers are just agains anything other than “pay me more but do nothing else different”…  

          • conductrix says:

            You’re assuming that teachers in lower-performing schools are not “good.”  But when Title I kids show growth, even incremental, the teacher should be commended for moving kids along under duress.  When you can get a kid to improve in the most adverse of socioeconomic conditions, you are an awesome teacher.  This happens in “inner city schools” every day, and we don’t do enough to recognize this.

            What proof do you have that good teachers opt out of underperforming inner city schools?  

        • conductrix says:

          In DPS, many of the teachers pushed out of buildings are over 50 and minority, none of whom have ever received a negative evaluation.

          The outgoing principal of GWHS is notorious for pushing out seasoned teachers in favor of TFA teachers.

          They’re cheaper and don’t have messy pensions to worry about.

          There are also principals that purposely schedule subs instead of actually hiring a teacher for a class…all year long.  Again, subs are cheaper.

  4. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    The Obama administration

    Urban League

    Denver Public Schools

    NAACP

    Federico PeГ±a

  5. Angela Engel says:

    I don’t know how you all have time for this. Those who resort to personal attacks or claims of “moronic” or “illogic” I consider you to be part of the mob mentality that attempt to squash anything beyond consensus thinking.

    For those other questions posed. The best article on Teach For America was published this spring by Rethinking Schools. It is available online. The bottom line is that the New Teacher Project (TFA) is already working with the Colorado Dept of Ed. They place non-educators in high poverty schools. There are enough teachers for those positions but veteran teachers cost twice as much. The New Teacher Project is good for districts because it cuts employment expenses. TNTP is good for TNTP because they are a for profit business and they get big bucks for recruiting, training and placing these non-teachers. TNTP is good for recruits because they get on the job training without having to invest the time or money in a college teacher certification program. I interviewed a TFA graduate recently. She’s a real sweetheart but her comment was, “I learned organizational skills and overall it was a good experience for me.” The point is that it’s not about TFA or TNTP recruits. Education is supposed to be about the students. Placing unqualified, inexperienced, and non-certified, non-teachers in schools with high needs students is bad for our children and damaging to our commitment to high-quality schools.

    What is so frustrating to me is the misconception that SB191 is about teacher quality. High test scores do not translate to good teachers. All the evidence indicates that TFA recruits yield the same or worse test scores. The only difference is they have no accountability because they are on a two-year rotation. SB191 is not about supporting better teacher it is about creating the legal means to fire veteran teachers and replace them with TNTP recruits.

    Thank you for the language “codified appeals process.” Tenure originated from the concept of a free-society protecting freedom of thought promoted within  academic institutions. Democracy was preserved through an educated citizenry and free schools. Read the letters of Thomas Jefferson. For those who think the China and Soviet analogy are too radical, forget that the intellectuals and artists are the first to be extricated by the dicatators. Apparently history has no place in debates over public policy?

    A friend of mine asked what I would do to oppose SB191. “Sit back and watch it run it’s awful course,” I said. Just like we had to endure the hard lessons of 2000SB186 and the wasted $$$ and opportunity of grading schools based on test scores. My children attend school in the rich suburbs. Their teachers will get to keep their jobs even though their not better teachers but have high-income students. (Even though we are measurinng longitudinal growth, kids with more resouces have higher growth rates – Duh!)It’s always the poor kids who suffer. You don’t see them closing schools in Cherry Creek.

    • raymond1 says:

      … you channel Glenn Beck by insulting your opponents as Soviets– then when I say that’s “moronic,” you say I’m showing “mob mentality”?  Um, no: the “mob mentality” is displayed by folks like you and Beck, who declare anyone who disagrees with you a “Soviet.”

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