Archive for Education

Out: Do it for the Children—In: RACIST!

If a equals b, and b equals c, what do we know about the value of a compared to the value of c?

As Eric Holder would say, you don’t want to go there, buddy:

In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).”

Byrd-Bennett is black.

No way!

Way.

What is the insidious plan this Aunt Jemimah has in mind for black children?

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools.

And we can’t have that.

Woody Guthrie once wrote the refrain, “You can’t scare me, I’m stickin’ to the union.” If it read today “stickin’ it to the union”, it would be relevant. The union sure has been sticking it to kids—black kids—for decades.

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What is “Social Justice”?

I’ve come to be very suspicious of the phrase, given those who are so fond of using it, but what does it mean?

Wikipedia?

Social justice is the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.

Realize their potential—you mean like charter schools, where the pupil, not the teacher, and certainly not the teachers union, is paramount?

Ha-ha, very funny:

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants schools to teach social justice, not “consumerism,” she said in a video.

“You want to talk about organizing? You want to talk about social justice?” the Chicago union leader asked. “People always talk about how that there’s no political and values in math, that you can teach math without a place for social justice.”

“Johnny has five pencils and if he spent two cents for the red pencils and eight cents for the green pencils, and he has 47 cents, how many pencils can he buy? We’ve all seen that, right?” Lewis said. ”That’s a very political statement, because it’s all about consumerism — it’s about buying stuff, right?”

Instead, Lewis prefers the approach of one progressive teacher who uses union-approved rhetoric in math problems, instead of the damaging consumerism of two cent pencils.

“Bob Peterson tells them about Jose working in a factory making piecemeal clothes. He uses the same numbers and gets the same answer,” Lewis explained. “Math is political, too.”

Told you it was funny. Apparently being a teacher is political, as well:

Lewis is best known for leading a strike within the ailing Chicago Public Schools system. Lewis’ strike caught national attention, winning 17.6 percent pay increases for Chicago teachers, who then earned on average $71,000-$76,000 per year.

Lewis is currently focusing on fighting potential pension cuts to city teachers. Illinois is facing at least $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for public workers.

Don’t give up a penny, Karen. Green pencils don’t grow on trees.

I thought liberals celebrated “consumerism”. That’s what Pelosi and Obama tell us when they celebrate welfare and unemployment benefits. “Folks” have the money to buy pencils, “piecemeal clothing” (thongs?), Big Macs, whatever, thereby employing stationers, seamstresses, and fry cooks—at least until a hike in the minimum wage forces employers to cut back.

As a conservative, I not only approve of but celebrate the opportunity for people to “realize their potential”. But what that has to do with this fat hackette’s (sorry, not really, for the ad hominem attack) nonsense escapes me. The very reason Jose is working in a sweatshop is that he was failed by the Chicago schools. They didn’t teach him English or good communication skills, didn’t teach him that red pencils are just as good as green, and cheaper, didn’t teach him that capitalism is the best system for people to “realize their potential”—but you have to have something to offer, a trade, skill, talent, whatever to sell in the marketplace. Those who do indeed do “realize their potential” and found businesses and whole industries. Those who don’t tend to work at the lower end of those businesses and industries, until Democrat policies ruin the economy, and they get laid off.

In this sense, “social justice” would seem to mean a vicious cycle of liberal nonsense. Which is what I thought.

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NYC Mayor Kicks Charter Schools Out Of City Space

The Left is getting nuttier

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took off the gloves in his battle with education reformers, rescinding an agreement for the city to share space with several public charter schools.

The move undercuts educators, parents and some 700 students at four schools, including Harlem Success 4, one of the public charter school movement’s top success stories, and two set to open in the fall. While agreements at those schools were rescinded, expansion of a fourth school was also blocked. The schools were to operate rent-free in city-owned facilities under deals backed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent supporter of charter schools.

