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May 27, 2013

Will Teacher Prep Academies Replace Schools of Education?

Schools of Education will become an endangered species if this bill becomes law. Advocates have long hungered for "disruption" of the "monopoly" that schools of education have had on teacher preparation. This bill would create big incentives for states to allow virtually anyone to set themselves up as a teacher preparation academy.

May 23, 2013

Chicago: Time to End the Billionaires' Experiments With Mayoral Control?

Bill Gates suggested that in time teachers and voters would come along to see the benefits of the experiments the billionaire reformers want to do in our schools. That was four years ago - and the experiments have run their course. A research paper by Elaine Weiss and Don Wong took a close look at the results in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago, exactly the three cities touted by Gates as the petri dishes for his market-driven experiments.

May 22, 2013

Paul Horton: Will Career Teachers Be Crowded Out by Corporate Reform?

The experienced teacher is the key: the conductor, musician, coach, and magician-of-motivation all wrapped into one person. Those who push the corporate education reform agenda do not understand or have forgotten what a great teacher does, so their solutions "crowd out" experienced teachers. Rather than investing in the human potential of teachers and students, they choose to invest in "bubble tests" and self-paced digitalized learning that are good for the profits of education corporations, but lousy for kids, parents, and communities.

May 20, 2013

Will the Data Warehouse Become Every Student and Teacher's "Permanent Record"?

inBloom, the non-profit started with a hundred million dollar investment from the Gates Foundation, is planning to create a digital record which, barring catastrophe, truly could be a permanent record of every K12 student, from their first interaction with the schools to the last. The amount of information they are planning to collect is staggering. Here are the several hundred categories, which include academic records, attendance records, test results of all sorts, disciplinary incidents, special ed accommodations, and more.

May 16, 2013

Dystopia: A Possible Future of Teacher Evaluation

This is a future I believe is possible given the systems and structures being promoted by technocrats like Gates. This is NOT the way the system has been described by Bill Gates or any of his representatives. They tend to use the language of feedback and collaboration. But as I have been asking, if collaboration is the goal, why must this be embedded in an evaluation process, which has the goal of determining who ought to be fired?

May 08, 2013

Bill Gates' TED Talk: Are Video Cameras the Missing Link?

Bill Gates has described himself as a technocrat, so perhaps it is natural that he would fixate on some piece of technology as the missing element. But the real things that are missing are the time that teachers need to work together, and the understanding that this time will be most fruitful when teachers are given the autonomy to tackle the challenges they face, rather than micromanaged and driven by test score data.

May 04, 2013

Rebirth: New Orleans -- Documentary Poses a Moral Dilemma

this highlights for me, the moral dimension that Merrow ignores, when, at the end of the film, he proclaims this experiment a success. How can we accept that a third of the schools in New Orleans have been consigned to the status of dumping grounds for the other two thirds? How can we celebrate the creation of a system that allows schools to wall themselves off from students who are the most damaged by poverty and violence - and relegates those students to schools that cannot possibly succeed in this competitive scheme?

May 01, 2013

Are Education Innovators Channeling B.F. Skinner?

So what is wrong with these machines and this mechanical "personalization"? The modern versions of the teaching machines are certainly more sophisticated than these dinosaurs of the 1950s. But they have more in common than just the promises made on their behalf. If we look over the shoulders of children in computer labs today, most of the programs are variations of those described by Dr. Skinner. Students are given a short text or math problem and must provide the correct answer. Often there is a game or snazzy cartoon characters who dress up the process and make it more fun, but the essence has not changed much. Students follow a course of study with bits of learning sprinkled along a pathway, and then take periodic tests to show they have mastered that mouthful.

April 26, 2013

Paul Horton: Of Common Core, Conspiracies and Coups d'Etat

When it comes to education, however, Obama asserts a policy that has nothing to do with progressive ideas about education. While progressive ideas of education emphasize children as individuals who must be given opportunities to stretch their innate capacities within an organic context for learning, the President and Mr. Duncan have embraced the data-driven high-stakes-testing-model retooled from President Bush's No Child left behind days.

April 19, 2013

Who Created Excuses for Michelle Rhee?

Teacher unions have not been the dynamic organizations they could or should have been. But to make them responsible for the reactionary tidal wave of phony reform upon which Michelle Rhee has surfed like one of the Beach Boys is absurd. It is like blaming climate scientists for the backlash against global warming. There are significant motivations powering corporate education reform, and its sponsors have poured billions into their project. They own this, and they own Michelle Rhee. They bought her, and now Merrow has helped to break her. Rhee and her billionaire sponsors, and the media who promoted her, they are the ones responsible for her rise to power way beyond that which she could have achieved without such support.

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