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They want the minds of our children.  

They want to drive out creativity and replace it with conformity.  

They want to numb the imagination of future generations of Americans so they can control us completely.

Florida's public school curriculum is based primarily on the FCAT with nearly eight out of 10 months of school spent preparing for these high-stakes exams. Students and teachers alike look forward to April when content-directed learning finally takes place.

Senate Bill 6 will eliminate these two months of real education by requiring end-of-year exams and basing teacher pay on student performance on them. Instead of teaching content, we will teach to yet another exam, drilling students at the expense of other instruction. Our livelihood will depend on it.

Forty years ago children were taught science, math, literature and writing, geography and history, art, music, theater, dance and physical education. Today curricular diversity is reduced to information required for a few tests, none of which result in a creative, complete education. Academic freedom has all but disappeared in the public schools. Under SB 6, creativity will vanish.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/...

That is from a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald.  The situation has become so dire that the teachers of Miami-Dade County are organizing themselves, outside of union sanctions, to call in sick tomorrow. That effort made the front page, since 380,000 students in Miami would be affected.

I started teaching in 1983, and I have watched this American tragedy unfold.  Educators are kind, dedicated, and loving.  We know our jobs.  We are charged with the most important task in the world. We help form the future of our country, one young mind at a time.

And yet, we are demonized.  American education has become the playground of big business and petty politics.  We are the shuttlecock.  They want to punish us, and they want to turn the children into mindless robots who cannot think for themselves.

By overemphasizing test scores, No Child Left Behind sounded a death knell for arts education and anything else that wasn’t tested, she now believes. It focused too much on basic skills to the exclusion of thinking skills. It did not require that states develop well-rounded, meaningful curricula and rather than raise standards, it lowered them.

That is Diane Ravitch. She is one of the foremost authorities on education. She helped create this mess, as one of the conservative Republican policy makers behind No Child Left Behind.

Now she admits she was very wrong.

The article is titled "Education has become a Search and Destroy mission, and teachers are the target."

I disagree.  I think they are aiming for the minds of the children.  The teachers are just an obstacle that needs to be cleared out of the way.

The schools will surely be failures if students graduate knowing how to choose the right option from four bubbles on a test, but unprepared to lead fulfilling lives, to be responsible citizens, and to make good choices for themselves, their families, and our society.

Who is behind this? The villains are legion. The mastermind of Senate Bill 6, the wicked legislation that threatens to cause statewide havoc in Florida, is Jeb Bush.  He isn't even hiding that fact.  He has purchased television ads and robo-calls against us.  He stands to make $2.7 billion dollars over three years if the bill is signed into law.

And, ironically, he is destroying the Republican party instead.

They severely underestimated us.  The teachers of Florida have put more political pressure on Governor Charlie Crist than he has ever felt.  Newspapers are reporting 10,000 phone calls against the bill versus 71 phone calls supporting it.  And that is after Jeb Bush started his robo-call campaign.

We will not let them kill the imagination of our children.  We will, instead, destroy their chances in November.  Including Marco Rubio.  Yes, he came down on the wrong side of this, in public.

I am getting too angry for a beautiful Sunday morning.  I need to take a walk and get some sky.  I will leave you with the most entertaining writing yet about our struggle, and you can ponder the implications.

They will not kill the imagination of our children.  We will not let them.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

— Julius Caesar IV, 3

This is the big enchilada, this is the revolution. The Republicans who run Florida's Legislature have won the greatest battle in their history — unless their own Republican governor takes it away from them. Therein lies a drama of its own.

In a climactic vote held between midnight and dawn Friday, the Legislature passed a sweeping reform of public education in this state, done on the fly.

Two birds were killed with one stone: the end of tenure for Florida public schoolteachers, and a requirement that teacher pay be linked to student "progress," to be measured by Measures To Be Cooked Up Later.

Two birds? No, three — for no matter how much they denied it, this was the ultimate Republican victory over a state teachers union that has been unrelentingly Democratic, if not the alter-ego of the Florida Democratic Party.

It also was the triumph of Jebism, a process started by the former governor Bush a decade ago with his foray into standardized tests and school vouchers. Like Caesar's ghost, he never went away. He is the alt-governor, the uber-gubernator, presiding from afar.

Please sign Alex Sink's petition and join us in our struggle.

Originally posted to Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:00 AM PDT.

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    "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:00:36 AM PDT

      •  Sadly there are many Floridians (43+ / 0-)

        that prefer to let right wing talk show nuts do their thinking for them.  That thinky/worky stuff is hard.

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:20:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and just as many (81+ / 0-)

          are pretty pissed.

          I was one of those 10,000 calls against, as well as a letter-writer. Charlie Crist is reconsidering signing this abomination of a bill, and every day, I make it a point to let my friends and neighbors know what's going on down here. And more and more of them are now being heard.

          Sometimes it seems as if Florida is one big grand social experiment. I'm sick of that, sick of the Bushies and sick of the perception that everyone else who lives here is a moron.

          Necessity is the mother of revolution...

          by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:33:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was surprised (55+ / 0-)

            how many of my patrons were discussing this bill.  I've had several conversations at the bar I work at and many here are pretty upset by this bill.  Even many of my GOP patrons are angry.  I think the GOP may have overplayed their hand.  I live on the Panhandle in wingnut Central so if these people are mad I can only imagine how upset people in the saner parts of Florida are.

            ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

            by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:41:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I have to choose between kids who can read and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              devtrash

              write and do math but haven't had any art classes or kids who got art classes and other enrichment but didn't learn the 3 Rs then I know what I will pick.

              Teachers who think that without their enlightenment children will not have imaginations are self-important fools.  Kids learn to dream and imagine from sources as diverse as toys, movies, music, clouds, and everything else in their environment.  Buzz Lightyear teaches as much imagination as any teacher.

              But if kids are graduating without the basic intellectual tools they need to get a job as basic as "Do you want fries with that?" then that is a total educational failure.  Don't come to me whining about kids' imaginations until you demonstrate that they can graduate from highschool with appropriate grade level skills in math, English, history, and science.

              •  What exactly does your comment (32+ / 0-)

                have to do with the one you are replying to?  How about having kids that get both?  I did when I was in school so why exactly can we not have that now?  

                ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

                by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:41:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Getting both is great if you can (0+ / 0-)

                  But right now are Florida schools delivering on basic academic subjects?  Apparently not.

                  Until they do that has to be the focus, not enrichment.

                  •  "Apparently" not? (7+ / 0-)

                    so, well, what are you basing your opinion on?

                    Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                    by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:57:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  On the fact that they feel (0+ / 0-)

                      they need focus teaching more tightly on basic subjects.

                      So, for example, Florida 8th grade students' performance on national math assessment tests was significantly poorer than the national average.  (Page 4).  I also don't think many people think that the national average is anywhere near adequate.

                      •  Who is "They"? (12+ / 0-)

                        The school districts? The administrators?

                        The people selling standardized testing?

                        Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                        by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:14:13 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Look more closely. (14+ / 0-)

                        Florida has a higher-than-average number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Students in these categories fared better than the national average. White students (as close as I can find to "not socioeconomically disadvantaged") were statistically in a dead heat with the national average.

                        Overall, it looks to me like Florida's doing pretty well.

                        Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                        by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:14:50 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I wouldn't call meeting the US national average (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          third Party please, worldlotus

                          doing well.

                          At best, it's doing average.

                          In actual fact, the US national average sucks big time.  I interviewed students in China for my (US) college last year.  I was mind-blown by the quality of the students I interviewed.  The same level of kids in the US are few and far between.

                          •  They *didn't* miss the national average. (9+ / 0-)

                            Not when you take socioeconomic status into account, and not (I'd wager) when you consider statistical significance.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:25:05 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry, read too quickly (8+ / 0-)

                            You didn't write "missing", you wrote "meeting". My bad, especially in this context :-)

                            But that gets back to the question: How do you know that the schools in this country are, on average, doing badly? How do you know that the tests that we have are well-designed, and measure exactly (or even approximately) what they say that they measure? How do you know that what they say that they measure is, in fact, what they should be trying to measure?

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:29:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Exactly. (13+ / 0-)

                            Another one of the problems of the teaching-to-the-test system is that those students who have the ability to excel are bored and dulled by being drilled on subjects at the "average" level. Often they are enlisted to assist the teacher in dragging the slower kids up to the middle.

                            30 years ago, those kids would get independent study from their teachers and would skip ahead 4 or 5 grade levels while the teacher worked with the other students on the basics. It was inspirational and exciting to encounter high-school level concepts in third and fourth grade, and it kept the smart kids reaching higher and higher.

                            There's no time or incentive for teachers to do that these days. When the only goal that's rewarded is meeting a basic standard, many of the kids who would become our brilliant scientists, artists, writers and philosophers start to hate their dull, tedious classwork so much that they act out or simply refuse to participate.

                            While it's important to teach kids the basic tools of communication, what we have lost with "No Child Left Behind" and its bastard offspring is the joy of learning, exploring and excelling. And without that, our educational system will never succeed.

                            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

                            by commanda on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:12:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Easily deal with (0+ / 0-)

                            Another one of the problems of the teaching-to-the-test system is that those students who have the ability to excel are bored and dulled by being drilled on subjects at the "average" level. Often they are enlisted to assist the teacher in dragging the slower kids up to the middle.

                            I'll agree with that.  I believe that any standardized testing regime should include ways of measuring the kids at the top - either giving schools extra points for the kids who can take the tests at higher grade levels or switching the kids who score at high enough levels into specialized subject tracks like Achievement Tests and AP tests that cover other academic areas at much higher levels of performance.

                            We need to make sure that our schools work for all students - the ones at the top as well as the ones at the bottom.  But providing enrichment to kids at the top is not an acceptable excuse for failing average and below average kids.

                            There's no time or incentive for teachers to do that these days. When the only goal that's rewarded is meeting a basic standard,

                            Well, like I said, the incentives formula should be jiggered to reward teachers for performance of top students as well as bottom students.  Don't just look at disadvantaged kids.  Also do something like including measures of the 95th, 90th, and 80th percentiles and looking at how many years ahead of grade level they are or how they are doing on AP tests, etc.

                          •  While I agree that the joy of learning (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackSheep1

                            is the most important thing a teacher can teach, 30 years ago kids weren't skipping 4 or 5 grades levels.

                            A very select few were moved up one grade level.

                            Census workers = "enumerator's." Enumerator's? Are we taking the census or making a James Cameron movie?

                            by ZenTrainer on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:53:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry, I was unclear. (3+ / 0-)

                            I didn't mean that they were literally "skipping grades;" rather that they were reading or encountering math concepts that were 4 or 5 grade levels above their peer level. I certainly was... I tested at 11th grade reading level in 6th grade, since I started reading adult books in 4th grade and read approximately 12 hours a day. You can imagine how boring "See Spot run" might have been. Fortunately I had perceptive teachers who gave me something stimulating to do while everyone else was struggling with the basics.

                            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

                            by commanda on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:21:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Me too. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            The first book I read on my own, at age 3, was "Call of the Wild." I really, really didn't need the Dick & Jane books (which came in a compendium called "The Little White House." My Mom had a teacher's edition of that particular book, which I used for school. One day, the teacher asked a question whose answer I recalled having seen, so I flipped to the back of the book, to the teacher's notes section and read out the pedagogical answer. I got in quite a bit of trouble, because she thought I had stolen her book. She did not, at any time, acknowledge that it was ridiculous for me to be "learning to read" along with the rest of the class, and she had a huge argument with my parents about how inappropriate it was for them to have let me learn to read "too soon." However, other teachers bent over backwards to keep me (and kids like me) engaged.

                          •  in China? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackSheep1, blueoasis, Rian Fike

                            Oh, neat, what kind of interviews were you doing, where you needed to interview overseas for a US college?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:25:35 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I was doing admissions interviews (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't see your point about China.

                            If you think your kids aren't going to be competing against Chinese think again.  There are 1.2 billion Chinese people.  They are hungry and they are out to eat your lunches and your kids' lunches.  

                            Right now quality and productivity in China can't match the US.  In 20 years they will be pretty close.  We'll either beat them head to head or we won't in which case their living standards will overtake ours.

                            Deal with it.

                          •  LOL (3+ / 0-)

                            of course I never said anything of the sort.

                            Please...don't pawn off this kind of advocacy as a "regular guy on a blog" post until you can do it less transparently.

                            You're really obvious.

                            Deal with it.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:26:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm lost... who do you think I am? (0+ / 0-)

                            Chinese worker paid by ETS to advocate standardized testing on anti-testing web sites?

                          •  So is your point that you think communism (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pickandshovel, o the umanity

                            has the better educational system?  Please care to expand on how we can do better by becoming more like the communists.  ;>)

                            Real science is rarely done by petition. --John R. Mashey

                            by Naniboujou on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:48:30 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Don't bother... (5+ / 0-)

                            I believe a sense of humor is another attribute that's coupled hand-in-hand with a well-developed imagination. ;)

                            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

                            by commanda on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:27:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think you're onto something, commanda. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:55:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  China is more state capitalist or fascist (0+ / 0-)

                            than communist.

                            For the top 10% of kids (which is about half as many kids as the entire US) the Chinese system is excellent.

                            It is a brutally meritocratic up and out system in which entire families contribute money for tutors and pressure children to study and excel because one kid who does well can support an entire extended family.  Students sometimes commit suicide because of poor scores, but those who can handle the pressure cooker environment are smart, driven, and hard working.

                            Biggest problem is the focus on rote memorization and doing what they are told - it's hard to get new staff in China to take the initiative.  But you can teach that to people a lot more easily than you can teach them to work hard or academic skills.  (And yes, I've managed a lot of people in China - I know the issues.)

                          •  I'll bet (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackSheep1

                            you have.

                            (And yes, I've managed a lot of people in China - I know the issues.)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:29:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, I guess (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            you've just shot yourself in the foot.  Thanks for playing.

                            Real science is rarely done by petition. --John R. Mashey

                            by Naniboujou on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:39:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Initiative? (6+ / 0-)

                            ...it's hard to get new staff in China to take the initiative. But you can teach that to people a lot more easily than you can teach them to work hard or academic skills.

                            Not from what I've seen.

                            Anyone can be taught to work hard; money (or the lack thereof) is a powerful teaching tool. As for academic skills -- by which, I suspect you mean workplace skills, since we're talking about the workplace environment? -- it's somewhat hit-or-miss, depending on the student's employee's ability and willingness to learn.

                            But initiative? I'm a software engineer, and I've worked with dozens of oversees engineers. My (admittedly anecdotal) experience is that once the habit of rote production has been ingrained in a person, it's incredibly hard to root out.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:55:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  He's not sure (3+ / 0-)

                            one minute he was doing admissions interviews with Chinese students.

                            Next thing you know, he's managing them.

                            Amazing!  

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:09:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't follow what you're getting at (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            devtrash

                            When I'm in China I work.

                            I also help out my alma mater by doing admissions interviews.

                            Is this so surprising?

                          •  Laugh... ever try hiring someone who didn't (0+ / 0-)

                            know IT and bringing them up to speed as a programmer?

                            I doubt it - no one bothers doing that.

                            You did work with people from overseas and presumably got at least some of them to be valuable contributors.  If you didn't then you failed since companies like Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM do this quite routinely.

                          •  I worked *for* one of those companies (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            For our product -- and I speak only for that product, which I'm pretty certain you've never heard of -- technical success was not the priority. That's why I don't work there anymore.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:26:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I will. (0+ / 0-)

                            Universal health care and old age support.  Education funding.  Want me to go on?

                            Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:39:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Laugh... if you mean China as the communists (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll just say that China has none of this at the level that the US currently has.

                            In China you pay for medical care in advance or you're out on the street to die - I had a staff break her leg and I had to go to the ATM while she was on the way to the hospital so we had the cash to get her admitted.

                            Old age support is mostly non-existent or inflated away to the point of insult.  The iron rice bowl has rusted away.

                            Education funding is the best in China's history but still woefully inadequate - there are still far too few university places for the number of students who want to attend.  Many primary and secondary schools especially in rural areas are totally primitive - not even enough chairs for the students, no black boards, etc.

                          •  Since when was china communist? (0+ / 0-)

                            States are seldom what they claim to be.

                            Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:03:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  1950s and early 60s it was pretty close (0+ / 0-)
                          •  You interviewed the best of the best (6+ / 0-)

                            by definition. That's not the 'average' Chinese student any more than a US student who goes to a foreign college is the 'average' US student.

                          •  Arguable, but not my perception (0+ / 0-)

                            or that of others who I have talked to.

                            I'm interviewing for a top US school.  They also get the best of the US.

                          •  so Dismalest, did you speak to their parents? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Debby, mataliandy, o the umanity

                            Did you find out whether they have a support system that values educational achievement throughout the school, whether they have help with homework available after school, whether the students you interview are representative of the schools they attend?

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:27:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, you mean it's not fair? (0+ / 0-)

                            Did you find out whether they have a support system that values educational achievement throughout the school, whether they have help with homework available after school,

                            And so in 5, 10, and 20 years when those kids compete with US kids and they win the US kids can console themselves by saying "Well, THOSE GUYS were brought up in China where parents value education!  No wonder they are winning!" but you know what?  That won't change the basic fact - they will be winning and we will be losing.

                            whether the students you interview are representative of the schools they attend?

                            They are not representative.  But neither are the equivalent students that I and other interviewers talk to in the US.  They are all top students.

                          •  don't remember saying anything about fairness (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            do remember asking you to provide me information regarding the students you say (since you imply I'd lie about kids in my Sunday school class, I have no problem implying you'd lie about interviewing in China) you interviewed.

                            your prejudices are showing, btw.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:52:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You asked about support system (0+ / 0-)

                            Did you find out whether they have a support system that values educational achievement throughout the school, whether they have help with homework available after school,

                            They have a brutally effective support system complete with punishment (often being hit) for not getting top grades.

                            It's probably better than that of most US kids.

                            So what?  We either need to do better our way, copy their way, or lose.

                            Reminds me of Kim in Doonesbury when her classmates' parental delegation goes to her adoptive parents and complain that they are raising her too Asian and that she is breaking the curve and making their kids look dumb.

                            TFL.  There is no referee on this playing field.

                          •  Sure there is... (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:52:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh? Who's the ref? (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            o the umanity

                            If things keep going the way they are now in 20 years China will have a GDP 4 times the size of ours (to match the population ratios), a military that dominates the Pacific and can project power world wide like the US does today, and a foreign policy that uses economic and military pressure to guarantee preferential access to natural resources and overseas markets, deny that access to perceived competitors (most likely the US, Europe, and India), and pressure countries world wide to accommodate China's political sensitivities and prevent publication of information that could cause political problems at home in China.

                            The US, in particular, will be facing the need to repay China the money we have borrowed while being outclassed militarily and being told that we need to pay up or else the economic and political consequences will be worse than the cost of paying.

                            Your kids will work for Chinese companies, report to Chinese managers, and pay rent to Chinese landlords or make mortgage payments to Chinese owned banks.  

                            That's our future unless we turn things around.

                            Now who's the ref who's going to step in and tell the Chinese to play fair?.

                          •  Mmmm (0+ / 0-)

                            Now you're out here pushing outright fear-mongering bullshit. Have a donut.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:17:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I also find these paragraphs interesting... (5+ / 0-)

                        • Average scale scores for Florida’s African-American students, students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, students with disabilities (SD), and English language learners (ELLs) were statistically equal to those of their national counterparts.

                        AA: 264 vs 260
                        FRP: 269 vs. 266
                        SD: 262 vs. 259
                        ELL: 241 vs. 243

                        In 3 out of these 4 categories, Florida's students did slightly better than in national average -- but within the range of statistical equivalence.

                        • The average scale score of Florida’s grade 8 students overall was lower than that of their national counterparts, as was the case for grade 8 White students.

                        Grade 8: 279 vs 282
                        White: 289 vs. 292

                        So 264 vs 260 (for example) is "statistically insignificant", but 279 vs. 282 is (by implication) "statistically significant"? I'm not a statistician, and I realize that factors such as sample size might come into play, but this reporting smacks of some bias.

                        Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                        by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:22:45 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Look at your source (8+ / 0-)

                        Aren't those current FCAT results?

                        I think you finally answered my question. You're all for dumbing down education by trying to fit all pegs into a hole, whether the pegs are round or not.

                        Ideals like this are exactly why our kids are failing. You're not programming computers, you're teaching individual human beings.

                        Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                        by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:24:08 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Who is "they"? (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackSheep1, Albatross, pickandshovel

                        The school districts? The administrators?

                        The people selling standardized testing?

                        Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                        by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:48:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  crickets (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackSheep1, pickandshovel

                        n/t

                        Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                        by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:09:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Heh. (3+ / 0-)

                      Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                      by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:10:53 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  How do you know (9+ / 0-)

                    Yours is a straw man argument of either or, which the author did not make.

                    Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

                    by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:03:41 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  "Apparently" not? (6+ / 0-)

                    What is your evidence?

                    Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                    by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:10:13 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  This isn't about "basic academic subjects" (9+ / 0-)

                    If kids are drilled in memorization to the exclusion, for instance, of coherent writing and mathematical logic, they won't know those basic subjects either — only how to pick a multiple choice answer. But they won't be able to use any of that "basic subject" stuff in real life. I'm an editor and I despair at the writing  we get at my paper even from people who aspire to BE writers. They don't know the basics.

                    Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

                    by anastasia p on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:07:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, I think that proves my point (0+ / 0-)

                      Plenty of standardized tests include essays and grammar tests.

                      I despise the 5 paragraph formulaic responses that these tests seem to drive.  But I recognize that if you can do one of those 5 paragraph things well you have learned the basics of writing and if you can't then you have not.

                      I certainly want every student to learn to do better and more creative writing than that but I recognize that when we are not achieving the basics that's not an achievable desire.

                      •  No. It doesn't prove your point at all. (5+ / 0-)

                        The point is the difference between teaching and teaching to a test.