But de Blasio, who is an unabashed critic of charter schools and won election with full-throated support of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement some of the city’s agreements to share class space will be voided. City officials said some of the deals that were stricken would have had elementary students attending class in high school buildings or forced cuts for public school special needs students.

“Explaining to students and families that they won’t have a school next year is the most heartbreaking thing I’ve done at Success Academies.”
– Eva Moskowitz, charter school administrator

“As a public school parent, I am committed to a fundamentally different way of making decisions about co-locations, and that’s a commitment shared by the longtime teacher now leading our school system,” de Blasio said, accusing the Bloomberg administration of having “rushed” the deals through in the “waning days” if his final term.

Just another example of how the Left hurts students of color. Disgusting.

– Aggie

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LA Dodger

This is what happened:

The ambitious plan to get an iPad in more than 30,000 Los Angeles students’ hands hit another snag.

Workers at the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) have started confiscating iPads that bypassed the devices’ security measures, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tampered iPads could access unauthorized websites and apps, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Pandora.

The school-issued iPads were installed with their own security software that prevented students from getting access to anything but the preloaded educational software. However, students at several different schools discovered a work around within hours after students received their iPads.

Sarah Bradshaw, the chief of staff for District 5 of the LAUSD, said that there were signs that the iPad program was going to be a rough ride.

“We could see this thing coming,” she told ABC News. “So much of this has been rushed and so ill thought out.”

But this is how NPR covered it:

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A news item last week got us thinking about how American schools are changing. Many high school students in Los Angeles now have school-issued iPads. Some hacked the security on the iPads to surf forbidden sites on the Internet. School Superintendent John Deasy weathered some awkward headlines and tried to turn this into a teachable moment.

JOHN DEASY: I met with the students, collected the devices, and began a conversation about so, you’re smart, but we need you to be responsible.

INSKEEP: The incident was one of the bumps as John Deasy rolls out the plan, under which L.A. is spending $1 billion to eventually put an iPad in the hands of every student – 650,000 of them, grades K through 12. L.A. is not the first school system to try something like this, but is by far the largest.

Of all the things that you could do with your district budget, what made you think that an iPad for every student ultimately would be a thing that you’d want to do?

DEASY: All students should have access to technology. And all students should have access to live digital curriculum. I mean, what we would want for those privileged students, it’s our obligation to make sure that students who live in circumstances of poverty have exactly that.

So, he handed out a billion dollars in iPads because he thought it was “fair”. Never mind that an iPad is hardly “technology” (it’s a cross between a toy and a library), and never mind that the kids defeated the security measures in a matter of minutes, all students I knew had advantages and disadvantages. Back in my day, it was electric typewriters versus manual. Why hand out iPads that have been limited to “preloaded educational software”? Why not a textbook? When will these kids ever learn how to handle a book (tables of contents, indexes, bibliographies, etc.) if not in school?

“All students should have access to technology. And all students should have access to live digital curriculum. I mean, what we would want for those privileged students, it’s our obligation to make sure that students who live in circumstances of poverty have exactly that.”

All students should learn. That is the least that should be expected of them and the most we can do for them. Failing that (as too often happens), handing out iPads is worthless.

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Let’s Move (Our Bowels)

Not quite, but you get the point:

Students in a rural Kentucky county — and their parents — are the latest to join a growing national chorus of scorn for the healthy school lunches touted by first lady Michelle Obama.

“They say it tastes like vomit,” said Harlan County Public Schools board member Myra Mosley at a contentious board meeting last week, reports The Harlan Daily Enterprise.

The growing body of USDA meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture under the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010? has long been a signature issue for the first lady.

Students can only have one serving of meat or other protein. However, rich kids can buy a second portion each day on their own dime.

Hey, no fair rich kids getting seconds on chicken fingers! The top 1% (and their kids) should be miserable just like everyone else. Speaking of 1%:

Other gripes involved the new bread, which students don’t want to eat because it’s brown wheat bread, and the new milk, which is skim or one percent fat, not two percent or whole. The cafeteria’s chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk offerings are now nonfat.

