July 2012 Archives

Guest post by Irvin Scott. This is a response to Anthony Cody's post of a week ago, Dialogue with the Gates Foundation: How do we Build the Teaching Profession. This is also posted at the Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimist blog. Tough, complicated issues like education often don't get the kind of debate they deserve. People who disagree don't see where they have common ground. Each side isn't willing to concede that the other has a valid point of view. So it is especially gratifying that against this often vitriolic backdrop Anthony Cody was willing to come to the Gates Foundation ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Last July 31, thousands of teachers and parents joined together in the hot sun in the nation's capital for the Save Our Schools March and Rally. I was one of the organizers of last year's event, but have not been quite so involved this year. Nonetheless, I will be joining with activists a week from now for the Save Our Schools Convention. I will be there because SOS has once again created a crossroads for our movement, just as it did last summer. So much of our communication these days is online, via blogs, ...


Post #1 of 5 in this dialogue. Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Two weeks ago I traveled to Seattle and spent most of the day meeting with leaders of the Gates Foundation, discussing their work around education reform. I have been critical of the impact their agenda has had, but they expressed an interest in opening up a dialogue. This blog post will be the first in a series of exchanges that will explore some of the key issues in education. We plan a process where we will take turns posting our perspective on a given theme, followed by ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Private enterprise is often portrayed as a mighty engine of innovation. If we break the "government monopoly" on education, entrepreneurial opportunities will inspire new solutions to problems that have not been licked by the public schools. But corporations are funny people. They do not actually care so much about how they make money - just so long as they do. Innovation is not their purpose, nor is solving society's intractable problems. We have a fresh report from the National Educational Policy Center, where authors Gary Miron and Jessica Urschel take us into the world ...


Guest post by John Thompson. Bill Gates made two valid, though somewhat contradictory points, in his address to the Education Commission of the States. Both of Gates' differing pieces of advice deserve a serious response. The text of Gates' speech gives no hint of irony as he proclaims, "The first and most important feature of a strong evaluation and development system is heavy teacher involvement throughout - from the conceptual stage, to the roll out, to revising the program once it's underway. If someone wants to rush an evaluation system into place - and they think they can speed it ...


Guest post by Chemtchr. Part Two of Two. See Part One here. The Gates Foundation favors a charitable model known as a public-private partnership, which appears at first to be an enlightened model for corporate engagement. For-profit ventures are "partnered" with the government for funding, to drive positive social change. The problem is that apparent charities are actually spending public funds, often without our knowledge or consent, and public private partnerships in education have shown themselves to be vulnerable to outright fraud as well as wasteful insider dealing. There's no open or democratic mechanism to determine public benefit, or regulation ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody This morning's USA Today featured two seemingly contradictory stories. On page one, the headline is "School is too easy, students report." On page seven, an op-ed is entitled "Why our kids hate math." The first article, authored by their excellent reporter Greg Toppo, shares a report that included results of surveys where students were asked how hard or easy they found their classwork. Among the findings: 37% of fourth-graders say their math work is "often" or "always" too easy; 57% of eighth-graders say their history work is "often" or "always" too easy; 39% of ...


Guest post by Chemtchr. Part One of Two. Part Two is here. Philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz defines the buzzword leverage as "the idea that you can use a little money to access a lot of money." It's hard to think of the Gates Foundation's $26 billion leverage effort as "a little money", especially since it's been spread over the globe to gain access to vastly more resources than it contributes, including U.S. tax dollars, the foreign exchange of emerging African nations, and United Nations funds for international development and world health. Gates' leveraged philanthropy model is a public-private partnership ...


Guest post by John Thompson. My attempt to describe Common Core as an example of the old-fashioned "status quo," which contemporary "reformers" have sought to destroy, seems to have hit a nerve. In the past, educators of different stripes would battle, negotiate, and compromise. Corporate powers were well represented, but there was no effort to assert complete dominance over the field. I argued that the search for "transformative" change and "disruptive innovation" was a historical dead end. I speculated that Common Core and other standards-based reforms would have had a better potential for helping kids had we not just endured ...


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