                        You are advocating teaching to a test.

                        Most are advocating education instead.

                        Census workers = "enumerator's." Enumerator's? Are we taking the census or making a James Cameron movie?

                        by ZenTrainer on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:58:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sure it does (0+ / 0-)

                          She's saying that students who graduate from US schools can't write decent papers - they don't know the basics.  So we need to achieve that.

                          You are advocating teaching to a test.

                          Most are advocating education instead.

                          With the nice little benefit that "education" as they define it cannot be objectively measured so we never have to deal with unpleasant issues like confronting teachers, schools, school districts, and states and saying "You are failing at your basic mission."

                          •  your teacher bias is showing (0+ / 0-)

                            With the nice little benefit that "education" as they define it cannot be objectively measured

                             

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:56:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes... I think teaching is too important (0+ / 0-)

                            to not measure the performance of the people doing it and to not ensure that people who do it badly improve or move into another line of work.

                          •  your (0+ / 0-)

                            talking points opinions grew stale quite early in the day.    

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:34:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oops (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ZenTrainer

                            Here's where the blowing of smoke becomes most obvious:

                            She's saying that students who graduate from US schools can't write decent papers - they don't know the basics.  So we need to achieve that.

                            The current graduates have spent 8 out of 12 years of their education learning via the "teach to the test" method of NCLB, which was implemented in 2002 (2010-2002 = 8, in case the math escapes you, which might explain your misperception about the current US education system and appropriateness of teaching to the test).

                            "Teach to the test" has ensured that students don't know the basics. "Teach to the test" has "failed at its basic mission." Doubling-down on failure will have one very predictable result.

                            More importantly, the programs that are cut in order to make way for this failed test-based pseudo-teaching, such as music and sports, are crucial to early brain development.

                            http://www.baltimoresun.com/...

                            http://www.pbs.org/...

                            We have performed a dismal science experiment on our children, and left them small-minded and bereft of the skills they need to excel in a cut-throat world. It's time to end this "tedious test training" methodology in our schools, and return to educating our children.

                          •  No, it doesn't. (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:18:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  oh, bullshit, Dismalest Scientist. Give some (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pickandshovel, o the umanity

                    proof of your claims.

                    If you can.

                    To other readers in this thread: look at the history of this poster's comments.

                    Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                    by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:52:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Nonsense - both should be the focus (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pickandshovel

                    not one or the other. Just like your original strawman comment, with no relation to the comment to which you responded, you pose a false choice. A choice not being propounded by either the diarist, nor by those to whose comments you respond.

                    You are arguing solely with yourself.

                    no remuneration was received by anyone for the writing of this message

                    by ItsSimpleSimon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:08:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  so throw out the baby in the bath water? (0+ / 0-)

                    teacher tenure means nothing?
                    and you know more about this than the state teachers union because?

                    •  Oh, absolutely, tenure means nothing (0+ / 0-)

                      The purpose of schools is to teach kids, not to provide jobs.

                      Any teacher in the bottom 10% or 20% needs to be out no matter how long he has been a teacher and to be replaced by someone who can teach better.

                      •  so experience doesn't provide learning? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Cassandra Waites, o the umanity

                        I'm a lot better at what I do, because of the time I've spent doing it. How about you? you any better at what you do because of experience? Replacement doesnt' mean better. Life is full of people that are in the lower percentile. So what? That's nature. I'd rather have too many teachers than not enough. How do you grade the teachers in the bottom percentile? By how the kids do on a test? Two teachers, one in a private upper class neighborhood with all teh bells and whistles, all the latest and greatest teaching technology, the other in a poor inner city school fund lacking, book deprived school, who do you think will 'score' better? Where would you put your money? It's not rocket science. Neither is teaching to a test, which is the original point of the diary. Killing teacher tenure was kind of like icing on the cake. Tenure does mean something. You equate it to the false 'cadillac owners' on welfare.

                        •  Experience sometimes makes people better (0+ / 0-)

                          and sometimes they just burn out.

                          Or sometimes they start bad and never get any better.

                          Replacement doesnt' mean better. Life is full of people that are in the lower percentile. So what? That's nature.

                          So how about we have the lowest percentile teachers teach your kids instead of funneling them off into inner city schools where they can teach poor minority kids whose parents aren't involved enough to make a stink and demand better?

                          How do you grade the teachers in the bottom percentile? By how the kids do on a test? Two teachers, one in a private upper class neighborhood with all teh bells and whistles, all the latest and greatest teaching technology, the other in a poor inner city school fund lacking, book deprived school, who do you think will 'score' better?

                          Well, first off you don't compare private to public.  But instead lets say we contrast two teachers in same school district but in different schools.

                          If resources are really misallocated between them then the scores are going to show that the poor inner city school is cratering.  Now a whole bunch of people well above our inner city school teacher have jobs at risk - principals, administrators, etc.

                          Meanwhile, our inner city teacher may be doing worse than most other teachers in his/her school, in which case s/he is part of the problem and replacing him/her will have to be part of the fix approach.  Or s/he's doing better in which case s/he still should qualify for merit pay, extra work mentoring other teachers, etc. so s/he can be part of the solution.

                          Tenure does mean something.

                          Yes. It means job security unless you can prove misconduct or total incompetence.  Many school districts fire less than .01% of tenured teachers per year.  Are 99.99+% of tenured teachers really good enough to keep their jobs?  Really?  If so every private company in American should be hiring the people who select public school teachers to run their HR departments for 7 or 8 digit salaries because they are total miracle workers.

                          •  so again, throw the baby out with the bathwater? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rian Fike

                            you're comparing apples and cucumbers.
                            I've probably had some of the lower percentile teachers in my educational experience. so?

                            oh yeah...how does this-->
                            So how about we have the lowest percentile teachers teach your kids instead of funneling them off into inner city schools where they can teach poor minority kids whose parents aren't involved enough to make a stink and demand better?

                            answer this-->
                            Replacement doesnt' mean better. Life is full of people that are in the lower percentile. So what? That's nature.

                            leave the cucumbers at home until they're needed.

                          •  Replacement doesn't mean better (0+ / 0-)

                            but it also doesn't mean worse.

                            If a teacher isn't doing a good job then we need to replace him with someone who will.

                            It is appalling that this is even controversial.

                          •  says you n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 07:46:19 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, at least you're clear (0+ / 0-)

                            I am amazed that you would openly admit that it is so important to you to keep job security for union workers that you don't even want schools to fire bad teachers so they can be replaced.

                          •  that's crap (0+ / 0-)

                            but you knew that before you even said it.

                            The American Television and Newspaper Mainstream Media = Private, For Profit Corporate Information Service Monopoly

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:57:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  the problem has become (18+ / 0-)

                in more than one district;  if you want to keep arts in the schools, you also have to fight for HISTORY.

                Don't talk to me about basic intellectual tools unless the kids know what the freakin' Constitution is and what it stands for. Trust me when I tell you, American Civics has taken just as big a beating as art classes in our schools. And it's appalling.

                All of these subjects go hand in hand. Together. You can't just teach "The Three R's" unless you teach context. And I submit to you that the arts and humanities teach (among other things) exactly that.

                Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:41:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If kids can't read well (0+ / 0-)

                  how can they possibly read and understand the Constitution?

                  Reading is absolutely fundamental.  You can teach the 3 Rs without teaching civics.  But you can't teach civics to a kid who can't read and who doesn't understand basic logic.

                  •  And so you are proposing...what? (5+ / 0-)

                    that we standardize tests?

                    Please, be more specific in what you are supporting here.

                    Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                    by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:57:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I propose designing decent tests (0+ / 0-)

                      in the basic subjects and then teaching to them with a focus like a laser beam until students achieve basic competency level for their grade.

                      Once students reach that level then additional academic subjects like history and science.

                      Once students are at or above grade level in the academic subjects then enrichment subjects like art become appropriate.

                      I also believe that some students aren't well suited for intellectual careers and that for those kids the focus should be on basic academic skills and career preparation.  That's subjects like wood work, metal work, car repair, culinary arts, electrical work, etc.  These are all useful crafts.  You can't be a master in any of them without reading and math and often some science skills but you can get a good well paying job that will let you support a family and have a decent life from them.  Call that tracking if you will, but for many kids those subjects can be a key to a good life that they could never achieve from a more intellectual education.

                      •  damn man, that's an impressive track record (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackSheep1

                        30 comments and 12 recs

                        republicians, supporters of small gov't and smaller economies

                        by askyron on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:13:15 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  And who do you propose the designers to be? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackSheep1, blueoasis

                        Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                        by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:17:56 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think we can manage with companies (0+ / 0-)

                          like ETS.

                          What's your point?  That no one can design a good test so we can't measure student performance?

                          •  My point is (5+ / 0-)

                            you are very, very obviously for standardized testing--the very subject this diary is assidiously against.

                            And I'm not convinced by your reasoning, mostly because a lot of it reads like press releases.
                             

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:34:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Definitely I am for standardized testing (0+ / 0-)

                            The alternative is not to measure performance.

                            But the first step to improve anything is to measure it.  If you aren't measuring performance then how can you determine if different methods deliver better results?

                          •  that's you're opinion (6+ / 0-)

                            Definitely I am for standardized testing  
                            The alternative is not to measure performance.

                            which takes 'straw men' to a new level.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:36:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My mistake... please explain (0+ / 0-)

                            How will you measure teacher, school, school district, and state performance without standardized testing?

                            How will you measure whether increased funding (and how it is used) delivers actual educational improvement?

                            How will you measure whether different ways of managing classrooms and schools really improve education?

                          •  so what's your connection to ETS, Dismalest? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pickandshovel, o the umanity

                            if you interview Chinese students for a US university, and you have managed Chinese workers, why do you want to make it harder for US teachers to educate US students?

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:31:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My only connection to ETS is that once (0+ / 0-)

                            long ago I took the SAT.

                            I don't want to make it harder for teachers to educate US students.  I want to make it harder for them to not educate US students.  Because it is painfully obvious to me that if current trends continue China will be the world's hyperpower in 20 year and unless China has fundamentally changed that will not be a very pleasant world.

                          •  Then, you advocate tracking students from an (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            early age, like they do in China, with the high stakes tests being used to determine what further education and jobs they will have?  What about IDEA which mainstreams all of our students through the 8th grade?  Would you have us go back to our teired tracking system of the college prep, business, and vocational tracks?  That's what was in place when I was a kid.  

                            Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

                            by bkamr on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:41:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  bkamr: no, he's saying that, like in China, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            it's better to test, test, test -- and if the kids don't max out the tests, discard the kids.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:53:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Which is discarding a kid? (0+ / 0-)

                            Teaching him chemistry and physics when he's clearly not going to be going into a career that can use them or teaching him wood work, metal work, car repair, and other blue collar skills that can give him a life long career?

                          •  deciding he's clearly not going to be able to use (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            chemistry and physics in wood work, metal work, car repair, or other blue collar skills ... sheesh.

                            have you ever painted a car?
                            have you ever built a wooden toolbox?
                            have you ever trued up rafters?
                            have you ever traced out an electrical short in a motorcycle?

                            physics and chemistry are part of the knowledge you need to do those jobs well and safely.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:40:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Laugh... I doubt you have done these things (0+ / 0-)

                            if you think you use physics or chemistry during normal work.

                            My parents still use the table I built 30 years ago in 7th grade shop class.

                            I didn't use physics or chemistry.

                            I recently helped a friend do a video of assembling a kit made in a Chinese factory to prove to the people on a US construction site who were having problems that the kit could be assembled and was not defective.    

                            Didn't use any physics or chemistry.

                            Carpenters use certified stains and paints.  They don't go back to their chemistry classes and decide if the chemicals are safe.  Same goes for almost every other branch of craftsmanship.  You look for shorts using a voltmeter.  You don't use Ohm's law.

                          •  liar. you had to use physics (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            to make the table balance. If you used glue or varnish, you had to use chemistry.

                            Yes. I have chased a short thru the entire electrical system of a motorcycle -- successfully.

                            Yes. I have painted a car.

                            Yes. I built (and still use, more than 20 years later) a wooden toolbox.

                            Yes. I've trued up rafters on not just farm sheds but homes.

                            Your video could easily have been creatively edited to prove your point; in the wake of James O'Keefe's video adventures with ACORN, I sincerely hope the kit was, truly, not defective.

                            A man who uses certified stains and paints without verifying the cleanness of his surfaces is a man who will find his finishes failing both soon and often.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:13:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                            liar. you had to use physics to make the table balance. If you used glue or varnish, you had to use chemistry.

                            Nope.... I used a bubble level and a rasp to make the table balance.  Obviously there is physics behind the bubble level but you don't need to understand any of it to use the level.

                            Glue - just asked the shop teacher for it.  And no, he wasn't a chemist either - he just went out and bought a reasonably non-toxic wood glue.  

                            Varnish and stain - same thing - picked from the assortment we had on hand based on the color.  

                            You need to be a chemist to make stuff like that but you don't need to be a chemist to use it.

                            In actual fact, that project was before I learned any chemistry.

                            A man who uses certified stains and paints without verifying the cleanness of his surfaces is a man who will find his finishes failing both soon and often.

                            Yup.  But again, you don't need physics or chemistry to learn that and clean your surfaces.

                          •  I see that I won't convince you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            that it takes knowledge beyond bubbling in a test sheet to succeed.

                            So I will bid you good day, sir.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 01:08:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I would definitely go back to tracking (0+ / 0-)

                            especially to put appropriate kids into voc ed.

                            There's nothing wrong with being a skilled craftsman and graduating from high school knowing how to use power tools or fix a car can easily be the difference between a rewarding lifelong career and "Do you want fries with that?".  I believe that the almost total abandonment of voc ed in our schools has short changed the kids who aren't going to go to college but who have the ability to be skilled blue collar workers.

                            Other students, sadly enough, aren't even going to be able to achieve that.  But being able to balance a check book, understand the impact of credit card debt, manage a household budget, and get to work on time will still be valuable skills for the rest of their lives that will make the difference between "Do you want fries with that" and mopping toilets or living on the street.

                            Why should we try to shoehorn everyone into a one size fits all academic mold?  People are not the same and do not all have the same abilities.  We should try to educate every student to the limits of his/her abilities and within that constraint to give him/her the best possible tools for future life.

                          •  Then, I suggest you make TRACKING and fighting (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            IDEA your cause, instead of your test it/ attack the the teachers push.  Because, by your own admission, not all students have the ability to meet the arbitrary grade level competency levels, and testing them and then punishing teachers for not being able to make ALL students able to perform to these arbitrary definitions of grade level competence makes no sense.  

                            Why should we try to shoehorn everyone into a one size fits all academic mold?  People are not the same and do not all have the same abilities.

                            If you believe this, then your arguments for the high stakes, paper and pencil tests as they are being used make no sense.  The tests are based on a curriculum progression designed to prepare students for college. How do you think they set the "grade level" requirements?  They started backwards from the SAT and ACT standardized tests.

                            You have have mis-analyzed the root cause and embraced support for a tactical approach that has no chance of solving the situation, as you see it.  Early educational tracking of students ended with the IDEA Act, which no one seems to be interested in debating or looking at.

                            Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

                            by bkamr on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 04:14:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Straw man... (0+ / 0-)

                            and testing them and then punishing teachers for not being able to make ALL students able to perform to these arbitrary definitions of grade level competence makes no sense

                            I've never advocated that.

                            What I do advocate is using tests to measure teacher and school performance, paying teachers who do better than average more money and firing teachers who are at the bottom.

                          •  yet you persist in advocating (0+ / 0-)

                            something you clearly appear to know nothing factual about.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:22:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  do you have kids? (0+ / 0-)

                        methinks maybe not.

                        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                        by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:24:25 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  The problem with "decent"tests is (8+ / 0-)

                        that in order to test anything other than rote skills and memory, you have to devote the time of skilled people to prepare for and evaluate the tests. Critical thinking and problem solving can't be evaluated well with bubble tests, but they can be tested with essays and performance-based assessment. We just have to decide it's important enough to do.

                        It's very much the same situation we have with education in general--it's not that we don't know how to do it or what works; it's that we don't have the means (or will) to do it.

                        We already know that we'd have much better success teaching all kids if we'd reduce class sizes to 20 students, give teachers rich, varied professional development opportunities, and create more flexible, "personalized" curricula that allowed different kinds of learners and learners at different levels to explore and develop their strengths. But those things are time- and resource-intensive, which, in administrator-speak, means expensive. Likewise with good tests. They take time and skill to prep for, administer, and assess, and all of that time takes money. But we shouldn't confuse "expensive" with impossible. It's not a matter of know-how, it's a matter of priorities.

                        •  How do you know that? (0+ / 0-)

                          We already know that we'd have much better success teaching all kids if we'd reduce class sizes to 20 students, give teachers rich, varied professional development opportunities, and create more flexible, "personalized" curricula that allowed different kinds of learners and learners at different levels to explore and develop their strengths.

                          How do you know any of that?

                          Did someone determine it with studies of classrooms that did this and comparing test performance against control classrooms?

                          Or does "we already know" in this context mean "I and some people who agree with me believe"?

                      •  That's it! No art or music for you kids until (7+ / 0-)

                        you master that geometry.  And then, when you have reached some arbitrary level of competency in math and reading, using our corporately produced, standardized tests, THEN, it's time to prepare you to be perfectly useful worker bees.  

                        Oh, of course, there can be some applied science courses, later on, and some history ... reading the Constitution would be okay.  

                        And, we can use the tests to see if the teachers are producing outputs to quality standards, and punish and reward accordingly.

                        It's the corporatist dream, isn't it?
                         

                        Pardon me while I try to decide if I'm going to weep or wretch.

                        Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

                        by bkamr on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:53:19 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  As opposed to what? (0+ / 0-)

                          "Let's all have fun in school and role play being the Founding Fathers and even if you graduate without learning to read and write and do math it's OK because we were EDUCATING you, not teaching to the test"?

                          •  Never mind. I just read some more of your (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            ridiculous either we accept this odious testing mania or no children will be taught to read or do math  drek in other comments.  

                            I'm glad to see you are not a teacher, because with your philosophy of education, I wouldn't want you inflicted on my son or any other child.

                            Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Donations 4 Grayson

                            by bkamr on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:34:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  that's the definition of insanity: (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Cassandra Waites, o the umanity

                        do the same thing over and expect different result.

                        I propose that we hire more teachers and divide classes down so that each adult has more time to work with each student as needed.

                        I propose that we pay teachers a living wage.

                        I propose that we bring back recess.

                        I propose that we add one period per day of music and one period per day of art to every child's classroom.

                        I propose that we do away with NCLB. I propose that we eliminate teaching to the test altogether by the simplest and best of means: junk the tests, which are sold to districts and states by the equivalent of snake-oil peddlers.

                        Teach Kids FIRST, pay testmakers NEVER. Let's give up the tired old notion that teachers aren't earning a decent living because they don't have a real job, and let's give up the notion that kids in school are wasting time they could better be spending perfecting a sport skill or sweeping a factory floor. Kids can have responsibilities; kids face peer pressure every day. We have, as the grownups, an obligation to turn that pressure into something positive rather than to fear and denigrate everything not spit out of some pedagogic catechism.

                        Case in point: I taught Sunday school for several years, and one year I had a class of 2nd-graders -- eight kids, one of whose parents told me not to ask her child to read aloud as he was a poor reader and that embarrassed him, which was bad for his self esteem.

                        Six of those kids couldn't read "Cat in the Hat" out loud without help, never mind a NKJV version of The Beatitudes.

                        Asking them to volunteer to read, one sentence at a time,
                        however, changed the dynamic. They'd be eager to try, and they'd be eager to encourage each other. So ... I asked for volunteers. I thanked each volunteer. We discussed the lesson not in verses but in sentences (and sometimes in phrases or even word by word). At the end May, that same group of kids were all fluent enough and confident enough to read aloud and enjoy it.

                        The parent who'd told me not to ask her son to read aloud came by to brag about how much better his reading had gotten.

                        Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:21:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  how can you teach to a test and acheive (0+ / 0-)

                        'basic competency'???
                        real life isn't on the test. making decisions based on logic isn't on a test.
                        I thought I read that if you always choose 'B' you'll pass. how is that teaching 'basic competency'?

                  •  I think you might be uninformed about (15+ / 0-)

                    this bill. I don't think these teachers are organizing because they don't want their kids to learn to read. In fact, that is obviously ridiculous. Get informed, Scientist.

                    There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

                    by StepLeftStepForward on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:02:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  really? (4+ / 0-)

                    how do you teach rhetoric without civics?

                    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

                    by grollen on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:25:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  why should we have to choose? (7+ / 0-)

                why should I sit in a meeting with teachers who tell me they don't have enough time to teach SCIENCE because they have to spend so much time teaching math & reading? (true story)

                A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:48:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If the kids don't have math and reading down (0+ / 0-)

                  then teaching them science is useless.

                  Do you really think a person who doesn't have basic math and reading skills down pat is going to be able to use whatever chemistry or biology they learn?  Or that they can learn the real subjects rather than just do feel good fun activities like baking soda and vinegar volcanoes?

                  •  again (6+ / 0-)

                    what are you proposing?

                    Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                    by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:59:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  there was a time I would have agreed with you (12+ / 0-)

                    but not after meeting my son.  He struggles with basic rote memorization of the multiplication tables, but he just won a second place in the state science fair, by designing an experiment around electrolysis of water, and can explain in detail everything he has learned in the high school chemistry class he is taking in 7th grade as a homeschooler.

                    Because he wants to go further in science, I am able to motivate him in math, despite his struggles there, because he is mature enough to understand now that he needs the math to go further in science.  he understands the multiplication, he just has a problem in memorization of anything rote.

                    if he'd spent hours and hours trying to learn the math earlier, he would have given up all the reading and learning that he has chosen to do in science.

                    he will eventually have both, but not in the order that would have been forced on him in the public school, and his passion for science would never have been cultivated.