While we’re laughing:

[T]he food on offer in the cafeteria is crappy and there isn’t nearly enough of it.

Woody Allen, anyone?

Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

Part of the reason kids are on starvation diet is that they’ve taken exercise out of the school day. I don’t know how they expect to keep kids fit—mentally as well as physically—if they keep them chained to their desks all day.

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Back 2 Skool

Number 2 pencils? Protractor? Pee-Chees?

Kevlar vest?

Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students will head to new schools Monday, the first day of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called “a new beginning” for the nation’s third-largest district.

As they go, many will be accompanied by some unfamiliar faces: A crop of newly hired workers in yellow reflective vests, Chicago firefighters and even the security guards from local public libraries, all of them expected to stand guard to ensure kids get to and from school safely.

The effort known as Safe Passage — which stations workers and others along designated routes to help students who must cross gang boundaries — is perhaps the most visible sign of how much is at stake for students in a district that has long struggled academically and financially, as well as for a mayor who has vowed since taking office that he would turn things around.

“Safe Passage is about more than just building a route to school,” Emanuel told about 1,000 people during a training session last week. “It is about building a route to college, career and beyond, so that once our kids get to school, they get the world-class education they deserve.”

This is a good thing, no doubt. It’s just a little late, as the late Hadiya Pendleton would attest to if she were around to attest to anything.

I leave it to you to ponder the meaning of a city with the strictest gun laws in the nation (or near enough) having to post guards along those routes to school that cross “gang boundaries”.

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Next On The Agenda?

Raise the cost of college tuition

Everything this President does to “help” end up hurting.

This week, President Obama is hitting the road to unveil his plan to “combat the soaring costs of higher education.” His three part plan consists of connecting financial aid to school performance, supporting academic innovation, and making college more affordable.

His road tour and policy initiatives sound good in the nightly news cycle. They make for great talking points, but President Obama’s plan does not address the fundamental reasons behind why tuition is rising. Both sides can agree that rising college costs are a big problem and burden for students. But more college subsidies and government aid will not solve the problem; in fact it is the reason why tuition is rising.

Over the past thirty years tuition has risen by over 250%, despite Washington continually putting forth new government aid programs and subsides with the attempt to cut tuition costs. The more money Washington puts into the hands of students only enables the colleges and universities to continue propping up the price of education.

Maybe Fox Butterfield is out there somewhere and can explain this to our brilliant, young President.

– Aggie

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Obama Administration Cooks Up New Power Grab

This time involving federal financial aid to colleges

Calling higher education an “economic imperative,” President Barack Obama pushing for an ambitious new government rating system for colleges that would judge schools on affordability and performance and ultimately determine how federal financial aid is distributed.

The rating system, which the president wants implemented before the 2015 school year, would evaluate colleges on several criteria, including average tuition and student loan debt, graduation rates, and the average earning of graduates. Obama says he will ask Congress to link the new rating system to the way federal financial aid is disbursed, with students attending highly-rated schools receiving larger grants and more affordable student loans.

I bet there won’t be any politics involved in this.

– Aggie

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Hey Kids, What Time is It?

Trick question: they don’t know how to tell time.

There’s just one little problem with this story:

Federal spending cuts are hitting 57,000 children who would have started preschool in the next few weeks.

The Administration for Children and Families reported Monday that 51,299 fewer children will begin Head Start preschool programs and 5,966 fewer toddlers will enter Early Head Start programs due to the $85 billion in federal budget cuts called sequester.

The federal government spends about $8 billion a year on Head Start, an early childhood development program for low income families. About 1 million children are enrolled in the program nationwide.

Proponents say that children who get a head start in early childhood learning perform better in school.

Detractors cite a federal study that found once Head Start kids get to third grade, they do no better than their schoolmates who didn’t attend Head Start programs.

There you go! It took you only 15 paragraphs to get there!

What are those “detractors” going on about?

Since its creation as part of the War on Poverty in 1965, nearly 30 million children have participated in Head Start at a taxpayer cost of more than $180 billion. The problem is that by the government’s own reckoning the program has never achieved what it promises.

The first major evaluation was in 1969 by the Westinghouse Learning Corporation and Ohio University. It found that pre-schoolers who did make cognitive gains did not maintain them in early grades and that Head Start participants performed no better than children from similar backgrounds who had never been in the program. Federal evaluations in 1985 and 2005 also found that any positive cognitive impact was transitory.

The Department of Health and Human Services released the results of the most recent Head Start evaluation on the Friday before Christmas. Once again, the research showed that cognitive gains didn’t last. By third grade, you can’t tell Head Start alumni from their non-Head Start peers.

The sequester rides again to the rescue!

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Is Our Children Learning?

Remember the Left making fun of Bush when he pitched No Child Left Behind? This is what they have replaced it with.

Now, if I had any faith in the educational system, I could imagine going along with her point. It is important to understand groupings and how addition can equal multiplication. But I don’t have any faith. I think they are going to turn out idiots who don’t know the multiplication tables and can’t work. But they’ll feel really good and really smart.

– Aggie

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Save the Children [UPDATED]

For just pennies a day, you can save this child from hunger:

New York’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district has become the latest casualty in first lady Michelle Obama’s preferred lunch plan, dropping the menu after too many students complained of hunger.

“[Food service manager Nicky] Boehm and her staff worked hard to implement the new regulations, but there were just too many problems and too many foods that students did not like and would not purchase,” said Assistant Superintendent Chris Abdoo about the National School Lunch Program in a statement reported by EAGNews.org. “Students complained of being hungry with these lunches and the district lost money.”

The district lost about $100,000 trying out the federal menu, which offered such meals as “part” of a chicken patty on a minicroissant, EAGNews.org reported.

This isn’t the first school to drop the federal lunch menu plan. Catlin, Ill., schools did the same, calling the guidelines too “restrictive,” EAGNews.org reported.

For shame, Mrs. Obama. Starving children for your own amusement. Is there no depth to which you will not sink? Hunger-striking prisoners in Guantanamo with a feeding tube up their noses enjoy their meals more than these poor kids.

UPDATE
OMG, could it get any worse?

Controversial letters that Massachusetts public schools send parents about their children’s weight may be scrapped because of concerns about bullying and cost, state public health officials said Wednesday.

Schools have complained that it is too expensive to mail the letters as required, so they have often been sent home in students’ backpacks. That has sometimes led to inadvertent disclosure of the information to other students and teasing, officials said.

How about you just stick to spelling and algebra, Ms. Fensterbottom, and leave my kid’s diet and waistline to the family? Is this not the archetypal story of the nanny state and its unintended (or very much intended) consequences? This and the NSA story. MYOFB!

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No More Teachers

Not much to do with this story but pass it along:

At least 29 students and a teacher have been killed after Islamic extremists attacked on a boarding school in northeast Nigeria.

Survivors, who are being treated for burns and gunshots wounds, say some students were burned alive in the pre-dawn attack today on the Government Secondary School in Mamudo town in Yobe state.

[T]he gunmen came armed with jerry cans of fuel that they used to torch the school’s administrative block and one of the hostels.

Dozens of schools have been torched and unknown scores of students killed among more than 1,600 victims murdered by extremists since 2010.
The attackers set fire to buildings and shot pupils as they tried to flee, according to Reuters. Several of the students were being treated for burns, he added.

It was the deadliest of three attacks on schools since the military launched an offensive in May to try to crush Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent group whose nickname translates as ‘Western education is sinful’ in the northern Hausa language.

And they don’t even know about the Chicago public schools!

I will leave you with a question: given all the attacks by Islamic “extremists” around the world over the past few years, can they really be said to be “extreme”? I guess they fall at one end of the spectrum of violence, hence extreme, but there are so many of them! One could be forgiven for wondering if the peaceful Muslims were the extremists.

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