                    A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                    by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:13:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Do you know how much memorization there is in (0+ / 0-)

                      chemistry?

                      He'll learn to memorize or that science fair project won't count for anything.

                      One of the cruel things about standardized tests is that they tell you the unvarnished truth, something that a teacher may not have the heart to do.

                      •  you cannot beat things into children (15+ / 0-)

                        one of the first things you learn as a parent and/or a teacher is that you have to work with the raw material that you get.

                        Yes, he will learn to memorize, that is my point.  He now understands why it is important, and he is making an effort to do so.

                        Having a teacher do this to him when he was 9 or 10 so he could pass a test because some beaurocrat decided he needed to know it by that particular age would not have led to greater learning, it would have led to frustration and failure.

                        Because he didn't fit the mold, I better understand the needs of all children, and it's NOT more standardized learning.  We need to be looking at each child's strengths and weaknesses and enforcing their strengths while addressing their weaknesses.

                        The current system, and what is happening in Florida cannot do that.

                        Also, you seem to miss that there are developmental issues in learning.  Did you know that a child cannot learn to read until they can pedal a tricycle or walk up stairs on alternate feet?  Kids are not computers who can just be programmed to do what we want.

                        They are individuals, who grow and learn sometimes outside of what we would wish to 'standardize'

                        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                        by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:33:17 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, if you are right then in your case (0+ / 0-)

                          giving teachers merit pay based on student performance would incent your child's teachers to use enrichment to motivate him to learn math.

                          Everyone's happy.

                          Including me - I certainly think it's a lot better if we can teach everyone all the advanced science, history, art, music, etc. as long as we don't do it at the expense of the basics or use the desire to do this as an excuse for failing at the basics.

                          •  actually, he's the perfect (7+ / 0-)

                            argument against merit pay.  Say he was in 4th grade and was struggling to learn the mult. tables.  His teacher would be penalized for the fact that he was not developmentally able to learn them yet, and his later science teacher wouldn't be rewarded for his science success because he would have been so discouraged from the math that he wouldn't have worked so hard in science.

                            The issue of merit pay is that each child is a sum of their past learning experiences, natural intelligences and their parent's socio-economic status, so when a teacher gets them, a large part of the effect that they may have may have already been mitigated by these factors either positively or negatively.  It's not fair to reward or penalize a teacher for what they cannot control.

                            and in whose universe is science an enrichment?

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:20:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In a typical term a teacher has over 100 students (0+ / 0-)

                            That's enough for a statistically valid comparison of performance improvement over the year with that of other teachers' students.

                          •  maybe at older grades (8+ / 0-)

                            but not in elementary school.  and if they don't learn the basics you argue so hard for in elementary school, then is it fair to penalize the secondary teacher?

                            and is it fair to penalize a teacher who chooses to teach in an economically disadvantaged school where the kids will not perform the same as kids in more suburban, priviliged schools?

                            those are cultural problems and we won't solve them by making it harder for teachers to be creative and inventive in teaching.

                            there is an old joke from when my husband worked for a big corporation.  There are 8 managers and one rower in a rowboat.  It comes down from management that the boat needs to go faster.  The managers all wring their hands, look at each other, and come up with the brilliant conclusion....

                            make the rower work harder.

                            I think that's what is happening with merit pay.

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:41:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  sort of (5+ / 0-)

                            except the 8 administrators are all watching the one teacher in the rowboat.

                            The first administrator says "I need to save us a whole pile of money so we can hire three more administrators", and then proceeds to remove the regulation-sized paddles from the teacher. In their place, the teacher is given two shovels.

                            Shovels! They have handles and sort of look paddle-like at the end. Those will work.

                            And if the teacher can't get anywhere paddling with shovels? Why, they're tossed overboard and told they're lazy, useless and redundant.

                            Swim faster, mate...

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:52:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  maybe what we need is schools kids go to (0+ / 0-)

                            regardless of the property values that can support them.
                            Perhaps even residential academies.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:40:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  One good point and a bunch of misconceptions (0+ / 0-)

                            maybe at older grades but not in elementary school.

                            OK... I'll agree on that.  But you can certainly measure elementary school teachers on aggregate results of 2 - 3 years and you can measure principals based on student performance over multiple classes and let them evaluate, add, and remove teachers based on more subjective evaluations.  The principals whose subjective evaluations correlate to improved student performance will be the ones who keep their jobs so you quickly end up with the good teachers being the ones who keep theirs.

                            and if they don't learn the basics you argue so hard for in elementary school, then is it fair to penalize the secondary teacher?

                            Of course not.  That's why you evaluate teachers not based on their students' absolute performance but based on the change in their performance year on year with controls for ESL, minorities, students getting school lunches, etc.

                            and is it fair to penalize a teacher who chooses to teach in an economically disadvantaged school where the kids will not perform the same as kids in more suburban, priviliged schools?

                            Of course not.  That's why when you measure performance your control for those factors.

                            those are cultural problems and we won't solve them by making it harder for teachers to be creative and inventive in teaching.

                            Nope... you pretty much won't solve them.  But you don't do those kids any favors by writing them off.  Instead you measure teacher performance with them controlling for socio-economic factors and teachers who can't teach those kids either get transferred to teach kids they can teach or leave the profession.

                            I don't see why measuring student performance at the end of the year makes it "harder for teachers to be creative and inventive in teaching".  What it does do is make it harder for teachers to do a bad job and then say "Oh, it's not my fault - I can't do anything about their home situation."  Because we can then say "No you can't, but neither can other teachers but your performance was only in the 30th percentile after controlling for socio-economic factors.  Shape up or check if the nearest McDonalds needs a new burger flipper."

                            there is an old joke from when my husband worked for a big corporation.  There are 8 managers and one rower in a rowboat.  It comes down from management that the boat needs to go faster.  The managers all wring their hands, look at each other, and come up with the brilliant conclusion....

                            make the rower work harder.

                            I think that's what is happening with merit pay.

                            Well, first off, you do need to make the rower work harder.  Next, I see no reason not to apply the same measurements to principals and school district administrators.  In that case they will be incented to fire some of those managers if there are too many.

                            Your attitude seems to be "Oh, our schools have all these problems so it's not fair to measure performance and say who's doing well and who's doing bad and measure them based on that."

                            So then what's the solution?

                            You want to fire 7 out of 8 administrators and hire more teachers?  I won't object as long as you measure before and after student performance so we can see if it works.

                          •  if you don't see this (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            I don't see why measuring student performance at the end of the year makes it "harder for teachers to be creative and inventive in teaching".  

                            then there is nothing more to talk about.

                            high stakes testing forces teachers to teach to the test.  if we were measuring student performance, with a test and/or system that wasn't skewed to support white children in the suburbs, then your arguments might hold merit.

                            your idealism is to be commended, but now you need some experience with what is really happening in the schools and the classrooms.  all your arguments sound very naive.

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:03:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So document that the test is skewed to (0+ / 0-)

                            white children in the suburbs.

                            I content that white children in the suburbs tend to be taught better and taught more so the tests correctly measure that they know more.

                            The problem isn't the test, it's the facts that the tests are measuring.  Those facts are unpleasant but closing our eyes does not change them.

                          •  that's been done a jillion times. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites, o the umanity

                            white children in the suburbs come to school more prepared to learn, so even if the teachign were the same, they would learn more.  the single most determining factor of a child's success in school is the parent's socioeconomic status.  

                            you really need to research some stuff on urban flight, and the differences between urban and suburban schools before you make these kinds of statements.

                            here is a diary I wrote a while back that might give you something to think about:  Linky

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:21:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You miss the point (0+ / 0-)

                            Teacher and school performance can be measured using controls for students' socioeconomic status.

                            That means you can still rate teachers and schools against each other, identify the ones who are succeeding, reward them, apply interventions with the rest, and eliminate those who do not improve.

                          •  So do you (0+ / 0-)

                            people are not commodities.

                            Or, as you put it ever-so unawares succinctly upthread:

                            Why should we try to shoehorn everyone into a one size fits all academic mold?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:18:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So everyone is an inDUHvidual (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            o the umanity

                            and if a teacher's students don't learn we just say "Oh, well they're all inDUHviduals learning at their own pace.  No harm no foul." and when kids graduate unable to pass a reading test we just say "We were giving them an education, not teaching to the test."

                          •  you've made your opinions known here (0+ / 0-)

                            repeatedly.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:57:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that *was* your comment (0+ / 0-)

                            I blockquoted.

                            You did catch that, didn't you?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:02:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the real issue of merit pay is that (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites, k8dd8d

                            corporations and their bought-and-paid-for legislators don't believe teachers ought to earn a decent living, because these shady groups can't suss out a direct, in-their-pocket, profit to be had off the teachers' work.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:39:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Merit pay is more pay for good teachers (0+ / 0-)

                            so how is that preventing teachers from getting a decent living?

                          •  You are totally wrong in this case. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites, o the umanity

                            Senate Bill 6 will revoke my teaching certificate if my students do to reach an unknown level on an unknown test.

                            It will take away my chance to make a living completely.

                            Your theories are totally out of touch with the facts in this case.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:21:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The purpose of schools is to teach kids, not to (0+ / 0-)

                            provide you with a career or a way to make your living.

                            If it turns out you can't teach then I want you out on your ass.  McDonalds is hiring.

                            Now, I will agree that any such process needs to take into account student socioeconomic factors and be controlled for them.  But that's a pretty basic statistical process that is not that hard to do.

                            This is the real issue with standardized testing - once you start measuring teacher performance you start firing the ones who don't perform... and that makes people who used to have guaranteed jobs for life very unhappy.

                            TFL.

                          •  What if the parent agrees. (3+ / 0-)

                            Their disabled child will not be able to reach the unknown level on the unknown test, no matter how good the teacher is.

                            The teacher still gets fired.

                            That's what you want, according to your spew.

                            Good luck with that.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:03:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                            The disabled child is either taken into account in the socioeconomic controls (ie. number of special ed kids) or is not included since there is so much variability in special ed kids.

                            It really isn't hard to do this if you want to.

                            Of course, the end result will be lots of bad teachers being told "You're Fired!".  Since under the current system most teachers really have no idea how they compare to other teachers that is obviously going to be very scary for many of them.

                          •  You are ignorant of the contents of SB6. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            You are completely wrong here, since every teacher would be measured by standardized tests and special ed kids would be included without exception.

                            You have not studied the facts, obviously.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:46:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I will talk slowly. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Go to www.google.com

                            Search for Florida Senate Bill 6 in the News section.

                            You are such an expert, you should be okay from there.

                            And next time, maybe you should inform yourself first.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:19:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Checked... nothing obvious that supports your (0+ / 0-)

                            claim.

                          •  Write your own diary. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Stop hogging other people's work.

                            Do some research, rather than trolling popular topics.

                            If you are such and expert, it should not be difficult.

                            And, for your information, the full bill is 60 pages and it contains blanket generic requirements that do not distinguish between special ed, music, science, foreign language, or any other subject.

                            You are ignorant.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:45:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I followed your directions (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            o the umanity

                            and did not find the info that you claimed exists there.

                            Not my fault you can't be bothered to cite your claim.

                          •  when you post a cite leading somewhere other (0+ / 0-)

                            than a testing industry report.

                            I hate to tell you this, but it's not a teacher's job to roll over and play dead so you can earn a living, spunky.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:24:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dismalest Scientist has never written a diary. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            He only leeches off others with misinformed aggressive opinions based on his own need for attention.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:36:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  of course he hasn't (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rian Fike

                            Whether it's based in a need to put teachers out of work, so he can have a career providing standardized tests to school districts (and he's not fully-disclosing industry ties)--or whether it's a need for attention--who can tell, amid all the fluff?

                            All I see are cites leading to industry statistics, so my ability to discern context cynical mind immediately tends to believe the former. However, you have more experience with this troll, so I'll take your word for it :-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:42:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  He is a hot air factory. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            He doesn't represent anything but his own ego.

                            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:46:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dismalest Scientist, that's wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            on its face -- "merit" pay is given to teachers who fit into the system, which is completely different from good teachers.

                            Ask a student.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:41:51 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, if you can't determine which (0+ / 0-)

                            teachers are good teachers then your whole educational system is broken.

                            Merit pay and firing poor performers has to go up the whole value chain.  Principals and administrators who deliver poor results because they reward the wrong teachers need to be fired too.

                          •  we need more teachers, fewer administrators (0+ / 0-)

                            and we need to recognize that the work of schools is the work of teachers.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:43:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think that's probably right (0+ / 0-)

                            but I think we should measure the results to find out and reward the principals and superintendents who figure out which administrators to get rid of to improve the schools.

                            BTW, even if you don't like firing teachers do you have a problem with firing administrators?  Even unionized ones?

                          •  what tests do administrators teach to? n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:25:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  They administer. They don't teach. (0+ / 0-)

                            But if the schools they administer are failing then they need to go.

                            Shit rolls uphill.

                          •  and who tests the administrators? (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:44:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What's the point of testing (0+ / 0-)

                            administrators or even teachers?

                            You test the students.

                            If the students aren't learning then you know you have a problem with the teachers and/or administrators.

                          •  LOL! (0+ / 0-)

                            Who determines what the problem is from there? How is it done?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:19:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You do it the same way any enterprise does when (0+ / 0-)

                            it discovers that part of it is failing to perform to standard.

                            First you give the people who run that part of the organization - the school, the district, the department  - some time to clean the problem up on their own - it's their problem to figure out what or who the problems are.  If they can't then you replace them with someone else who has a proven track record and let him deal with it.

                          •  Any enterprise (0+ / 0-)

                            at least in the business world that I live in, goes to the source of the problem first, and demands management input.

                            In this case, that input would be demanded from the teachers.

                            I see no mention of that in your simplistic fantasies out here.  But, then again, that's why the grownups in Florida are about to see their governor dump SB6--because even the Republican governor can plainly see that teachers were never consulted about any of it.  

                            Until they are, that's exactly what you and your ilk are trolling--simplistic fantasy. And you'll continue to lose until you quit letting bribes money get in the way of your common sense.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sure... you talk to workers (0+ / 0-)

                            But you also remember that sometimes some of your workers are the problem.

                            Businesses measure results and fire poor performers.

                          •  Not with SB6 it doesn't. (0+ / 0-)

                            Give it up already.  

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 09:46:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dismalest Scientist, what is "incent"? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Do you mean it would offer the teachers an incentive?
                            Then say so.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:38:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Incent is a shorter more direct word (0+ / 0-)

                            What is your problem with it?

                          •  Oh, how about it's substandard English (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            and would get you a "wrong" if you used it on one of your precious standardized tests???

                            It's bastardization of a noun, incentive, to "create" a verb that doesn't exist in standard English.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:44:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I can see the argument (0+ / 0-)

                            that it's a bastardization and that incentivize is more more appropriate.

                            However, remember - English grammar and vocabulary standards are descriptive, not prescriptive (unlike, for example, France.)

                            See http://en.wiktionary.org/....  Incent is definitely a word and has become more common than incentivize.

                          •  incentivize is like using impact as a verb, too (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            incentive is the word.

                            wiktionary ... right.

                            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:42:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Impact is a verb (0+ / 0-)

                            Is Princeton good enough for you?

                          •  ahh, but (0+ / 0-)

                            which dictionary does the FCAT allow use of during your test?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:28:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I have no idea. (0+ / 0-)

                            Does FCAT allow any dictionary at all?  Is it an open book test?

                          •  again, willfully obtuse or else zero sense of (0+ / 0-)

                            irony.

                            Do they still teach that in high school?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:45:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are clearly uninformed and here solely to (0+ / 0-)

                            disrupt.

                            Next time I see you in one of these diaries, you're HR'd on sight for trolling. Got it?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 10:11:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  You place way too much reliance on the tests. (5+ / 0-)

                        I asked these elsewhere, but they're worth restating:

                        How have the tests been tested?

                        How do we know that they accurately measure what they say they measure?

                        How do we know that what they measure is what they should be measuring?

                        In what ways are we trying to help kids succeed, and how does performance on these tests correlate to that kind of success?

                        Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                        by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:33:57 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  As opposed to what? (0+ / 0-)

                          Subjective grading by each individual teacher with no norming or anything?

                          Just because no assessment can be perfect is not a reason not to use the best assessments we can design.

                          •  But the design of the tests is subjective. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mmacdDE, blueoasis

                            It's easy to take good measurements in economics. Money is easy to measure, right? (Quick: what's the current GDP? And by which measure?)

                            But if economic numbers are hard to pin down, educational numbers are far harder. We know much more about what money is, and how to measure it, than we do about education. Until there are some clear answers to the questions that I asked, there's no real objectivity involved in how we're measuring our schools, because the design and interpretation of the tests is entirely subjective.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:57:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Why does it matter if they are subjective? (0+ / 0-)

                            There is ample evidence that tests can be designed whose results are highly correlated with each other, that appear to test particular subjects, on which scores are strongly correlated with the amount of teaching that students receive on those subjects, and that serve as good predictors of whether or not students will be able to do well on the same subject in the following year.

                            It may be hard to specify with mathematical rigor what exactly we are measuring with a basic math test but why does that matter?  We know that it is something that is strongly correlated with students' abilities to use basic math in normal life and in future academics and you can use changes in performance on the test to measure the effectiveness of different interventions and the performance of teachers and schools.  What more do we need?

                            On the other hand, the alternative to standardized tests is grading by each teacher.  Why would you think that is better?  Each teacher is making his own evaluations his own way.  There is no consistency, no validation, no determination of correlation with anything that we care about.

                            Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.  Use the best standardized tests we can design and look for ways to improve them.  

                          •  I used to take that attitude toward testing (4+ / 0-)

                            Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.  Use the best standardized tests we can design and look for ways to improve them.

                            Then I realized that there was a better way: Until we have answers to the questions I posed, let's go back to relying on evaluations made by each teacher. Yes, they're flawed, and yes, they're inconsistent, but teachers know their students in a way that tests never will. So why let the mediocre be the enemy of the good?

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:22:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's very convenient (0+ / 0-)

                            Then there's no way to compare students of different teachers against each other, teachers against each other, schools against each other, or states against each other and everyone can be above average!

                            I don't think so.

                          •  You may not have heard this (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites

                            But colleges and universities do that all the time. Sure, they have SAT or ACT scores, but only the worst of the lot would admit a student based only on those scores. Grades, portfolios, and recommendations count for more than test scores. Hmmm, I guess there may be a way of comparing students, schools, and states after all.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:29:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually, almost every top college is very score (0+ / 0-)

                            focused or else uses other measures that function as effective proxies for scores.

                            Note the average SAT scores for entering students in any college ranking survey.

                          •  The problem with a standardized test... (6+ / 0-)

                            ...is an information theory problem.

                            Simply put, the fewer bits of information you base that test result, the less reliable, less meaningful success in that test is, because it tells you less and less about what people truly know.

                            The most persistent knowledge exists structurally in a child's mind.  It is not merely the little rote answers, which can be memorized and repeated, but the higher level thinking, which must be internalized.

                            Are we really getting better teachers by doing things this way, or just better drill instructors.  Education is about more than facts, it about how we deal with the information around us from our own subjective perspective.

                            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                            by Stephen Daugherty on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:23:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Very pretty, but what does it mean? (0+ / 0-)

                            In the end, we need people who can figure out that 5X +  10 = 50 -> X = 8.

                            Now, I don't know what that has to do with "how we deal with the information around us from our own subjective perspective" or even what that phrase means - perhaps you can provide a concrete example?  But what I do know is that in the example above X = 8 and there is absolutely nothing subjective about that.

                          •  Look it up n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:30:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  That's just silly in 2010. (8+ / 0-)

                        Some scientists I know have abysmal memories. They don't have to memorize anymore, because they can access the information they need at the touch of a button.

                        Nobody has all of the ideal intellectual characteristics (at least no one I've met yet.) And yet everyone has strengths. It's silly, no, not silly; It's wrong to write someone off because they can't memorize properly.

                        •  Laughable (0+ / 0-)

                          Try finding a working chemist who doesn't have big chunks of the periodic table memorized and who doesn't memorize huge amounts of information about different reactions, molecular structures, and chemical pathways.

                          It's 20 years since I did chemistry and I can still remember the first 2 rows and big chunks of the third row of the periodic table as well as the molecular structure of many common chemicals.

                          •  And it's been 50 yrs (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

                            since I was forced to memorize the alphabet backwards in second grade. I can still do it.

                            Though other than as a party trick, it's a pretty useless skill.

                            As is memorizing the periodic table.

                            If you NEED to know something on a regular basis, you'll eventually remember it even if you have to look it up the first 200 times.

                            I'm sure you remember your SSN. And your phone number. And various passwords for accounts. Nobody FORCED you to memorize them, you just did it because it made things more CONVENIENT.

                            I don't have my children's phone numbers memorized. Why should I? They're programmed into my phone. If they change their number, they call me, I set that as their number, and I don't have to memorize it.

                            Things change too fast today. Memorization is a OLD skill. One more suited to an age where countries stayed the same for centuries, and people worked in the same job their entire lives.

                          •  Sorry... but memorization is one of the basics (0+ / 0-)

                            you have to remember more and more and lots of things can't be derived.

                            I still freak out programmers by sitting down, looking at their code, and saying "I don't think that database function does what you think it does."  I can do that because I spend weeks reading the docs for each new version of the database we use and because I have a good enough memory to retain most of it.  And that's getting harder and harder because the docs are getting longer and longer.

                      •  Actually, I did better in Chemistry than (8+ / 0-)

                        in Biology specifically because Chemistry was more about concepts than about rote memorization (and spelling!).  And, yes, I did just fine on the ACS standardized tests and went on to be a fine chemist.

                        You don't learn by taking tests--you  learn by studying material and letting teachers teach.  Tests are a TOOL not an end in themselves.

                        Real science is rarely done by petition. --John R. Mashey

                        by Naniboujou on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:08:25 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Why do you think you have to memorize (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

                        everything?

                        If you learn the underlying principles in a way that makes sense to you, you UNDERSTAND how it works, and you don't have to MEMORIZE anything.

                        To me, memorization means that you don't UNDERSTAND it. You can parrot it back, but that doesn't mean you can use it, do it a different way, explain it, or build on it.

                        •  mmacdDE: precisely. That's how come the (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Cassandra Waites

                          stuff kids memorize for standardized tests isn't in their memories two weeks after the test. They've moved on.

                          Bad, bad, bad theory on which to build an educational frame.

                          Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                          by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:45:12 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Exactly this. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Cassandra Waites

                          I can't memorize for anything. Never could. What I can do very well is learn abstract concepts, which taught me how to pretend to have the crap that they explained memorized. As a result, all through school I was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of my class that simply memorized the information and thus every new piece of information that built on the concept that I already knew was a new thing to be memorized.

                          As a result, one semester in high school I got a C in math, with a 97% grade on quizzes, and a 100% grade on tests. Zero percent on in-class work because I just napped through it while the teacher pounded the same old shit into the other students heads.

                          "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

                          by Geiiga on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:49:08 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  all are certainly necessary (6+ / 0-)

                    but I think that teaching the "basics" (like math) without also devoting some time to the application piece (science) leads to the students thinking that things like math have no point.

                    In my experience (yes, I have been a teacher) the way you get students excited is by starting with the "point." You introduce them botany, and after they get excited about the plants, you can get them to learn the equations for photo-synthesis.

                    I think it was Saint-Exupery who said, "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." That's how education works too.

                  •  So why do we ever teach anything BUT (4+ / 0-)

                    math and reading to elementary students?  Perhaps that's the real failing.  

                    And parents--oh my!  Teaching their children games and songs and such!  Clearly parents put their children on the road to ruin!

                    Who knew???  < / snark>

                    Real science is rarely done by petition. --John R. Mashey

                    by Naniboujou on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:02:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Fail. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

                    I am a special education teacher, I teach high school science and mathematics.

                    My students may not meet your standards because their reading and calculation skills are at elementary levels, but to assert that teaching them science is useless is both insulting and untrue.

                    What is your alternative, what do you suggest we do with the 'useless' students?

                    •  I suggest that we focus on teaching your (0+ / 0-)

                      students what they need to have to live independently.

                      Presumably they will never be scientists but depending on their level of disability I hope most of them can learn to make change, understand if they are being cheated on basic financial transactions, learn to read well enough to understand a simple employee manual, etc.

                      I hope you can teach those kids up to the limit of what they can learn but I think you are cheating them if you are doing enrichment classes for subjects they will never be able to use rather than focusing on what will let them hold down a job, pay rent, and support a child if that will be possible for them.

                  •  "feel good fun activities" you dismiss (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Teddifish

                    so condescendingly are what motivate kids to read more.
                    Reading more teaches kids by example and expands their horizons.

                    The kind of crappy education you're after produces "workers."
                    The kind of education we need to return to produces "citizens."

                    YOU need to learn to respect the difference.

                    Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                    by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:36:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, if the feel good stuff (0+ / 0-)

                      really motivates kids to read more and improves their reading and writing skills then that will show up on the tests, right?

                      I don't mind having that measured and proven and if it is then I'll support more of it.

                      Why are you afraid to measure what works?

                      •  why are you afraid to admit NCLB (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        o the umanity

                        and the standardized tests it worships has not improved education in this country (let alone Texas, where we've had it since nineteen ninety freaking six, when that doublecrossing carpetbagging cowardly excuse for a douchebag Republican puppet started his national hoodwinking career) by any measure including statistics????

                        Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:46:15 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Florida is a unique state in a unique situation. (7+ / 0-)

                Their schools have become nothing more than test-teaching, rigid institutions where imagination, creativity and inventiveness go to die.

                My question is not why the teachers are organizing now but why they didn't organize years ago when their profession and the very ideal of public education was under attack under the likes of Jeb Bush?

                Further, just because kids learn the arts does NOT have to mean they don't learn the basics. That kind of thinking has helped lead the state directly to the BOTTOM for the past decade. This is not an all or nothing proposition.

                You claim Buzz Lightyear teaches as much as any teacher? Damn, I'm glad I didn't have any of YOUR teachers!!!

                Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:17:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Straw man. Last resort of a liar who has run out (0+ / 0-)

                  of arguments.

                  You claim Buzz Lightyear teaches as much as any teacher?

                  Of course this is a lie.  I never made that claim.

                  If you were not trying to lie you would have quoted me directly.

                  Here's the actual quote:

                  Buzz Lightyear teaches as much imagination as any teacher.

                  And yes, I certainly think that's true.  I never learned imagination from my teachers.  I learned it from books, movies, music, etc.

                  •  You're right. I'm a liar. and you're a troll. nt (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    o the umanity, Rian Fike, teloPariah

                    Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                    by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:31:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  One other thing - teachers don't teach (6+ / 0-)

                    imagination, a word I unintentionally left out of my original post that caused you to start throwing around words like 'liar'. But good teachers DO allow students to develop their imagination, to flex their imagination, to use their brains in an effort to reason and solve problems that don't always fit into a multiple-choice question on a high-stakes standardized test.

                    Florida has done things the way you are advocating for years and it has gotten them here. The bottom.

                    Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                    by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:37:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You feel that Florida is at the bottom? (0+ / 0-)

                      Mind giving your evidence for this?

                      Information I have read indicates that Florida is approximately at the national average.  I think that's still unacceptably bad, but it certainly is not the bottom.

                      •  Interesting article (0+ / 0-)

                        Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                        by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:02:45 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

                          Apparently Florida is at the bottom for percentage of income spent on education and 39th in per student spending but results are much more mixed when you look at measures of student achievement.

                          The National Assessment of Educational Progress, called ``the nation's report card,'' ranked Florida 22nd in fourth-grade reading in 2007 based on its own test, with less stellar numbers for math and eighth-grade scores.

                          10; overall quality of education; 2009 `Education Week' Quality Counts report

                          A June report by Education Week and the nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education ranked Florida 47th in graduation rates. About 57.5 percent of seniors graduated with a regular diploma, compared to 69.2 nationwide, according to the ``Diplomas Count'' study.

                          Not so, said the Florida Department of Education. According to its calculations -- which include special diplomas and GEDs -- the graduation rate was 71 percent in 2006, and 75.4 percent in 2007.

                          I consider the learning measures more important than the graduation rates since graduation rates also measure how strict your criteria are for giving students a diploma, not just how well you teach them.  You may disagree.

                  •  Please take back the "liar" claim (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cassidy3, Rian Fike, angstall, teloPariah

                    and the implicit claim that you can read angstall's motivations and intent. The fact is that in context, angstall's paraphrased quote is close enough to not misrepresent what you wrote. You're splitting hairs, and libeling angstall in the process.

                    In short, you're being trollish. Please stop it.

                    Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                    by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:38:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I totally disagree (0+ / 0-)

                      When I quote people I quote them.

                      I don't do straw men and I call those who do liars.

                      •  You lie. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        angstall

                        Here's angstall's quote:

                        Further, just because kids learn the arts does NOT have to mean they don't learn the basics. That kind of thinking has helped lead the state directly to the BOTTOM for the past decade. This is not an all or nothing proposition.

                        You claim Buzz Lightyear teaches as much as any teacher? Damn, I'm glad I didn't have any of YOUR teachers!!!

                        See, the way I read it, you can't just quote the bottom paragraph. Angstall was writing about arts education. You took it out of context to make your point.

                        Who's the liar here? Who's creating strawmen?

                        I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, though: Perhaps your misreading was not intentional. Perhaps, since you are sure that your position is correct, you were expecting to be misunderstood, and found what you were expecting. But if that's the case, you'd do well to admit to this.

                        Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                        by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:50:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I quoted enough to make clear (0+ / 0-)

                          that Angstall was not telling the truth about what I wrote.

                          And I gave a direct quote of what he wrote... no lies about what he wrote.

                          I said nothing about whether he was talking about arts education or anything else.

                          He certainly never indicated that I was talking about teaching about imagination.

                          •  I am a she and I responded above to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Nowhere Man

                            your assertion that I am a "liar".

                            I'm always flummoxed by people who take your position about "the basics" when the reality is that the flogging of "the basics" to the exclusion of the arts, history and science is the status quo and it simply hasn't worked.

                            When I lived in Orlando, I home-schooled, not out of some ideological opposition to public school, but because the local public school was so terrible. This was in an "upper-middle class" area. I shudder to think what families experience in low-income areas.

                            Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                            by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:12:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But in Orlando (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity, angstall

                            you could have had all the Buzz Lightyear you wanted. How could your experience there possibly have gone sour?

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:17:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But But some stand to make a fortune on the tests (5+ / 0-)

                            when the problem is not just the schools and teachers but the home environments. Unlike when I was growing up the children growing up today have so much TV, ipod, cellphone, texting, and other distractions to suck up thier interest. The money that is proposed going to testing should go to updating our equipment for teaching in the modern world.

                            We are going to lose them and turn into a third world nation if we can't avoid continuing the regimented assembly line education. We are the ones who need to innovate and improve the process. Not double down and keep betting on what is not working ...testing.

                            Meanwhile those corporations who market the tests have the funds to batter thier way in and add nothing to the schools. I can just see some execs in meetings saying "this market is huge and since they will be teaching to the test, we will have several decades before they wise up to skim the cream off as the spending on tests damages education even more"

                            Even worse the best teachers are likely to move on to other occupations. It doesn't need good teachers to teach to a test, just martinets.

                            Fear is the Mind Killer

                            by boophus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:41:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I wish I could rec this 100 times. (4+ / 0-)

                            It's the heart of the matter and so discouraging for people like me, with 3 sons ages 13 (twins) and 14 who need a good education (we have special needs in our family too) and this system isn't helping us and it isn't helping the majority of families.

                            Yes, the doctor will see you now.

                            by angstall on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:17:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Stop. Right. There. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity, angstall

                            You claim to have given a direct quote. Yes, you did. Out of context.

                            You claimed angstall was "misquoting" you. But ansgstall was not quoting you; s/he was paraphrasing. It does not take great reading comprehension skills to understand that angstall's meaning could be further elucidated with two additional words:

                            Further, just because kids learn the arts does NOT have to mean they don't learn the basics. That kind of thinking has helped lead the state directly to the BOTTOM for the past decade. This is not an all or nothing proposition.

                            You claim Buzz Lightyear teaches [the arts] as much as any teacher? Damn, I'm glad I didn't have any of YOUR teachers!!!

                            You may be about to key in on the fact that you wrote "imagination", not "the arts". That would seem to be a difference hardly worth debating; if you do choose to debate it, be prepared to describe exactly why it matters.

                            And please, stop whining about strawmen when you apparently feel free to create more obvious ones for your own purposes.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:16:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Except I never claimed what you just wrote (0+ / 0-)

                            You claim Buzz Lightyear teaches [the arts] as much as any teacher? Damn, I'm glad I didn't have any of YOUR teachers!!!

                            If that's what Angstall meant then she was still not telling the truth about what I wrote.  Because I wrote

                            Buzz Lightyear teaches as much imagination as any teacher.

                            There's a cut and paste and a block quote function here.  Use it.  Don't misrepresent what other people write.

                          •  Yeah, I knew you'd say that. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Did you even read my comment?

                            You may be about to key in on the fact that you wrote "imagination", not "the arts". That would seem to be a difference hardly worth debating; if you do choose to debate it, be prepared to describe exactly why it matters.

                            Do you remember the comment where you wrote about imagination?

                            If I have to choose between kids who can read and
                            write and do math but haven't had any art classes or kids who got art classes and other enrichment but didn't learn the 3 Rs then I know what I will pick.

                            Teachers who think that without their enlightenment children will not have imaginations are self-important fools.  Kids learn to dream and imagine from sources as diverse as toys, movies, music, clouds, and everything else in their environment.  Buzz Lightyear teaches as much imagination as any teacher.

                            You wrote a comment that appeared to link art classes with developing the imagination. You, yourself, linked those issues together.

                            Go away.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:37:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry... I do link art with the imagination (0+ / 0-)

                            because the earlier commenter suggested that this was something that would help kids have imaginations.

                            But that's far different from claiming that Buzz Lightyear teaches art (absurd) rather than stimulating the imagination (obvious).

                          •  Not "art". "the arts" (0+ / 0-)

                            Perhaps I'm overgeneralizing, but to me there's a big difference. I think most people would agree that in school settings, teaching "the arts" is about teaching creativity (imagination), whereas "art" is more about technique.

                            What were you saying about quoting?

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:21:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I don't believe you can teach creativity (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Then what did you mean when you wrote (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            Buzz Lightyear teaches as much imagination as any teacher.

                            ?

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:44:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Touche... (0+ / 0-)

                            I think creativity comes from stuff that you experience in life and very little from formal schooling.

                            A class in creativity would probably not teach anything useful.

                          •  Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            o the umanity

                            But no one suggested "a class in creativity".

                            Formal schooling can't instill creativity, but it most certainly can nurture and inspire it. Others have written on this diary that there are good and bad art teachers; there are those who encourage and stimulate creativity, and those who stifle it.

                            For that matter, the same applies to English teachers. In his enthusiasm for and dramatization of the works we were reading, my AP English teacher was very much like the Robin Williams character in the movie Dead Poets Society. Perhaps he did teach creativity, in his own way.

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:19:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Who cares what you don't believe? (0+ / 0-)

                            You're not qualified enough to determine any of this.

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:35:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Clarifying about the difference (0+ / 0-)

                            between "art" and "the arts" :

                            Given the tight relationship between "the arts" and creativity, I think many folks would agree that "Buzz Lightyear teaches the arts" and "Buzz Lightyear teaches imagination" are similar (I'm not saying identical) in meaning.

                            However, saying "Buzz Lightyear teaches art" (a laughable statement in itself) is certainly not close in meaning to "Buzz Lightyear teaches imagination"

                            Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

                            by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:43:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Buzz Lightyear teaches the arts? Really? (0+ / 0-)

                            Come on... let's get real.

                            But for a little kid he definitely stimulates the imagination.

                •  My understanding is (3+ / 0-)

                  they tried:

                  My question is not why the teachers are organizing now but why they didn't organize years ago when their profession and the very ideal of public education was under attack under the likes of Jeb Bush?

                  Simple--because the very name Bush is synonymous with cronyism and payola. They own a lot of people in high places around here. Still.

                  Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                  by o the umanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:01:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I used to think that way. (3+ / 0-)

                And then I became disabled for a while and couldn't work.  I took up sketching and painting.

                I know realise that it is not possible to have true critical thinking skills unless you have some small measure of contentment, of art, of beauty.

                Simply because you know how to think critically does not mean you will do it.

                If there was more art in the USA then you would have less religious nutters.  

                'Doing' art is meditation in motion.  The mind needs balance.

                Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:36:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I think that you are missing the point... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Teddifish, Cassandra Waites

                Students are being taught how to bubble in the right answers on a standardized test.  They aren't learning the basics, and they aren't getting the arts.  This is a universal principle in education since NCLB - don't worry about what a kid needs to know, just focus on what they need to know to do well on the test.  This has led to widespread "canned" curriculum that does little more than make parrots out of students.  These "research based" programs come mainly out of McGraw-Hill, one of the big educational textbook companies owned by a close friend of George W. Bush.  When NCLB became law, Mr. McGraw immediately began pushing his direct instruction (teacher reads a line, students repeat) as "research based".  The research was over a short time, with small classes and a lot of individual attention...it was also over a very short time, not over years.  Armed with this "research" and his friend W's backing, McGraw pushed his curriculum into every state through NCLB.  All this has done is dumb down our children by not teaching them critical thinking and higher order reading and math skills.  The McGraw curriculum is only one of the ways in which the education of students has been taken out of the hands of the experts and put into the hands of "educational specialists" who have never taught.  SO, it isn't about being a "self-important fool", it is about teaching our children everything they need to be successful adults.

                "An educated society is a dangerous society - yeah, they can throw books and calculators at people they don't like."

                by msgalnca on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:04:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  welcome to Texas, o the umanity: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            o the umanity

            w2 is running for Governor, AGAIN, down here. He's stacked so many of the state universities' boards of trustees with wingers who contribute to his campaign that it's disgusting.

            Don't let the Bushists destroy another state without a fight.

            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:24:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yikes! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              I'm so sorry to hear that, blacksheep1. Hang in there, though!

              Now that I've become involuntarily unemployed with a wee bit of severance cushion, I'm taking a little time to step back and do some reassessing of my future employment desires. I hope to find a way to utilize some of my talents on the local level, fighting what the Bushes have done to this state already.

              Thanks for the encouragement  :-)

              Necessity is the mother of revolution...

              by o the umanity on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 02:41:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I've said it at least a hundred times (21+ / 0-)

          probably many more.

          The right-wing broadcast media takeover is the biggest thing we face, hands down.

          The truth is not told. Propaganda is spread.

          It's the Chinese water torture dripping venom and bile into the minds of the easily-manipulated.

          It causes people to work against their self-interests.

          Without a strong, free broadcast media, we're fighting with both hands tied behind our backs, blindfolded.

          We need to turn our attention to changing the media ownership laws.

          Otherwise, more of the same. Guaranteed.

          Until we have an unfettered media, every battle we fight will be in the dark, uphill and against a head wind.

          by moosely2006 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:03:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know. When I was a kid, we had art in (30+ / 0-)

        school, which I hated.  I actually went over to an elderly woman's house with a bunch of other kids and painted on ceiling tiles (as a canvas).  I have always been artistic and had to decide between art and math as a college major.  

        Art is within.  I have seen my own children, one of whom is very artistic, take art in grade school and create the same identical projects year after year.  When we went to see a house in a nearby neighborhood, I saw a clay vase on the mantel that was identical to my son's recent project in fourth grade.  I asked the home owners about it ... Oh, did your child go to Markham Elementary?  

        The answer was, "Yes, 15 years ago."  Art class in the best schools can still be 15 years of stifling imagination.  My one child who loved art even told me that they were supposed to do the projects one and only one way.

        Art happens.

        "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

        by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:29:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My art class experience is the complete... (26+ / 0-)

          opposite of yours.

          Granted, there were certain projects that we had to do, especially in elementary school and junior high, but even then we a  certain amount of freedom when choosing the subject matter. Then in high school, we, basically had complete creative freedom.

          "There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums." Larry Flynt

          by sidious666 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:43:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you mean "my kids". They do have (3+ / 0-)

            amazing art teachers, but luck of the draw will give you Ms. Cookie Cutter.  I remember one project when the class had to make a construction paper version of their houses, and they put them on a large map of the school district.  My son was the only one who made his porch pop out ... 3-D.  It tore my heart out ... But, he was the creative one and Ms. Cookie Cutter didn't stifle him.  

            "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

            by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:32:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  There are loads of terrible art teachers (31+ / 0-)

          That does not invalidate the idea of art instruction, just the method of delivery.

          Would anyone propose to eliminate writing, reading, or math from school because there are many lousy English and math teachers?

          •  Certainly not. My core belief is that the person (0+ / 0-)

            is creative and will find an outlet if they are.  They will be creative with a good teacher or a bad one.  It's the state of mind.  I think they need the "creative" time in school but all things will come, if you let them.

            "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

            by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:34:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So do you support the idea of good art teachers (0+ / 0-)

              or just want to leave children to their own devices? I'm not sure what you mean.

              •  Uh, yes. Both. I'm just saying that for those (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                who don't have good art teacher, creation will seep out, if it is there.  It's great to have good art teachers but, the really creative will be who they are.  I honestly don't think you need art teachers if parents nurture this and if the child has the desire.  I guess I am saying all these things.  I have three children, all of whom had the same teachers.  One is extremely creative ... visually.  One is a musican.  The third really was never interested in art.  I think that there was no real effect of the teachers.  Now, if there were absolutely no art at all, then that would be very depressing.  Crap.  I have boxes and boxes of art projects from all of my kids and 99% were done at home.

                A story to leave you with:  When my daughter was about four, she found where her father had thrown away one of her drawings.  She showed me, in disgust, "Look Mom!"  I always buried the art projects under the garbage if they didn't make the cut.

                "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

                by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:44:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  As a professional musician (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

                  I can't say any of the music teachers I had in my regular (public or private) schools before high school made much difference, but without instruction, I sure wouldn't have become a musician, or at any rate, definitely not the one I am. Instruction is important in any field. By the way, I went to the High School of Performing Arts in New York, and the instruction I got there mattered a whole lot!

          •  I'd suggest putting those teachers in other jobs (0+ / 0-)

            and getting better teachers in writing classes, reading classes, and math classes.

            When I was a kid there were shows on TV aimed at teaching kids reading and writing and math -- I'm too old for Mr. Wizard and too young for Bill Nye the Science Guy -- but now it's all either sports or gossip, even when it's disguised as cartoons, EXCEPT some of PBS.

            Do they still show Between The Lions and MathNet?

            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:55:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You mean the terrible art teachers? (0+ / 0-)

              What job do you think would be good for a terrible art teacher? I think the answer is, we have no idea. All we know is that they are terrible at teaching art.

              •  maybe they're not terrible teachers, even (0+ / 0-)

                maybe they're just not connecting with their students.
                Or maybe they're too constrained by the curricula standards over which they have little if any control.

                but a terrible art teacher might be an excellent commercial artist, or a pretty good museum docent, or perhaps a wonderful art restorer ... or maybe even a better-than-average artist, in his/her own right.

                I mean, why not?

                Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 12:58:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  A college art teacher of mine (8+ / 0-)

          pulled her daughter out of public school art classes from the stifling lack of creativity. Her child was told to color in line drawing of an apple with crayon. So she started with a project that had very little room for improvisation. She liked golden delicious apples, so she colored it yellow, which was wrong.

          In any case, the majority of art projects in public school are assigned by regular classroom teachers who have zero art training and are free to impose their own petty preferences on kids. "Art" is kept in the art room, and kids end up making hundreds of posters and other such things, led by teachers who have no understanding of technique or design.

          If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

          by Angela Quattrano on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:40:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But, that is almost better ... rebelling against (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            such a teacher, or feeling like you should, is because of who she is.  I'm a creative person, and I always found a way to get around the assignment.  Even in academic subjects, if that is what you call English, I always had to read a book that wasn't on the list, etc.  The passion that your friend's daughter felt when she said, NO, was worth it.  Good for mom too.

            "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

            by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:36:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Art classes saved my life. (15+ / 0-)

          I was a queer kid in a big city full of hate, who could draw. I am now a graphic designer, who is a contributing member of society because I had a haven to turn to. I owe my livelihood to big city progressives from the depression era who funded the arts.

          "But then, liberals always were a little fond of mind control, assuming of course that it was put to good use." -DKos troll

          by teloPariah on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:33:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My best friend is an art teacher. (13+ / 0-)

          She would weep to read your comment, but she would also admit that there are teachers who insist on conformity.  She insists on quality, on kids doing their absolute best, whatever that is.  I am never surprised by the amazing things that come out of her classroom, however I know there are teachers who wouldn't have the patience or the dedication to nurture that kind of creativity.

          True story:  She was long-term subbing in a jr. high and there was a kid who would never come to school on time.  She asked him once why he was late and he said he was fishing.  She told him to bring in a fish, and he was so intrigued that he did it.  She had him making fish skin prints like crazy.  The principal wanted to know how she got him to school.  She showed him the fish.  Yes, it was a messy, smelly thing, but the kid came to school!  Once she had him hooked on fish art, she could steer him to other things.  This is the kind of thing that good teachers should be allowed to do in order to help kids.

          -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

          by luckylizard on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:57:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Late Great Harry Chapin on art education -- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            luckylizard

            There's a minute or so of lame "humor" to get through, but the song is really to the point.

            Relax - the adults are in charge now.

            by NWTerriD on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:33:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Conformity? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            luckylizard

            I teach at a high school which has an art magnet.  The magnet students are graded down substantially for conformity.

            Anime drawing, for example, is not permitted in magnet drawing classes. It's popular, but it is not nonconformist enough for magnet work.

            •  Good. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              I don't mind seeing kids imitate art or music, but at some point, they need to use their talent for original work.  Otherwise, they stay stuck in the same rut.  The nuns always told us the only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions....

              -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

              by luckylizard on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:26:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  That same kid might've been hooked (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            luckylizard

            (pardon the pun) by an English teacher who asked him to bring in a fish and then find, oh, Izaak Walton's work on that fish; or by a science teacher who asked him to bring in a fish to keep in a classroom aquarium, I'd bet.

            Education's a valuable thing, but sometimes you've got to sell it to your customers (the students).

            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:59:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This woman would have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              done that (or something similar) had she been teaching those subjects.  She is nearing 70 and still going strong.  I have never known a better teacher, either as a student or a colleague.  She's a real natural.  The good news is that she has always been not only willing, but eager to have student teachers and practicums in her classroom.  She's almost desperate to share everything she knows with anyone who's willing to help kids.

              -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

              by luckylizard on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:57:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  if you can do it safely, give her a hug (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                luckylizard

                from me, then, will you, as a memorial to all the lifesaver teachers I had when I was one of those kids who'd've rather been fishing, or skylarking, or reading, than sitting in class?

                Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:40:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So can any class (0+ / 0-)

          As I recall my math, English and music classes were "stifling." I HATED math and it was poorly taught in my school. I would never have considered taking any math class in college. If I had loved math, my interest would have been killed; since I didn't intrinsically love it, I completely loathed it. Should we not have math classes, because I had a string of terrible math teachers?

          Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

          by anastasia p on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:11:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Most of my elementary and middle school art... (0+ / 0-)

          ...music, and shop classes were boring....individuals do their own version of a theme or sing some public domain songs, which didn't seem to interest me.

          I did like the cooking part of Home Ec in middle school, since the kids got to work together to cook things.  And I thought the printing class in high school I took was good, because you got to design your own projects and do the screen printing, lithography, and develop photos yourself.

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:23:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  All over, not just Florida. (20+ / 0-)

        Between ideology hostile to education and partial to indoctrination and budget issues we are damaging even further an already watered down education into a basic "literacy" without reflection and, in particular, life long learning skill.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:18:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's something everyone must see: (29+ / 0-)

      Why do Finland's schools get the best results? :
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

      If the public option leads the US to Communism, then maybe we should spread Democracy by sending our for profit insurers to North Korea and China.

      by FudgeFighter on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:06:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's also about replacing teachers... (21+ / 0-)

      ...with software. Just think, by having "fixed" knowledge standards, as opposed to promoting the ability to think, you can write software to teach knowledge. Or hell, you could have one teacher for every 200 kids. The limits become the classroom itself, but with video tech, no problem!

      It's the final "corporate-ization" of the teaching system. Teaching reduced to the most simplistic forms to allow data pushers to more easily peddle their product with much lower overhead.

      Of course, as you have stated, it also makes indoctrination a much simpler task as well. Never mind the man behind the curtain, mind your P's and Q's, and don't forget to dot your i's and cross your t's. Oh, that's right, the kids won't need to write much anymore, as it will all be "task" based push buttons. Pavlovian people programming, made most efficient.

      Of course, the system can be tweaked based on your latest needs. Do you need more xenophobic tendencies to create warriors, or do you need more simple minded servants? Our teaching software allows you to adjust the curriculum to suit your community needs.

      The sleep of reason produces monsters.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:34:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  SCREW THIS: FL teachers afraid of accountability! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SemDem, Dismalest Scientist

      I am as liberal as they come, but this is ridiculous.

      My child's school SUX!  Broward Co, Orange, etc.  SUX.  The unions here care more about defending gawd awful teachers than promoting good ones.  

      This isn't perfect, but the merit pay system makes a lot more sense than seniority.

      If the teacher's unions would take care of business and not run from EVERY attempt at accountability...the moderate suck-up governor would have supported a better bill which would have won out MONTHS ago...

      See you in Guantanamo

      by Ismay on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:34:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would like to see Merit Pay in Florida (5+ / 0-)

        Our system here is broken and we are at the bottom...

        I agree there is little accountability, but the GOP legislature, for all their screaming about it, can't ever find the money to put into schools.

        We are at the bottom in student funding...but the bastards never have trouble coming up with budget draining schemes to help the superwealthy...

        The Seminole Democrat
        A blue voice calling from the deep red

        by SemDem on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:41:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would merit pay really work? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Naniboujou, Rian Fike

          The school board tried to get that in my district about ten years ago and the teachers flipped out.  Supposedly it's not a very fair system and it doesn't work very well either.

          •  So if not merit pay, what's your alternative??? (0+ / 0-)

            Pay by seniority??  That is the system now and it sux.

            A teacher with tenure can be a total louse and get paid more than a newer teacher who actually cares and does the damn job.

            See you in Guantanamo

            by Ismay on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:38:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't necessarily have an alternative (0+ / 0-)

              But just because merit pay isn't the current system doesn't mean it would be any better.  Not to mention, personally, just from my experience as a student, I really don't think it's the pay system that is the major problem with our education system.

      •  BEFORE teachers get fired for test scores (6+ / 0-)

        they should try ENTRANCE exams instead of exit exams. I oppose standardized tests but if I am going to be fired over low test scores, it would seem only fair that students who are unable to exhibit prerequisite skills for success in my class should not enter my class.

        I oppose the current model for accountability because it holds me accountable for many things that I have no control over. Many things impact a student's performance on a standardized test. Some of those things are unrelated to what happens in the classroom.

        Merit pay would work only if students are assigned to particular teachers randomly. I can assure you that this is not the case currently....at least not in my school.

        And think about the future effects of this model -
        I can't wait to have students appear on my high school roster whose past relationships with their teachers have been defined by accountability based on test scores. Relationships between students and teachers matter. I can imagine how I will react to a student at the end of a long day when this reluctant and quite possibly, disruptive student is perceived by me to present a threat to my livelihood. I am human and thus capable of exhibiting anger and impatience. I can't see how firing teachers over test scores would enhance the relationship between the reluctant and consistently disruptive student. But maybe this would apply ONLY to me. Just sayin.

        •  I wish you would diary these important points (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassidy3, Cassandra Waites, miss SPED

          It's an unfortunate truth that most people only pay attention to school systems while their own kids are using them, but there does seem to be a lot of misunderstanding of who teachers are and what they do. At least from what I read on this thread.

          •  Maybe I will do just that. (12+ / 0-)

            As all the hoopla around test scores, merit pay, and teacher accountability started in my district a few years ago, I found myself thinking of students and relating to students with the idea of how they would perform on a multiple choice test on my mind. At first, individual test scores only determined whether or not I was eligible for bonus pay. So test scores were not always on my mind. But now that low test scores are something I can be fired for, I constantly find myself wondering not about a student's future, but instead about a student's future test score and whether or not they would "meet the standard". I don't think I am a necessarily unusual teacher so I am wondering how this dynamic will, over time, affect the student-teacher relationship as other teachers demonstrate similar approaches. I feel more like a manager than a teacher.....manipulating students in a way that will have the best chance of protecting my job. I confess. A new kid walks into my class and instead of thinking - now here is an interesting person, I wonder what they will contribute to this class, I greet them, and as soon as possible, check to see if the registrar has posted the kids test scores on previous standardized tests.  

        •  Outstanding comment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, cassidy3

          I haven't logged in to Kos in a long time, but I had to so I could recommend your comment on Entrance Exams. I don't like how the government has turned our schools into nothing but test buildings, but it seems to me that having one test in the first week and the same test at the end of the year would be a much better indicator of how well the teacher did.

          I also appreciate the fact that you pointed out the human aspect of the relationship between the student and the teacher. That is too often forgotten.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:24:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Another outstanding diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reddbierd, Rian Fike

      Tipped and Recommended.  

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:45:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my stance is conflicted (0+ / 0-)

      because on one hand I do support an objective method to see how well schools are doing and I know that really tests work very well in other nations.

      Yet at the same time we are having a huge problem with tests not really doing as they should.

      What is needed I think is better implementation.

    •  It's simple (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, G2geek, Cassandra Waites

      You can not control an educated population. However, an ignorant population can be more easily manipulated.

      •  Exactly correct. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

        Corporate feudalists want ignorant employees who can be controlled.

        For example when was the last time you heard of a school district teaching labor history ....?

        For example how many kids know what happened to turn the 6-day work week into the 5-day work week?  

        And the religious right is right there too, with its own agenda that is entirely convergent with the feudalist agenda.  

        "No Child Left Behind"

    •  Rian - please give more context on Jeb (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, Cassandra Waites

      For those of us who don't closely follow Florida politics, or eduction, please give more context to the statement that if the pending legislation passes Jeb Bush will personally receive $2.7 billion.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:14:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I got that from an article... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        Let me see if I can find it.

        The bill requires 5% of each local district budget to be used for the new testing system.

        After 3 years that is 2.7 billion.

        It will not go directly to Jeb, but to his cronies.

        Who will surely reward him in return.

        "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:51:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Rian, thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rian Fike

          Does Jeb Bush have an ownership stake in one, or more, of the testing companies who are likely to receive contracts with the 5% set aside?

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:01:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He has a non-profit. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            His company wrote the basic language of the bill.

            His brother Neil has a testing company.

            Jeb has direct connections to most of the major players in the industry.

            It is easy to follow the money in this case.

            "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

            by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:27:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe you could add "Action" (26+ / 0-)

    to your diary to get more people to sign the petition?  I just signed it but this is the first I'd heard of it.  I called Crist's office yesterday.  

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:08:28 AM PDT

  •  Hey Republicans leave the kids alone? (30+ / 0-)

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:12:50 AM PDT

  •  Very important diary, and tragic (20+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the information.

    Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

    by CanyonWren on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:21:24 AM PDT

  •  Here in my little sector of the globe, there are (23+ / 0-)

    a lot of kids who start studying for the SAT at age ten or eleven.  Seriously studying with tutors and all.  My kid took the Princeton Review course once and did pretty well.  He also played on the soccer team and was principal trombone for the high school orchestra for four years.  So, all considered, he got into some decent schools and is in the throes of deciding among Case Western, Lafayette, Gettysburg, and a bunch of other contenders.  

    When he starts school somewhere this fall and is with a bunch of kids in the mid 50% who have 1220 to 1360, I wonder how those students who studied for the SAT for seven years will do in college.

    You can't help but feel a little bit guilty that you didn't give your child the same advantage as his peers.  Of course, when my guy was ten, he was running around the house playing street hockey with his brothers.  It would have never occurred to me at the time.

    "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

    by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:24:37 AM PDT

    •  Our local high school always does very well (4+ / 0-)

      on ACT / SAT exams. A few perfect scores some years. And there's no prep classes that I know of-- just a decent curriculum with a lot of AP and high level classes for those who want them. Good number of National Merit Scholars, too, plus a college enrollment rate of something above 65%.

      Darn it, who'd think that kids can be motivated to want to learn?

      Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

      by murasaki on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:09:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you gave him more advantages (9+ / 0-)

      you gave him a childhood.

      and the tutoring thing is taking over everything.  My 9 year old is one of the only kids on his Little League baseball team who is not taking private coaching on the side, because, you know, at 9, they are all going to be the next Ichiro if Daddy can afford it.  And Daddy will pay for private coaching instead of going out and throwing the ball around with his own kid.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:52:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, everyone takes private lessons at everything (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites, k8dd8d

        I saw private lessons advertised at how to organize (for children).  Although that is an enviable skill, I believe in home schooling!  Or, should I say, evolution.

        "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

        by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:30:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL, my son's Little League coach (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alliedoc, Cassandra Waites

          is intent on teaching the boys organization this year.  He bought a bunch of plastic bins and he has them under the bench and each boy is expected to keep up with his own gear this way.  It works, but it's also funny, because I think they learn more by missing an inning while they look for the glove they threw behind the gear bag.  He's basically doing it for them instead of teaching them the importance of doing it for themselves.  Typical.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:34:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  while I recommended the diary (40+ / 0-)

    Diane Ravitch was never a Conservative Republican, and calling her a henchman I think does a disservice.  She thought, wrongly as it turned out, that the original direction of NCLB could make a difference.  So did the vast majority of members of both parties in the House and the Senate -  the proposal passed overwhelmingly, albeit changed somewhat from what the White House originally proposed.

    Yes, there were those in education who were correct before it became law on the detrimental impact it would have.

    Be grateful that Ravitch (a) saw it was not working, (b) corrected her position; (c) admitted she had been wrong; and (d) is now an important voice for much of what needs to be done -  her book is now not just topping lists of educational books, but is breaking into general best seller list, and she is getting many opportunities to appear around the country, and because of her stature the media gives coverage to what she says.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:25:18 AM PDT

    •  Good point. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassidy3, luckylizard, Kristina40, dwayne

      Thanks.

      "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by Rian Fike on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:39:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  teacherken, you are very knowledgeable about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike, dwayne

      this.  Isn't it right to say that the intent of NCLB was good (and that's why people like Ted Kennedy supported it) but the funding and the execution made it punitive instead of remedial and that's where it fails?

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  road to hell... (8+ / 0-)

        good intentions...

        The intent is really besides the point, and I don't think it was all that good, at least not for most of the players.

        The big problem with NCLB and current conceptions of school reform is that they value achievement over learning. We're all supposed to focus on outcomes, but the only outcomes that count are test scores. Student interest doesn't matter, progress doesn't matter (because the tests don't measure progress, they only measure whether or not a student meets the standards). When teachers are task-oriented and worried about about test scores (achievement), their approach necessarily becomes more controlling. Rather than a goal like teaching students how to write realistic dialogue, the goal becomes how to use quotation marks and proper punctuation, because that is what can be measured. It sucks all the joy and relevance out of the classroom.

        Elsewhere in the comments there have been complaints of students who only value grades. Well, when getting a high grade (or score) is held up as the greatest good, that's what students focus on. They lose sight of what they are learning and worry about "doing it right". They tend to take less risks, because if you take a risk and fail, you'll get a lower grade. They aren't lazy, they are rational.

        •  I was trying to make the point that (0+ / 0-)

          NCLB is not the great evil.  It is the manifestation of the cultural and political pressures which have driven public education into the toilet.

          If people need to realize that all politics are local, they also need to realize that EVERY decision made in public education is political.  There is nothing really about what is good for kids.  It's all politics and power, from the White House to the state houses, to the local districts to the principal's office adn even to the classroom.

          Sucks, but I am always amused to see the look on a young parent's face when (if) they figure this out.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:54:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  yes and no - (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike, miss SPED, k8dd8d

        too complicated to fully address in a comment.  Let is suffice to note that it was based on the false premise of a so-called Texas miracle which had already been deconstructed by the like of Walt Haney.  Miller and Kennedy thought they were going to get more federal funds for school, and were willing to negotiate in what they thought was good faith.  I know for a fact that they felt they were not met with equally good faith from the Bush White House )and this was done from within the White House, primarily by Sandy Kress and to a lesser extend the future Secretary of Ed Maggie Spellings, and not within DeptEd and Rod Paige, who when it came to educational matters had trouble finding his rear end with both hands even when he was sitting on them.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:55:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It has always been a hallmark of authorotarian (33+ / 0-)

    institutions, be it Churches, or governments, that they keep the populace in as much ignorance and with as little free thought as possible.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:26:03 AM PDT

  •  It's precisely the most stupid, stunted (23+ / 0-)

    people in society making decisions about education and its funding. They feel compelled to create more stupid, stunted people.

    Thanks for the diary.

  •  Neil Postman In The End Of Education (20+ / 0-)

    tells a fable. About how the city of New York was falling down. Crime and strife were everywhere. The major had no ideas. An aide suggested:

    He pointed out that from junior high school through senior high school; there were more than 400,000 able-bodied, energetic young men and women who could be used as a resource to make the city livable again.

    "But how can we use them?" asked the mayor. "And what would happen to their education if we did?"

    To this, the aide replied, "They will find their education in the process of saving their city.

    So the plan was put into place.

    When these plans became known, there was a great hue and cry against them, for people in distress will sometimes prefer a problem that is familiar to a solution that is not. For instance, the teachers complained that their contracts contained no provision for such unusual procedures. To this, the aide replied that the spirit of their contract compelled them to help educate our youth, and that education can take many forms and be conducted in many places. "It is not written in any holy book," he observed, "that an education will occur in a small room with chairs in it."

    But something did happen.

    It even came to pass that the older people, being guided by the examples of the young, took a renewed interest in restoring their environment and at the very least refused to participate in its destruction.

    [....]

    Now, it would be foolish to deny that there were not certain problems attending this whole adventure. For instance, thousands of children who would otherwise have known the principal rivers of Uruguay had to live out their lives in ignorance of these facts. Hundreds of teachers felt that their training had been wasted, because they could not educate children unless it was done in a classroom. As you can imagine, it was also exceedingly hard to grade students on their activities, and after a while, almost all tests ceased. This made many people unhappy, for many reasons, but most of all because no one could tell the dumb children from the smart children anymore.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:28:34 AM PDT

  •  Fun but telling (16+ / 0-)

    {hoping the embed works]

    ...song from Phineas & Ferb, in an episode that whacks those quasi-military/prison camps for kids:

    "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

    by latts on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:30:00 AM PDT

  •  I have always felt the goal of education should (28+ / 0-)

    be to teach children how to think, not stuff their heads full of "facts" (propaganda). Teach them how to think, and they will know how to find answers on their own--they won't need some "expert" to tell them what they should do or believe in a given situation.

    Our kids are not being trained up to be thinking, enlightened citizens anymore--they are being taught to be mindless cogs in the machine...

    •  When I Was In College In The 80s (23+ / 0-)

      the state of Illinois system had a plan called Wellness. Wellness of mind, body, and spirit. All incoming Freshmen had to talk Wellness 101. How to set goals and objectives. How to balance your checkbook. Just stuff to live your life.

      But most of the class was focused on how to use a library. To well, find out the answer to something you didn't know. I recall the teacher saying something along the line of that you don't need to know everything, but you do need to know how to find something out when you have to.

      "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

      by webranding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:40:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That sounds great. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMarshall, Pris from LA, Rian Fike

      But those sort of programs were all the thing in the 1990s. 'Don't worry, your child will learn to read and do math when he is ready - now he is learning how to think and be creative....' What resulted was a generation of people who couldn't read, write or spell or do basic math. Not all, of course - the brighter half of the kids learned in spite of the programs.
      Creativity and thinking skills have to be built on a solid platform of knowledge. If a child has low reading skills or hasn't been taught the basic math facts - that child does not have the tools for creativity and thinking - or life.
      Learning isn't natural for most kids. They have to be taught and taught well. Of course, if they are being taught well there is time left over for science, geography, history, music, art, P.E., etc.
      Oh, and facts are not propaganda!

      •  This is so off the mark. (4+ / 0-)

        Aren't you saying exactly what you are criticizing?

        'Don't worry, your child will learn to read and do math when he is ready - now he is learning how to think and be creative....' What resulted was a generation of people who couldn't read, write or spell or do basic math. Not all, of course - the brighter half of the kids learned in spite of the programs.

        Then:

        Learning isn't natural for most kids. They have to be taught and taught well. Of course, if they are being taught well there is time left over for science, geography, history, music, art, P.E., etc.

        Substituting one for the other obviously has its disadvantages.  We should include both left and right brain classes to better equip our children with the skills they need to solve problems and be emotionally in tune.

        Here's a very interesting articlethat hightlights the myths and realities about math and science at least.  The problem is lack of funding for public schools across the board, and the obvous advantage that affluent districts have over poor and minority districts.  

        Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

        by CanyonWren on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:18:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is the goal of education (19+ / 0-)

      but it may not always be the goal of schooling. This is not a new problem. Samuel Clemens advised: "Never let your schooling interfere with your education."

      Still good advice.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:03:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fixed your tags for you Rian ;) (11+ / 0-)

    You made the rec list.  I hope we get lots of signatures for that petition.  We really need to pressure Crist on this.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:33:46 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. If our children squander (26+ / 0-)

    the most formative and creative period of their lives in taking tests, texting and twittering, the future of our civilization is indeed bleak.  I believe in doing everything one can politically to stem this trend, but those of us who are not political animals can reach out to the children in our lives and encourage their creativity in a variety of personal ways.  I've never come across a young child who was not interested in art and music.  We should definitely work on changing the educational system but while that is being done, we can actively support imagination and creativity in our interactions with everyone.  We should all have a Take a Child to a Museum or Concert or Theater day at least once a month.

    Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something helpless than wants help from us.

    by Fabienne on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:35:46 AM PDT

  •  I completely disagree (give me a chance). (34+ / 0-)

    You said, "No Child Left Behind sounded a death knell for arts education and anything else that wasn’t tested".

    Absolutely wrong.

    The fact is:

    No Child Left Behind sounded a death knell for anything that IS OR IS NOT tested.

    It's not just art.  It's everything.

    I teach at a mediocre university in Pittsburgh.  I have been here for 15 years.  It started a while ago but I have been wondering why the students are deteriorating consistently and gradually even while the SAT are increasing.  Besides not giving the students the power to reason, NCLB has made them less curious, less able to work through problems, and completely enabled and snotty if you don't give them enough praise for poor work.

    I'm pretty disgusted about what it did for SCIENCE EDUCATION too.

    "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

    by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:37:48 AM PDT

    •  when you combine nclb with (12+ / 0-)

      everybody gets a trophy(!),
      and way too many parents who think
      their child is never wrong,

      this is what the results look like:

      snotty, enabled kids, who are too lazy
      to really Think.

      •  Yes, it started before NCLB (8+ / 0-)

        NCLB makes it worse, worse, worse, but the culture of self esteem has been devastating to American education. It's not like kids were entering colleges prepared 8 years ago and NCLB suddenly brought that to a halt. It was actually an ill-conceived attempt to fix what was already a deeply fucked up and failing education system.

        We need to seriously rethink both the uber-quanitification obsession of many "reformers" as well as the notion that a diploma, or even promotion to the next grade at lower levels is a right.

        I am seriously considering home-schooling my boy, but I worry that we'd fall even farther behind financially and harm is chances of getting a good college education. I know that involved parents can make a world of difference, but it's scary out there.

        •  my email address is in my profile (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pHunbalanced, Rian Fike

          if you are interested in chatting about homeschooling.

          I think my kids will have a better chance at a good college education because of homeschooling.

          I don't want to hijack this thread to talk about HS, but it won't harm him, honestly.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:59:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm a public school teacher (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rian Fike

            but a great supporter of those who wish to homeschool.

            Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by nandssmith on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, I'll take you up on that. (0+ / 0-)

            To be clear though, my concern isn't that homeschooled kids have trouble getting into college, it's that without me working, we will never save enough to pay for college.

            •  well, I've decided that if I do a good enough (0+ / 0-)

              job of homeschooling to get all three a full ride scholarship, then it will have been worth the years of lost wages.  That's my current goal, and from what I see, it is within the realm of possibility.

              A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

              by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:06:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  In other words... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mama jo

        ...a generation of George W. Bushes.

        (His problem wasn't being stupid, it was being lazy and having Daddy bail him out of everything.)

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:36:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Welcome to my life!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mama jo

        "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

        by alliedoc on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:27:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've noticed this, too. (18+ / 0-)

      I returned to college in January of 2009 to get my Bachelor's degree, and I was amazed at the complete lack of critical thinking ability the majority of my younger classmates exhibited. In virtually every class I am in, I have a group of classmates who hang around me just because they know that I can help them make sense of the lectures. The thing is, though, that our professors aren't being obtuse; they are making us formulate our own opinions of what we are learning. These young people have no concept of how to take information and separate the wheat from the chaff, and they write papers that literally look like text messages. I graduated from High School in  1982, and, while we did have standardized tests that we were required to take, those tests weren't the be-all/end-all of what we were taught...they were one of many tools that teachers used to assess our progress. I was blessed to have teachers who actually WANTED us to learn and who did all they could to make us achieve things to the best of our abilities. I look back now and wonder when and why this all changed.

      "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi -9.38/-6.26

      by LynneK on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:16:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes Yes Yes! (6+ / 0-)

        This is what I passed along to my son.  To question authority, to examine evidence, to look for the subtext,  to reason.  He did not get that at school.

        (Class of '82 here as well)

        Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

        by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:13:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, yep! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aug6PDB, snazzzybird, LynneK, Rian Fike

        My story is just about the same.  I graduated HS in 1981, so I know what you mean.  I'm also surrounded by my fellow students who seem to need me to help them make sense of what the teacher is requiring.

        No PO, no $$$, no kidding. (kerplunk) No rights, no $$$. You want some fiscal lovin', then pony up some *&##ing equality!!! (earicicle)

        by Heiuan on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:27:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Same here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        I didn't graduate until 1995, but I went back to school recently. I have been stunned by how lazy, both physically and intellectually, most of these students are. I am at the point where I am changing my major.

        I have been majoring in history for the last two years, but I have to get out of the humanities part of the university. Out of all the classes I have taken, the only students I have encountered who were driven, thoughtful, and critical of everything were the science majors. They were also the only students who always wanted to participate and seemed to enjoy being in school.

        So, I am switching to math and science. It breaks my heart because I have loved history since I was a kid, but I can't take another class in which I am the only who did the assignment and participates in class. I have to get out before this place outright destroys my love of history.

        I found out last fall that my favorite professor is apparently one of the most hated professors in the History department, and some are even scared of him. They hate the fact that he puts students on the spot to make them think of the answers themselves. He is always trying to get the students to connect the dots in history, to see how things occurred over time, and they absolutely resent being asked to do that. He has given D and F papers to students who wrote extensively about names and dates but couldn't connect ideas.

        This connects to something I have noticed in the past year: most of these students have a very, very good short-term memory when it comes to facts. While I am very good with ideas, I am terrible with names and specific dates. In class, I can never remember the name of whomever I am referring to, and most students are always able to help me out. That more than anything else shows what type of people we are churning out of the public education system.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:48:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been teaching preschool for 17 years (42+ / 0-)

    and I remember the days when children discovered their world through play.

    I remember when the dynamics of the classroom were child-centered, when the main goal was to facilitate learning through discovery and curiosity. When I would watch each child find his /her place in the social world of school.

    Now I am required to have each child meet a Kindergarten requirement list that includes writing names when some kids can't yet hold the pencil.

    April and May are tough months.  Parents are stressing out that their child will not pass Kindergarten screening.  Did I teach them this?  Did I focus on that? Why didn't I spend more time on that other thing?

    Instead of knowing that their child is socially ready for the rigors of most Kindergarten classes- (like sitting at a desk for most of the day)with a knowledge and understanding of the rules and the consequences for not following them, along with the basic skills of color shape number and alphabet recognition, some parents are freaking out because their child is not the smartest.

    Most of the kids in my class are excited about learning.  That is my mission.  To instill that enjoyment and thrill that will carry them throughout their academic career.

    Only to have it quashed by first grade standards that practically eliminate independent discovery of their world through play.

    What happened to childhood?

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:39:32 AM PDT

    •  This is the main reason we decided (18+ / 0-)

      to homeschool but it's not a solution that everyone can choose.  We started in German kindergarten for both boys and they were taught in exactly the way you remember. I wanted it to continue. My oldest, now 14, has asked to start high school next year, and he will. I'm curious to see how it goes. It will be an experiment of sorts. But it helps to know that we have a choice. Millions of families do not and our public school system should not be about passing tests; it should be about teaching kids how to love learning so that they develop life long skills.

    •  I am involved in preschools too (11+ / 0-)

      I was really fortunate to be able to send my son to a fantastic co-op that really understood children and how they develop. Where I work now (public school), the focus of preschool is largely oompliance. Lots of transitions (way too many, in my opinion) that yank kids away from what they're exploring to keep on schedule. Lots of sitting still, and scrutiny to make sure the sitting is correct.

      It's confusing to me, as an adult observing in these classrooms, to know when it's okay to appear enthusiastic and call out or join in for stories, songs, and handplays, and when sitting still with a flat affect is the right approach. I see the confusion on the kids' faces. It looks a lot like resignation.

      I also get to observe in some schools (all private) that get it right. Lots of time and space to explore, lots of opportunities to butt heads with other growing minds to figure out how this whole planet works. But more of the time, the private ones are just as bad as public, if not worse, because they are understaffed / underfunded and mostly resemble warehouses for widgets rather than places to grow people.

      It does break my heart.

      •  I Have A Questions For You That Is Related (4+ / 0-)

        My mother stayed at home with my brother and myself. The same for my brother's wife's mother. Well she is going back to work (she makes more then my brother) and they are putting their daughter into a day care program.

        That has caused a lot of debate in my family. The grandparents don't really like the idea. The grandparents are told, "look, Katie needs to be around other children. To learn to interact. To play."

        Now I don't have any children myself, but that seems like a good idea to me. And from the web site of the day care center, it looks like about the coolest place in the world for a young child.

        I mean isn't it helpful for a young child to have interaction?

        "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by webranding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:32:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's complicated (4+ / 0-)

          I'm not who you directed the questions through, but having spent a lot of time researching day care options, my wife and I decided that in order for me to extend my own education to increase my employability, we would send our son to day care twice a week for 6 hours a day. We chose a small day care (10-12 kids) run a by a woman who has been doing this for 15 years and has her own granddaughter in the daycare. We looked at large chains with lots of guarantees and published "curricula" and tiny in-home day cares.

          My conclusion is that it's good for my little boy (now 18 months) to be with other children more than the 2 hour play group my wife takes him to. The older kids are very sweet with the little toddlers and crawlers and it has socialized him well.

          In the long run though I worry about having him in more than two days once I get work. There is no substitute for a parent's love and hands on teaching and attentive guidance.

          •  Agreed It Is Very Complicated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rian Fike, m00finsan

            and easy for me to say this or that since I don't have any children myself. And clearly one parent working with one child is the best situation. But I just have to think socializing a child at a very young age is a good thing on many different levels.

            "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

            by webranding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:47:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  when children are home with a parent (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rian Fike, boophus

              they are 'socialized' because they play with other kids under the supervision of loving parents who teach them how to interact with each other and how to solve disputes.  They socialize by going to the park and the library storytime adn the grocery store, and just living their lives.  BTW, this is the same way that homeschooled children are socialized.  Their social interactions are varied, and involve people of all ages and situations.

              When they go to day care, it is largely Lord of the Flies. Their social interactions are largely with children their own age, in a single environment, and under the supervision of a person who is not as invested in their welfare as a parent is.

              Do you really think that is better for them?

              Maybe you should read some of the diaries on bullying, because that is the environment where bullying is created.

              A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

              by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:25:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know if either extreme is healthy (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snazzzybird, Naniboujou, Rian Fike

                Before you read this you should know that I'm a teenager and (thank God...) don't have any kids, but I am closer to childhood than most here, if that makes a difference.

                I went to a preschool that was great.  I loved it there.  I mean, I was waiting for my parents to pick me up by the end of the day, but I really did like it.  I also have a very supportive and loving family.  They taught me how to be curious and love learning before anyone else did (although I do credit some of that to my preschool as well, but there were a few years before I went to preschool).  

                Socializing with kids, even if it hurts at times - maybe especially if it hurts at times - helps kids to learn about themselves and the world around them, and it helps them to grow as people.  Without that unstructured time at my preschool with the other kids, I would probably be a very different and possibly even less creative or social person.

                As far as the content of the diary goes, I think we're all in agreement that this excessive testing just kills any chance of many children to be good thinkers and successful people.

              •  disagree (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snazzzybird, Dartagnan, Rian Fike

                I agree with webranding that socialization is important, and I agree with you that kids are "socialized" all day long, doing typical things with their parents. I disagree, strongly, with the blanket assertion that daycare = Lord of the Flies. There's a huge range of quality when it comes to caring for children.

                When they reach a certain age children learn a great deal from one another, and regular access to an environment that supports peaceful interactions and exploration is very beneficial.  Children are much more challenging to socialize with than adults, and kids who are given the ability to practice with other kids in a properly supervised environment have the chance to really develop their skills well.  These interactions have the potential to have extensive benefits -- cognitive, motor, self-help, etc.

                My personal preference is for children to be in group care part of the day, with more days as they get older. Starting around age 2 is nice. By the time a child is 4 or 5, spending 5 mornings a week in group care can be a very good use of her time.  Of course there are exceptions, and children who don't go to preschool are not necessarily at a disadvantage in kindergarten, but many are. I meet some children who would be far better off in structured care settings than at home, and I meet some children for whom the opposite is true.

                In our case, I was at home with my son a great deal because I was a grad student / TA when he was little. He went to a neighborhood home-based daycare part of the time, and it was lovely. When he got older, he went to nursery school. He always had lots of free time at home or at daycare to pick up bugs, figure out which angles were ideal for making marbles go as fast as possible without jumping the tracks, to splash around in the shallow end, etc.

                I think finding good care for children can be challenging. I observe children in a huge range of care settings and it's very easy to get it wrong. But when it's good, it's very, very good for kids.

                Webranding, if you have questions about how to tell good from not so good, let me know. The advice to check out NAEYC from grannycarol is a very good place to start.

                •  I have yet to see a day care that looks like (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rian Fike

                  you describe.  And I rarely find adults who properly supervise children's interactions with each other, except in settings that are smaller than the typical day care.  See all the bullying diaries over the past few days.

                  I think finding good care for children can be challenging. I observe children in a huge range of care settings and it's very easy to get it wrong. But when it's good, it's very, very good for kids.

                  I will concede that maybe I just haven't seen the good, but with the many, many children I have come in contact with over many years, I sure have seen a lot of the bad.  That leads me to my conclusions.

                  And kids who are home with a parent do spend lots of time with other kids.  That seems to always be missed in these discussions.  In my experience, they have lots of unstructured, supervised play with other kids, and so reap the benefits that you mention.

                  A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                  by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:43:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Virtually all of my friends with kids (0+ / 0-)

                    have them in very good daycare situations.

                    Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

                    by anastasia p on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:22:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  even the best day care (0+ / 0-)

                      is still a ratio of something like 9 to 1, right?  That is still DIFFERENT than the ratio that kids get at home, and it is bound to affect the way that they carry out social interactions.  

                      I will go so far as to say maybe that difference is not bad EXCEPT, then go read the diaries on bullying, culture wars, etc. etc etc

                      Social & cultural issues have flourished since we began putting the majority of kids into daycare.

                      Maybe it's a coincidence.

                      Maybe not.

                      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:28:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you think daycare predates (0+ / 0-)

                        bullying? I think history would suggest otherwise.

                        Children need to be taught prosocial behaviors. They are learned, not inherited. Many children learn them in their families, other children learn them in well-run care settings, and ideally children continue to learn and practice them in school. There are many, many children who have no exposure to these behaviors -- no models, no teachers, no practice -- and their primitive strategies reflect that. But it's not automatically the case that kids raised mostly at home are more prosocial. Sometimes the opposite is true; some kids who are at home until kinder or 1st grade don't know how to behave as cooperative group members.

                        •  I think kids who spend most of their days (0+ / 0-)

                          away from their families are socialized differently than children who spend time with their families, and I think there are differences in behavior and world view as a result of that.  I think that difference comes from teh result of whether their primary interactions are with adults or with other kids.  

                          And I am saying that that change happened in the past several generations, as a result of many things in our culture and economy.  And that we shouldn't be so surprised that children have different values and behaviors and make different choices when they are raised in a setting that is different than we have historically raised children.

                          Are there exceptions?  Yes, as in all things, there are no absolutes, and there are bad at home parents just as there are good day cares.

                          I volunteer with kids in a variety of settings, and I'm just stating what I see.

                          At the same time, there are other factors too, that contribute to the differences in kids today.

                          I just think day care is one of the factors, adn when people throw up their hands and say, what's up with kids today, this is ONE of several factors.

                          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:10:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  some (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    k8dd8d

                    Some kids at home spend time with other kids.

                    Just as you are leery of all daycares, I am leery of statements that suggest all parents naturally do the best for their kids. There are lots of kids in unenriched, shut-down homes, where the TV is always on and the caring and conversation often aren't. They are better off in preschool. This is partly a class issue, but not entirely.

                    I speak to a lot of stay-at-home parents whose children virtually never socialize with other kids. Most of these parents do many things "right" as far as playing with, feeding, and teaching their kids, but it does not occur to them to arrange playdates. These kids will be fine. They would be better off with some social opportunities with same-age peers.

          •  A difference between preschool and day care (7+ / 0-)

            or "child" care as I like to call it.

            I worked in a child care center for a few years. (Actually, I did my student teaching there and they hired me while I was still a student.

            Some of those kids are at the center for 10 hours, the average being 8. And I can understand that parents need to work (a large population of child care kids have both parents working because the mother is the one who works for benefits.  Hopefully with HCR that will change).

            I work for Head Start now.  The kids are there for 6 hours, and the dismissal time is the same for everyone.

            Extra note for those seeking quality child care.  Look for a NAEYC approval.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children sets excellent standards for a well rounded child centered program.

            Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

            by grannycarol on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:30:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You bring up something important (5+ / 0-)

              In countries like France and Sweden where there's more of a social safety net, it's probably much easier for parents to spend more time with their kids (instead of working) and to raise the kids right.  I could be wrong about this, but I don't think I am - if parents are able to be around rather than forced into working to support their kids, those children will be more healthy mentally.  And our country is really failing at providing parents the opportunity to be with their kids like that.

              •  the countries you mention (0+ / 0-)

                do a very good job of subsidizing childcare. Most kids go to centers during their childhoods, at least part of the time. And the kids are doing alright, if the adults they turn into, by and large, are any indication.

                Mothers in France have recently begun experiencing the kind of pressures American mothers of middle- and upper-classes have been feeling for a couple of decades, to breastfeed, make organic meals, use cloth diapers, and stay home with their kids. The French women on the whole aren't really liking these new standards -- they like having their kids in group care, at least part of the time, and having more time for adult pursuits! They view the new ideas about motherhood as oppressive.

                Interesting, isn't it??

        •  on day care (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rian Fike, rossl

          it's as harmful as public schools for stifling kids social and creative skills.  Think about it.

          I had always thought I'd put my kids in day care and go have it all, but then on the way to that, several things happened.  My husband and I chose to take custody of my brother's two school aged kids before we had our own.  My drug addled brother and his wife were neglecting their kids, you all know those stories.  Anyway, the kids were 8 & 4 when they came to live with us.  I was home with them for a while, then went back to work and put them in day care/after school care.  

          Every day as I went to pick them up from this great and fabulous place, I began to notice something.  All the kids were always busy and having fun playing, but when the door opened, every single set of eyes in the place rotated to the doorway.  I began to see that every kid there, regardless of whether they were with friends, or playing a game or whatever, were just waiting. They were spending their childhoods waiting for their parents to be done with whatever was more important than they were.  I began to seriously question what this meant in terms of long term happiness.  If the subtle message they were taking from childhood is that "I am not the most important thing in my parent's life", then how would that manifest in their lives and their own self worth?

          Then I had a child of my own, and decided to stay home with him. Yes, I know this is a privilege that some cannot afford, but I also think there are those who do not realize they have a choice.

          Anyway, when my son was about 8 months old, I met a lady up the street who had a son the same age.  She and hubby worked full time, and they had one night a week when she couldn't pick up her son before the dc closed, so we worked out a swap situation.

          So every Tuesday, after my son and I had spent all day together, going on walks, chatting with the lady at the bank, feeding the ducks, playing one-on-one at home, etc., we would go to the dc to pick up this other little boy.

          He was in a beautiful room full of toys, swings, cribs, etc. where he was rotated through all day. There was a chart on the wall that showed when each baby had eaten, been changed, and cared for.  And he'd been in that same environment all day long.  I looked from him to my son, who had been out in 'real life' all day and began to see that there is no way that these two little boys will ever see the world the same way.  How could he see the excited, wonderful place the world is if he spends his childhood in a room?

          When we put this together, my husband and I decided against day care EVER, and honestly, now, I can walk in to a group of kids and within 10 minutes of talking to them, I can tell you which ones have spent their lives in day care, and which have had a parent at home.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:21:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My experience is different (0+ / 0-)

            I have to say I think Day Care has been a pretty good experience for both my boys. But they also have each other, and they're fairly close in age so they can and do play together constantly when home and on weekends. They've vibrant, happy, engaged kids.  If anything they're far more sociable than the kids down the block who don't go to Day Care.

            I think a lot of it depends on the quality of the Day Care.  

    •  The biggest problem with schools is that they are (0+ / 0-)

      corporate production line based. Seriously that is the design that took hold because of the era when public schools became widespread. They do NOT take into consideration any new studies about when children learn, how they learn and what makes them want to learn. Instead the education system is set up to intake children at an preordained "one size fits all" age and force feed them, turning most of them off of learning. I think that is the basis for so much anti-intellectualism.

      SO the current thinking is to squish the best teachers and all the students harder to fit in boxes. To what purpose do we mass produce readers who have no way to understand what they are reading. To produce children who can do math like an bookkeeper but without the beauty, mystery and art of math. To produce product children who are standardized and ready to be manipulated.

      Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:59:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember back in 2001 (0+ / 0-)

      a study came out showing how important the preschool years are to learning, and how much kids that age learn just by playing.

      The bush administration (and, I think, the media) seized on the first part of that, but not the second. I was driving to work one day when the news on NPR was about the new "education" initiative that bush was going to propose, setting academic standards that preschoolers (and their preschool teachers) would be expected to meet -- knowing letters, colors, that sort of thing.

      That was so wrong, I though. They completely misunderstood the point of the research.

      An hour later planes hit the World Trade Center, and bush's mismanagement of education became the least of my concerns about him.

      Even though our dream is not yet completed... we are not quitters... and we are not through. Ty'Sheoma Bethea

      by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:12:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeb Bush needs a new hobby n/t (16+ / 0-)

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain

    by route66 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:45:36 AM PDT

  •  All of this reminds me of (14+ / 0-)

    an episode of the late 90's cartoon "Recess" when the government cancels recess to replace it with daily standardized tests.  It makes the kids and their teacher turn into mindless zombies after a while because of a lack of recess, losing all their personality.  Eventually, the government figures out that taking away recess was a stupid idea and they bring it back.

    "If Congress made it rain cookies, the headline would read 'Democrats Leave Millions Milkless'."- Jon Stewart

    by farleftloon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:45:50 AM PDT

  •  An education system designed to produce (14+ / 0-)

    little George Bushes.

    unprepared to lead fulfilling lives, to be responsible citizens, and to make good choices for themselves, their families, and our society.

    If cats could blog.... they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:46:03 AM PDT

  •  When my daughter was (24+ / 0-)

    heading into 3rd grade, she cried because she knew she would have to take the MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) test. She was worried that she would screw it all up and not move on to fourth grade.

    In addition to reducing our children to testbots, I have to question the wisdom of the extreme amount of pressure we place on them to perform. They are all too aware of the fact that their school's and teachers' livelihoods depend on their test performance.

    "They didn't even need her vote? Good thing they gutted the whole effin' bill. - Jon Stewart

    by pidge not midge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:46:15 AM PDT

    •  Nothing says you care about children (19+ / 0-)

      more than causing 7 year olds to have nervous breakdowns.  The whole system is sick.  I liked school.  My teachers taught me to love learning.  

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:51:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's where I disagree with this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike, k8dd8d

      My younger is in the 3rd, is taking her first MCAS (Massachusetts's test) and isn't at all worried.

      My older is in the 8th, taking her second to last MCAS (the last is in 10th), and isn't at all worried.

      Here's the thing nobody talks about. First of all, by many people who have looked at this, they've all said that there is no state test tougher than the MCAS. So, it's not like Massachusetts has comparably easy tests; we're the hardest.

      But objectively? They're not hard AT ALL. This is why I don't understand all the hand wringing. In the one that really counts (the 10th grade one, which you must pass to get a diploma), the pass rate is above 95%. My daughter is getting tests in 8th grade algebra that a quarter of the class is flunking...and she's going to worry about a test where less than 5% flunks?

      And that older daughter, a B/C student with definite test anxiety, has consistently aced the MCAS.

      If kids are anxious over these tests, that's coming from the adults around them. As a parent, my job is to combat that, not add to it. "Only the 10th grade MCAS means anything, and it's going to be easier than your regular class tests. Don't worry."

      DKos: The left's home for sanctimonious defeatism since 2008.
      "The last time we broke a president, we got Reagan"--Bush Bites

      by ChurchofBruce on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:17:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike

        when my kids were in school and had to take tests, I always explained to them that the tests are just the adults way to figure out how to do a better job of teaching them.

        and now under the Washington homeschool law, they have to take a standardized test once a year, and I tell them the same thing.  Do your best, and that helps me to learn what you know and what we still need to teach you.

        my kids think tests are fun.

        Funny story, I was proctoring a group of 2nd grade homeschoolers last week and this is the first year many of them had taken a standardized test.  They came in all nervous the first morning.  I sat them down and looked around the room and said, "can you scribble?" they all started giggling. I said, if you can scribble, you can do this test.  More giggling.  Then when I told them they just have to scribble to fill in the bubbles to whichever they think is the right answer, and this would help their parents know what to teach them, they all completely relaxed and they actually enjoyed it.  

        I was just a fun adult NOT pressuring them, and they all did their best because of that.

        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

        by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:39:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That was my point. (0+ / 0-)

        Her stress came from teachers who made it very plain that it was the students job to perform well. And try as we might to help children overcome their fears, the reality is that they are in the classroom where teachers have great influence over them, especially at a young age.

        Children aren't always able to step back and reason away their fears. If yours are then that's terrific. But just because my child had difficulty with that doesn't mean I personally added to her stress over testing, nor that she didn't perform well on those tests when it was all said and done.

        "They didn't even need her vote? Good thing they gutted the whole effin' bill. - Jon Stewart

        by pidge not midge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:40:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and think how stressful it would be (0+ / 0-)

          with a merit pay situation where a teacher's own compensation is tied to the success of students.  Even if they didn't want to, they would likely pass some of that stress on to kids.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:02:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  All testing is not evil (0+ / 0-)

        IMHO, testing is one means to diagnose problems in curriculm or in some students and to find ways to help bring them up.  But in Florida, testing is used to penalize poorer schools and therefore, hurts schools in which the majority of students are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  In other words, FCAT has been used to actually hurt the very schools that NEED the most help.  Now testing of students will be the determinant factor in merit pay or retention of teachers which means those teachers in the poorer schools not only have to work harder to help their students learn, but also will be penalized regardless.

        "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

        by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:11:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was shocked to learn (0+ / 0-)

      when a friend had a daughter in 4th grade, that the tests themselves consume an ENTIRE WEEK. I mean, even the SATs are just a half day. No wonder kids are stressed out.

      Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

      by anastasia p on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:22:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A nationwide group opposes standardized testing (13+ / 0-)

    The Coalition for Essential Schools is a nationwide group of schools, parents and educators committed to education that is NOT based on standardized tests. Check out the site.

    Government is the conspiracy of the Few against the Many. - Francois Babeuf

    by Valatius on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:53:08 AM PDT

  •  I remember (14+ / 0-)

    being in the 4th grade back when Mass. first introduced the MCAS back in '99-'00.  I was really pissed off that teachers had to constantly focus on preparing their students for the test, and I was scared of it because high schoolers got a test that was impossible to pass.  Stressing out the students over standardized test prep is NOT the answer, and it never has been.

    "If Congress made it rain cookies, the headline would read 'Democrats Leave Millions Milkless'."- Jon Stewart

    by farleftloon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:53:17 AM PDT

  •  This is what "No Child Left Behind" really meant (14+ / 0-)

    It meant making sure that public school was so wrapped up in teaching a performance test that real teaching was necessarily shit-canned.

    For this reason I would love to see Washington State's WASL tossed in the trash.  My kids (and their teachers) spend the entire year kowtowing and making sacrificial offerings to the dreaded Test God.  The result is awesome report cards and marginally prepared new adults.

  •  Hmmmm.... (3+ / 0-)

    They want to drive out creativity and replace it with conformity.

    Yes, but 'they've' been doing it for years, since before I was in grade school, nothin' new.
    It's hard to teach a roomful of little creative minds, each going in a different direction. And while there are quite a few very admirable teachers, there are many, many others who are simply there for a paycheck.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't ask!/don't tell!

    by Lilyvt on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:58:37 AM PDT

  •  I linked to your diary under my other name (7+ / 0-)

    at tampabay comments, Rian.
    Good on you.

    Damn! He's good! He does have this!

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:59:14 AM PDT

  •  it's time for teacher civil disobedience (19+ / 0-)

    And parents, too.

    Nobody else is going to save the education system.

    "Reality is complicated. Glenn Beck is simple." The Rude One

    by whitewidow on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:00:02 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (10+ / 0-)

    Like someone else said, one I wish you didn't have to write.

    It's sad, all these kids are going to think learning and education is just being drilled for a test...and they won't get the chance to really enjoy what you can do in school.

    Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

    by Sister Havana on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:01:49 AM PDT

  •  1 reason homeschooling was stated by LIBERALS (14+ / 0-)

    was because of the regimented learning taking place in schools.  The lack of exciting a child, expanding their creativity, exploration, questioning and celebration of individuality.  The sorts of things they experience in the 1950s.

    They said that in an institutional children were learning to stand in line.

    And the parents were arrested and jailed for it too.

    Teachers and educators saw their mission differently as time went on and made education better. . . and now those in power are trying to turn the clock backward.

    As heard on the Stephanie Miller Show - yeah that singer is me

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:01:58 AM PDT

  •  signed /nt (6+ / 0-)

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:04:29 AM PDT

  •  California, Texas & Florida. Failed Repub Ideas. (16+ / 0-)

    Texas Republicans have created a new curriculum that replaces science with cult religion. California Republicans used Prop 13 to drown education in a bathtub. Florida is turning education into a a rat maze experiment.

    look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:04:41 AM PDT

  •  We are so much more than a test score. nt (11+ / 0-)

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:12:30 AM PDT

  •  I was a public school music teacher (12+ / 0-)

    in the Houston Independent School District for a number of years. I watched this kind of thing happen in Texas and now it's happening everywhere. Teaching to tests, union-busting, the dumbing-down of education, all of it appalling.

    I used to say two things: the first is that the public schools (especially in places like Texas) have abandoned educating future citizens in favor of indoctrinating future model prisoners and the second is that GWB reminded me of a Texas Middle-School principal.

    I hate to sound like my grandparents, but this country is, at long last, finally going to hell in a handbasket.

    Jesus used to live in my heart, until I upped the rent. I think He moved to Dorchester. If you see Him, tell Him He owes me 35 dollars for a parking ticket.

    by commonmass on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:16:10 AM PDT

  •  In College I Had Almost A 4.0 GPA (5+ / 0-)

    I did that in classes I had to take, but wasn't very interested in my using notecards. I went to class. I took notes. I read the textbook. But a few days before the test I'd just memorize everything via notecards.

    I'd have to save them for the mid-term or final, cause a few days after the test I'd forgotten most of the stuff. For lack of a better phrase I knew the system and "gamed" it.

    I have to think the same thing is at work with these standardized tests in middle school and high school.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:17:13 AM PDT

  •  They want to kill the public school system (11+ / 0-)

     
    And this is how they will do it. Test by test.

     

    I will not teach a man who is not anxious to learn and will not explain to one who is not trying to make things clear to himself - Confucius

    by DiegoUK on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:20:46 AM PDT

  •  Sending a child to public school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    is tantamount to child abuse. Schools are day prisons, they are not designed to educate children but to warehouse them during working hours for their parents.

    And the purpose of No Child Left Behind was always No Tax Dollar Left Unprivatized. The whole system is designed to transform public money into private profits. That's it, children and teachers be damned.

    And unless you have access to a very high caliber private school and $30,000 a year to pay for it, the only real option is to home school. I know a lot of liberal home schoolers and their children are amazingly well rounded and YEARS ahead of their public school peers.

    •  That's nice. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, Rian Fike, Loge

      But lots of people have to work so they can feed the kids and house them. Often enough a couple of jobs because their wages and benefits are gone now.

      Now, public schools could be better. The will has to be there to make it so. Reformation is entirely possible. Lots of countries do publically funded schools and kids do way better.
      But right now corporate and rich folks tax cuts are considered much more important than the education of  Future generations.

      A Creative Revolution- - To revolt within society in order to make it a little better- Krishnamurti

      by pale cold on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:49:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If education is really a priority, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike

        you look at the reality of the system we have and find a way around it for your children or you don't have them in the first place. I don't care how other people choose to try and educate their children, that's their business. This is not a meritocratic society and I wouldn't risk a child's future pretending it is.

        A lot of moms work just to pay for child care and commuting. They don't really net anything after the expenses of having a job are taken into account. I have a good friend who was making 36k as a teacher and when she took everything into consideration she ended up with a net $200/month for her family and a shitload of stress and lost time for her trouble. Quiting to educate her own children became an obvious choice.

        And I honestly do not know how poor or even middle class people can afford to have children today. Everybody I know with little ones can barely make it on low six figures with good insurance. I really do not understand how low wage service sector folks even survive with kids.

    •  "The only real option" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike

      doesn't home schooling require something on the order of that amount of money?  Presumably, you need at least one parent who can forgo having a job by choice during that time.  (So, single or divorced parents need not apply.)  Plus, you're paying for all of your own textbooks, etc.  And you need  to get the kid into some other after-school programs (unless you're Tim Tebow and can play on the local high school football team) to teach social skills.   If you factor in opportunity costs, $30,000 may be about right.

      I know some home school kids who were smart, and I know some who were dumb as rocks.  I think whatever you may gain in promoting curiosity is off-set by lack of exposure to diverse viewpoints and teaching styles.  

      Anyway, the point of the diary, it seems, is not the relative merits of public school versus private school versus home school -- it's a discussion of a particular trend in public schools that is disadvantageous to them.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I'm just saying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike, k8dd8d

        that I agree with the trend that was identified. I find the whole system to be so far beyond any hope that I'd sooner just abandon it wholesale. It is already so degraded as to be essentially useless.

        •  So . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rian Fike

          which of my parents should have home-schooled my sister and me?  My mother should sacrifice her career and compromise her views on gender (with hard-fought gains)?  My father should have given up his law firm partner draw?  The local private schools, consisting of a Catholic school that did probably more teaching by rote (and from which faith my dad ran screaming), the Friends' school with no gifted and talented program?  (I did go on to a pretty well-regarded Quaker college, despite my public education.) The school for fucked up rich kids?  The school for stupid rich kids?  Or the public school that offered a shit-ton of AP classes?  

          People in inner cities probably have even less of a choice.  There's the public school, and maybe you can get into a charter school.  Or get a scholarship somewhere else?  

          Even if you're right, the people who will be made to suffer from these policies are not people like me who had options besides the public school, should those schools deteriorate further.  It'll be the kids who depend on public school for any kind of opportunity in life.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:50:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't thing homeschooling my children (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rian Fike

            compromises my view on gender.  I am exercising a choice that was earned by those in the gender wars before me.

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:04:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My point was that (0+ / 0-)

              suggesting to either of my parents they should stay home with me would have gone well for anyone.  I'm not suggesting that people who choose differently are somehow "wrong," but that my mother would have seen it as an unacceptable step backwards.  Maybe this is because she had me and my sister relatively late in life, who knows. (Not too many women were pregnant in their 40s during the mid-1980s compared to now.)  

              So, public school was right for me -- partly because I was fortunate enough to go to quite a good one.  But the point I was trying to make is that, whatever the advantages or disadvantages of home schooling on an individual basis, it's a luxury that the children most directly and adversely affected by changes to public school education don't enjoy.  Anyway, a de-emphasis on testing would, for example, give teachers more latitude to take different teaching approaches with different students.  

              So, launching wholesale attacks on public school education because it's not ideal for some children, or saying some administrators are unethical is not a recipe for good public policy.  And if you're going to generalize from the worst examples, then you should have to explain why having a generation of religious kids not learning science, "To Kill a Mockingbird," or any kind of reasonable civics is somehow an optimal result.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:57:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I do recognize that it's a luxury (0+ / 0-)

                just as private school would have been.  We couldn't afford that, and couldn't abide by what the public school was doing.  I have stories that are just beyond the pale as to what my kids experienced in the public school.  bad policies, bad teaching.  I know there is good in the system, but we did not experience it in several schools, in multiple states.  sigh.

                so I don't attack wholesale, but I try to make the point that HS is a valid option for some people.

                and I will continue to work to make the public schools better.  After all, I'll have grandchildren someday.

                and if a time comes when the local schools can meetthe needs of my children, they will go back.  Our commitment is to look at each child, each year, and make the best decision to meet their needs.

                A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:17:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Stop talking nonsense! If you're not (0+ / 0-)

          educated about a subject, stay silent.  Nationwide, kids from public schools on the average test as well as kids from private schools.  Ditto charter schools.  I've not seen data from home schooled kids, so I'll stay silent.  I can point to some very troubled public schools, but there are also many fine ones.

          •  here is a start on homeschool results (0+ / 0-)

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:01:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for that; interesting. (0+ / 0-)
              •  I'm always suspect of any test results (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slowbutsure
                1. because all numbers can be manipulated and
                1.  I have in my basement a box of evidence from when a public school principal falsified some testing data

                However, in my experience in the homeschooling community, I see some really bright kids, and a lot of kids who can think in a way I don't see in the kids the same age I deal with who attend public school.  If anecdotal evidence means anything, the vast majority of homeschoolers are doing just fine.

                Yes, there are those who are not, but there are those who are not thriving in th public system either.

                A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:49:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You sound like a impassioned home (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  k8dd8d

                  schooler.  In CA, I think we have pretty good support for homeschoolers.  I personally like my kids to get the diversity, variation, and even the challenges that a public school education can offer.  Plus I don't think I'd be a good teacher!  But I support a parents right to choose to homeschool, as long as it's adequately supervised.

                  And I agree that we should always be leery of manipulation of data; consider the source and look for duplication!

                  •  my kids get lots of variety, diversity and (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    slowbutsure

                    challenges.  I'm not saying that to be argumentative, but to make a point that homeschooling does not look like me sitting at the kitchen table every day with my kids. yes, we do that some days, but on other days we are out and about doing all kinds of interesting things.  There are so many field trips, outside classes, and enrichment activities available that we have to work to keep the "home" in homeschooling!

                    and I am not against the public schools.  if they had worked for my kids, we'd be there.  I hate that I've had to take them out of something I used to believe in.  I am freed as to my teaching abilities by the knowledge that I cannot do worse than what they were getting.  Period.

                    And I know what they were getting because I was there, both volunteering and working part-time at their schools.

                    A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                    by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:13:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Leave Florida (0+ / 0-)

      New York really isn't that bad.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:04:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NO! If we lose our public schools (0+ / 0-)

      We have lost all equality in this country.  

      The fight in Florida right now is about channeling public school monies to private entities for testing and in the form of vouchers for private schools.  It is about neutering the ability of teachers to do what they do best which is to inspire young minds to want to learn.  It is about penalizing teachers for circumstances that their students have OUTSIDE the classroom that affect that student's ability to perform.  

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:01:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Finlands schools most successful..exact opposite. (6+ / 0-)

    Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

    It's interesting how authoritarian GOP is while selling the individual responsibility line. Of course most of the GOP's actions are done to punish public education for not teaching religion and to punish teachers for unionizing.

  •  Technocracy Education (15+ / 0-)

    The emphasis of NCLB and, in fact, every "Educational Reform" since 1980 is to force citizens to abandon humanistic education and replace it with technical minds able to tolerate extreme boredom by repeating endlessly tasks which computers cannot yet do efficiently. Yet. They are working on that now, and the workers will be thrown away as the technocracy figures out how to replace them.

    Instead of teaching people to be people, we are now engaged in teaching people to serve machines. That is why the emphasis on testing, goals, algorythms for success, propoganda for "success" and the diminishment of anything that smacks of thinking individually.

    This fits the Republican and BlueDog Democrat agenda perfectly. People educated this way are easier to control, easier to manage, easier to hire and fire and easier to measure by whatever measure aggrandizes those who control the economic capital.

    Resistance may in the long run be futile, but it is necessary if we intend to save the core humanistic ideals of Western Civilisation.

    I am a veteran of 30 years of Education Wars. I know of what I speak.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:45:48 AM PDT

  •  Teaching. According to Corporate models. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckstop, Rian Fike, miss SPED, nandssmith

    Goal oriented, and lacking substance. There will be motivation meetings and teacher who made the most sales.

    The drop out rates are already high enough with No Child Left in school errr behind. This will bore kids to death as well as leave them wanting.

    A Creative Revolution- - To revolt within society in order to make it a little better- Krishnamurti

    by pale cold on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:45:48 AM PDT

  •  Great post again Rian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    I agree that teachers are just collateral damage in the minds of those whose ultimate goal is the "reform" of public education.  And I agree that controlling children is a big piece of this plan.  But, as always, profit is the ultimate goal.

    And Obama is fully on board with his blueprint for reform and it's focus on shifting our tax dollars from public education to "corporate", for-profit education.

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by nandssmith on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:50:57 AM PDT

  •  As a son of a great engineering teacher, who till (9+ / 0-)

    today is fondly recalled by his students and who taught me to think outside the box always, it's sad to such vile discrimination and degrading of teachers.

    My dad's favorite saying " don't cover the subject, uncover it'".

    For those who are destroying a child's imagination, creativity & inquisitiveness, imagine where the fuck you would be without a Thomas Alva Edison.

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:52:36 AM PDT

  •  Related: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, Tyto Alba

    Worth the 20 minutes (plus he's funny).

    "Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you ruin a great business opportunity."-Karl Marx

    by bfrank72 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:56:52 AM PDT

  •  It's a pity that Obama (7+ / 0-)

    is supporting No Child Left Behind, then.

    •  Not only is he supporting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassidy3, Rian Fike, miss SPED

      NCLB, his plan is even more corporatist.

      Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by nandssmith on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:02:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A pity? A PITY ?? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassidy3, Rian Fike, rossl

      It's a fucking OUTRAGE!

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Complete and utter nonsense... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChurchofBruce, Rian Fike

      Here we go again with you AWD.

      The President believes, as many of us do, that there is a need within a broader education policy, for some measure of objective accountability and measurement with regard to the owners of the objective (the school boards and leaders), the implementers of the means to achieve the objective (the teachers), and the end users (the students). We expect no less than these standards (and then some) be applied to other instruments of the public trust, such as hospitals, Wall Street, banks, etc., yet somehow his support for these measures should be demonized with respect to schools? Nonsense.

      What's even more aggregious, though, is your complete overgeneralization. Obama would no sooner support NCLB as an unchanged stand alone program than you. He's stated so many times. On top of that, he fully supports and prioritizes the restoration of a focus on arts and sciences, physical education and other non-standard elements. Howeve,r unlike his predeccesor(s), he is unwilling to attack this thing piecemeal, launching this while squashing that, and is insisting that spending and revitalization of our schools be performed within the context of a complete plan, and thoughtful inputs from all parties, and that is what's currently underway at the WH at least.

      Finding merits in some form of testing and evaluation and "supporting NCLB" are two vastly different things, especially when you choose to omit any form of context to his "support".

      •  Interesting comment. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike, miss SPED

        From what you write, it seems he has a really long-term goal ((no surprise there, and love that).

        I am just concerned that too many other areas  (poverty, school boards run by American Talibangelicals or voucher-loving, destroy-public-all-services Rethugs etc.) must be addressed and remedied before a system making teachers accountable for their students' performance could be fairly implemented. In schools where, e.g., students tell teachers they are "going to kill" them, where teachers are stuck with illiterate students by no fault of their own, or where students are so poorthey can hardly even get to the school, how the hell can a policy of holding teachers accountable for their student's performance be implemented off the bat?

        There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

        by StepLeftStepForward on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:25:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of effort spent (0+ / 0-)

        on teacher accountability, and little effort spent on the most important problems with schools, and that's not teaching.

        I do think Obama is failing us on education.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:08:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is even broader... (8+ / 0-)

    Combine this diary with teacherken's excellent diary on why hedge fund managers are worth huge multiples more than America's teachers.

    I concur that certainly there is a motivation to create "educational" uniformity through standardization.

    I also submit that without question, our country as a whole has completely lost sight of the real meaning of a true education, and the true financial value of such a thing.

    The answer to Ken's diary query yesterday is very cut and dry:  hedge fund managers are "worth more" than teachers simply because their efforts produce real, tangible wealth that can be quanitfied and measured immediately, and thereby distributed in a manner that satisfies those who are making the wealth and wield the power.

    Education, on the other hand, has become very much akin to child care and a ritual in this country, versus an underlying fundamental behind the production of wealth and value in this land. And why?

    (in no particular order)

    1.  America's parents, in large majorities, have simply stopped providing meaningful context to their children as to why they go to school, what the broader impact of their studies is, and to what extent we rely as a society on their development and future leadership in the area(s) of their expertise.
    1.  Which leads to this -- America's youth have completely lost their passion for, and interest in, cultivating the imagination and creativity referred to herein, for they see no potential long term value in it, their parents have already stockpiled a small fortune for their "futures" in many cases, and they have been raised entirely in an era where it is simply an expectation that America is, by definition, a land of plenty, replete with bountiful jobs and financial opportunity that other nations must work harder for. They have been tought that we lead, and others follow, but not why and how that came to be -- on the backs of inventors and laborers, educators and scientists, explorers and artists. They simply expect the table to be set, and who can blame them?
    1.  Our nation's wealthiest, because of many of the aspects of #1 and #2, are becoming harder and harder to convince as to the net financial benefit of "investments" in broader education. Of course, no one would admit as such, as it has become socially unacceptable to stand opposed to education (even in you are doing so in the name of programs like NCLB, for example). Yet, many conservatives, especially the wealthy white sector, more likely to pay for private educations and/or directed giving toward alma maters and pet educational projects, view funding into public education as a form of social welfare, are threatened by and turned off by the politics of unions impacting the issue, and are more apt to view public schools as harbors for what they have worked hard to isolate themselves from -- harmful diversity, liberal social teachings and tolerances, and the imposition of broad government social programs on a life they feel entitled to wield more control over. This point drives the current rift between where our schools should be and where they are more than any other, and unions must be careful not to fight battles in such a way as to make their causes look to personalized and political, and still convey the most important message that we as a nation are completely missing the picture on what our schools must mean and do going forward.

    Simply put, a significant chunk of the nation has completely lost faith in the capability of public schools to fulfill a vital mission in the effective education of our future generations, and America as a whole has become complacent and dangerously overconfident in our ability to support and nuture future generations, through jobs, opportunites, financial security, global leadership and the like, by other means than a strategic and effective education system. One that features more than just a panel of standardized tests, and one that builds a sustainable and reliable future for our country through the development of skills, urgency and yes, creativity in our children to become innovators, explorers and leaders once again.

    The future built throughout the 80's until now has completely stripped the country of manufacturing, development, creation of new industries, crafts, and exploration (such as the quest to reach into space, or to cultivate and harness new technologies like nuclear power). Instead, our wealth and prestige is directed into sales, services, and standardized, compartmentalized trades, such as home building en masse, auto line work, or infrastructure repair. Overly generalized? Somewhat. But given the complete disconnect between our development of educational curricula and application of those skills toward future livlihoods and endeavors of the children filling the seats and desks, it is not improbable that the brightest future for our most talented minds, who somehow survive the intellectual desert of today's standardized schools, is likely to be residing in countries outside our borders.

     

  •  It doesn't take much "fancy book learnin'" (8+ / 0-)

    ...to be a barefoot servant of one of the few rich families left after the middle class is crushed and the vast majority of Americans are in the underclass. It seems that this is the real goal of the GOP: to elevate a few "have" and "have more" families into a new aristocracy and reduce the rest of us to superstitious, ignorant peasants that can be ruled. "The hired help."

    That's the only reason that this is going on that makes sense. And it scares the living shit out of me just how many people are going along with it. We should be fucking kicking and screaming about this. But the tranquilized sheeple masses just keep watching Fox (I don't just mean the news channel, I mean the whole goddamn bunch of networks) and ignoring the reduction of their birthright into a small bowl of gruel.

    The next OneCare Happy Hour will be April 30, 2010.
    "I like taxes. With them I buy civilization."-- O.W. Holmes

    by Pris from LA on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:04:14 AM PDT

  •  They want our teachers to conform (7+ / 0-)

    And not rock the boat, and especially not to organize unions. This is so that they will teach our kids to conform, and not rock the boat, so that THEY will not organize and form unions.

    Tipped and recommended, and I stand with and behind Rian and all the Florida teachers. But although as Rian says, the villains are legion, I want the blame for this put squarely where it belongs, and on  the one person who at this moment is the most directly responsible.

    That is Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, our "transformational" president, our player of eleven-dimensional chess, our avatar of hope and change.

    By enabling the corporate tool, the union-busting thug Arne Duncan, to destroy our teachers' job security, bargaining power, and capability to teach our children the best they know how, Obama's hands are as dirty as anyone's, and there is no defending his actions on this one issue.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:08:11 AM PDT

    •  The teachers who rocked the boat (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan, MA Liberal, Rian Fike, k8dd8d

      in my experience were the best ones.  It's easier to play "get along, go along" than it is to fight with principals and superintendents.  But a teacher willing to do it is going to be one who cares about education.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:33:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MA Liberal, Rian Fike

        No risk, no reward.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:36:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another side of this is ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED, k8dd8d, gulfgal98

        ... (as teacherken pointed out in a diary yesterday) that teachers are so undervalued in our society.

        Hedge fund managers are valued in our society.  It is reflected in their pay.

        Sports teams and athletes are valued in our society.  It is reflected in what people are willing to pay for stadiums, salaries, etc.

        Teachers are NOT valued in our society.  

        That is because education is not valued in our society.  Learning is not valued in our society.  Thinking is not valued in our society.  Being intelligent and informed is not valued in our society.

        Look at the popularity among a damning percentage of our society of willfully, proudly ignorant people like Palin, Beck, Bush, etc.

        In my city many teachers have second jobs to make ends meet -- at WalMart and other such places.

        In my home town, where my brother works for a newspaper, the editor and his wife (an elementary school teacher), who both worked more than 40 hours/week, were still forced to get foodstamps to make ends meet.

        If we valued teachers, we would pay them what they are worth.  And we would get more invested, inspired teachers.  I know there are many, many dedicated, motivated teachers working like hell out there because they believe in what they're doing.  Those kind changed my life.

        But growing up I also saw many teachers in my school who were obviously burnt out, uninspired, going through the motions to pick up a meager paycheck, their enthusiasm long gone.  

        I also saw that -- (as I read is shockingly typical in this country) -- all the history and social studies teachers in my school were actually physical education majors who didn't really care about their subjects and were really there to coach the sports teams.  Of course those would clearly be the best people one could imagine to inspire an interest in history and social studies in their students!  (not)

  •  IMHO, the real purpose is two fold (5+ / 0-)

    First, this is a continuation of Jeb Bush's privatization of everything governmental in Florida.  Many of his privatization schemes ended up costing the taxpayers more money and are abject failures.  

    What is happening here is using testing to kill public education in Florida.  The teachers are the last firewall for protecting public education. The legislature has already destroyed the curriculum and was using the test as a punishment against poorer schools.  Now the test will be also used against teachers in those poorer schools.  Add to that, the use of public funds for vouchers to be used at private schools and what you get is the incremental privatization of education in Florida.

    Second, this is a further separation of the classes in Florida.  The Bush family has always been about looking out for the wealthy.  The economically disadvantaged children will continue to fall farther and farther behind. No teacher is going to want to teach in the poorer schools for fear of losing their livelihood.  Instead, the lucky ones will flock to the wealthier schools and private schools.

    Florida is rapidly moving toward third world status in every way, but particularly in the public schools.  This is indeed one of the saddest and most disingenuous moves by the legislature.

    "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

    by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:10:55 AM PDT

    •  a third fold (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike

      Republicans love to be against something. It's much easier to elicit emotional responses and rally support by identifying an evil enemy intent on destroying "our way of life" (or whatever) than to build a following based on developing measured and reasonable plans for improving a system already in place.

      The communists are gone, the Drug War is passe, overt racism is unacceptable, let's hate on teachers!

  •  I don't know that they're "aiming" at kids... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckstop, Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    ...because I don't think the R's can see past their hatred of unions to even get to the effect on kids. Nor do I believe they care to (unless they're talking about how much we need to teach creationism as science, of course).

    But that's a very minor point because whether by design or as collateral damage, the kids are going to suffer. And as the kids go, so goes the nation.

    Excellent diary, even if it is heartbreaking. Thank you for writing it.

    "But your majesty, you cannot die an old maid." "I have no intention to, Chancellor. I shall die a bachelor!" (Queen Christina)

    by VetGrl on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:20:45 AM PDT

  •  EIGHT OUT OF TEN MONTHS?!?!? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Rian Fike

    Put it this way, that's 5 more months than I spent studying for the bar exam.

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:33:48 AM PDT

    •  The stakes in Florida (4+ / 0-)

      were already very high because FCAT was being used to reward and "punish" schools based upon test scores.  Now the legislature is upping the ante by removing career service protection from the teaching profession based upon test scores of the students.

      Bottom line.  Children from more economically advantaged circumstances tend to do better on tests because their home lives are more secure and often they have greater parental involvement.  So the schools where more economically disadvantaged children attend are already being penalized due to lower test scores and NOW the teachers (who must work even harder) of those children will be penalized also.

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:52:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in a nutshell (4+ / 0-)

        Children from more economically advantaged circumstances tend to do better on tests because their home lives are more secure and often they have greater parental involvement.  So the schools where more economically disadvantaged children attend are already being penalized due to lower test scores and NOW the teachers (who must work even harder) of those children will be penalized also.

        this is the elephant in the room

        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

        by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:00:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a re-segregation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k8dd8d

          of sorts of our schools, after the legislature has destroyed them and the teaching profession in Florida.

          There are sooooooooo many things wrong with this.

          As I posted earlier, the teachers have been the last firewall in the system.  Now this legislation, in effect, removes that firewall leaving our most vulnerable students unprotected.

          I will add the IMHO, those most vulnerable students will be mostly poor and minority.

          "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

          by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:51:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  16 year olds in 7th grade... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah, hatdog, miss SPED, gulfgal98

        A friend that teaches at one of these schools in Florida tells me that kids drop out of school before they even reach high school because they keep failing. What incentive is there for a child who can't pass 7th grade to continue trying?

  •  No one will convince a teacher there's a problem (0+ / 0-)

    with the results of public education the past 25 years. They gripe about teaching to standardized tests and fail miserably at it. The solution: crayons, dance, play. Like kids don't do that naturally at home.

    Only people outside of education wonder what's wrong with it. The educators don't see the problem and are very defensive about failing. They're not teaching and developing to a satisfactory level the student's ability in the three Rs test or no test.

    Support good reform not a political party blindly.

    by Eposter on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:34:53 AM PDT

    •  crayons, dance, play (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, Albatross, Rian Fike

      kids don't do that naturally at home any more.  Instead, they get shuttled to after school art classes, dance lessons and playdates.  

      they need the opportunity to be children and they are not getting that from the adults in their world.

      what's wrong with education is that we have become so focused on making sure every child meets some mediocre minimum standard that we've lost the passion to help every child reach their highest.

      many teachers still want that, but the system beats it out of them, and the administrators are protecting their own fiefdoms, and the politicians go where the money is.

      kids are lost in the crossfire.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:58:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why Johnny can't read? (0+ / 0-)

        Because nobody taught him how to dance and draw. LOL.

        Support good reform not a political party blindly.

        by Eposter on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:26:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  seriously, from a developmental standpoint (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, hatdog, ArkDem14

          kids cannot learn to read until they can pedal a trike, bounce a ball, and walk up stairs on alternate feet.  It has to do with gross motor control, and until they have achieved that, teaching them to read is futile.  It makes sense that their brain has to make sense of the sides of the body and how they work before they can recognize the difference between, for example, a 'b' and a 'd'.  Without the spatial knowledge that comes from gross motor activities, they cannot discern the spatial differences when they look at letters.

          So a good preschool program is not one that teaches letters and writing, it is one which lets them run around and play, climb, pedal, bounce balls and yes, DANCE.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:54:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you may have been sarcastic (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, hatdog, k8dd8d

          but both dance and drawing help children develop an innate understanding of pattern.  Drawing obviously helps with the mechanics of holding a pencil and writing letters (writing is a form of drawing).  Dance means exposure to music; reading aloud fluently involves rhythm and cadence.

          Both drawing and dance involve symbols, representing real things with representational movement or images.  Words are symbols also.

        •  Why Johnny can't read (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          miss SPED, k8dd8d

          might be because he's too busy dodging bullets outside of school to do homework, or there's no light because the power got turned off.

          Education is far more that reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic these days; we need people with critical thinking skills and creativity to come up with new solutions to the problems facing us -- and a lot of that creativity comes from dancing and drawing and all the other stuff you seem to denigrate.

          The risk we take in opening our hearts to love, is learning to say goodbye.

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:57:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  More importantly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eposter

          Why Eposter can't think?

          Teddycare for all...might yet happen.

          by reddbierd on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:28:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If you wrote 100% the opposite of what you wrote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Albatross, anastasia p

      you'd be 100% right.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:05:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The dumbing down of America... (5+ / 0-)

    It's nothing new, but it certainly is getting worse.
    I remember several years ago watching Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes interviewing high school kids. The kids couldn't see why they needed stuff like history and the arts. they figured they needed only to concentrate on courses needed to get a job.
    We have failed to completely educate our children. when my mom and dad went to school in the 30's, they got everything - literature, Latin, the arts, history, civics, etc. as well as the three R's.
    But raising kids to repeat and not think plays right into the hands of those who want to control the population. After all, the more educated you are, the more likely you're a liberal. Just look at the dolts int he Tea Party. They repeat Fox talking points, but when you as them to elaborate all you get is "Well, I haven't read the bill," or "I don't know." So they rail about something they know nothing about.
    I guess we can expect more down the road.
    Funniest thing I saw all week was Justice Stevens being called a liberal. It shows how far to the right the conservatives have gone that a conservative Republican is now called a liberal.
    Sigh.

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:55:59 AM PDT

  •  There's a place at the table for testing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    ... but testing by no means deserves to eat the whole meal.

    Kids do need to know basic math and how to properly learn the English language. They do need to know basic history and basic science (yes, that includes evolution). Assessment often drives instruction, and it's not hard to test for grade-appropriate understanding of the basics in those areas.

    However, there's a lot more to education than learning the basics of math, science, etc. Kids need to learn art. They need to learn music. Drama. Dance. History beyond names and dates. Social studies. What makes other cultures tick. Political science. Critical thinking. Evaluation skills. How to do research (how to "look it up") and determine if what they've looked up is valuable or hokum. How to use those language skills to write different types of materials (letters, essays, plays, fiction, non-fiction, technical writing, etc.). Nutrition. And on and on.

    When I was a kid, back before light bulbs existed, we had to take some standardised tests - the "Iowas" and the "Californias." I don't ever remember hearing anything about them before we took them or after we took them. They just were. Learning went on before and after, and we sure as hell didn't spend the entire damn school year focused on test prep.

    IMHO, although there is a place for formal testing, it's gone way overboard. Statewide testing can indeed evaluate some things. It can't evaluate everything. It shouldn't have to evaluate everything. Tests and test scores certainly can't replace a teacher's judgment about how well or how much any student has learned, let alone replace actual thought by principals, superintendents, school boards, and fellow teachers about how much Teachers X, Y, and Z should be paid.

    Disclaimer: I teach in a Adult Education GED center. Our reason for being is to teach people enough to pass the GED test, although we do have some people who just want to learn to read (I teach all of those folks) and some ESOL learners. I consider this to be different from public schools, where children are taught what they need to live in our society. However, in our Center, we do end up teaching some of those basics, too, because an astonishing number of adults don't know how to function in society, either.

    The fundies are right! The world is ending! There's a black guy with his feet up on the Oval Office desk! Oh Noez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by SciMathGuy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:56:40 AM PDT

  •  I'm no longer a teacher.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bess, Rian Fike, miss SPED, k8dd8d

    ...now just call me tester. 17 years as a California educator is reduced to students filling bubbles on scantron sheets.

  •  This is how Virginia is with SOL tests (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bess, Rian Fike, miss SPED

    Everything in our curriculum between 3rd grade and 12th grade (for me, they extended them to kindergarten now) revolved around end-of-the-year state standardized tests called SOL (Standards of Learning) tests. Teachers couldn't teach anything not covered by the 40-60 question multiple choice test, it was horrible. Of course, we had tests and essays and stuff in the class so it wasn't completely multiple choice (in other words, made us think a bit), but if our teacher wanted to talk about something not covered by the test, he or she had to wait until the last week or two of school after the SOL testing was done. Unfortunately, by then, there's no time to teach new stuff because we have to move right into reviewing for finals.

    The state mandated standardized tests were not representative of what we learned. For example, the US History SOL in 11th grade focused heavily on the 20th century and almost ignored everything from Jamestown to the Civil War -- which we spent over half the year talking about. On top of that, you could be a straight A student, but if you failed the SOL test you don't get to graduate until you pass the test. One state test should not hold you up from graduation, it should be based on your grades.

    It's sad to see that other states have these tests as well.

    "Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved." -Aristotle
    Follow me on Twitter!

    by weatherdude on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:45:20 AM PDT

  •  I see two thing going on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, bess, Rian Fike, k8dd8d
    1.  A Shirley Jacksonesque bloodlust for le sacrifice humain.  This is where the energy for the demonization of teachers is coming from.
    1. An assault on public education by the people who are against public everything. And they are the ones responsible for whipping up the mob.

    Follow the money from CEO-behaving-badly and member of The Family, Dennis Bakke to his real estate company.

    When these greedy swindlers have succeeded in destroying public education, and their empires have been exposed for the fraudulent, educationally bankrupt, schemes for getting public money into private coffers that they are, then what?

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:51:22 AM PDT

  •  When are we going to face the fact that the Bush (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, etrangere, Dartagnan, Rian Fike

    family are droids sent from an evil planet to destroy humankind?

  •  My Mom was an elementary school teacher (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    and she had this little cartoon that she felt best characterized the school system.  Don't have the cartoon but will describe it to the best of my ability.  Goes like this:

    On the left of the drawing were little blocks, balls and every configuration and color you can think of - in the middle was the proverbial little red school house - on the right all square red blocks.  The moral was that kids come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. when they enter the school system.  When they come out they all think, act and believe the same.  Lost imagination - dull thinkers - spirit of learning and tolerance dimished.

  •  I'm starting to get these excellent test takers (5+ / 0-)

    produced by NCLB in my college classroom.

    They are just flailing away because I'm not spoonfeeding them information.

    I do believe a great deal of damage has been done.

    And, where to get info fed uncritically to you except at FoxNews?

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:07:42 PM PDT

  •  If I have kids, I just might homeschool them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    Teach them critical thinking and real skills instead of a whole lot of disconnected facts that they can only regurgitate. Get them outside and applying what they're supposed to be learning by doing something fun and constructive with their hands.

    I'm not worried about poor socialization; I went to public school and I still had no friends. Public school is not a magical popularity-builder, and I can't imagine why anyone would think it was. Public school is endlessly stereotyped as being the exact opposite: a giant sorting machine designed to identify and break the spirits of all but the richest and most physically attractive while turning them into a bunch of brainless narcissists and psychopaths well suited to become the ruling class of the future.

    Being social comes from within; the best you can do otherwise is mindlessly imitate what the other kids are doing, something that the other kids will see right through and respect you even less, not to mention the fact that if you have even an ounce of independence in you then you'll hate every minute of it even if you succeed.

    I'm hungry for some "giant vampire squid" sushi.

    by Visceral on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:34:22 PM PDT

    •  the interesting thing about teaching them (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Rian Fike, Tyto Alba

      critical thinking is that you don't have to 'teach' it at all.  if you read with them, talk with them, play games with them, it comes naturally.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:54:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are ways you can provide the socialization (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Rian Fike

      without school -- look for a Unitarian church that has activities for kids, for example, or many local museums and science centers have "kids clubs".

      The risk we take in opening our hearts to love, is learning to say goodbye.

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:00:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is going to be a good day in America... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, gulfgal98

    ...when there are no Bushes left in political power positions...

  •  why home-schooling is popular with Evangelicals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Rian Fike, RockyMtnLib

    There's a huge home-schooling movement among the radically-religious for this very reason.  They're breeding as fast as they can, keeping their kids sequestered away from "secular" kids, and home-schooling them in all manner of backward, idiot superstition.

    They're aggressive about it, too.  My co-worker's brother (who's such a right-wing nut that he thinks the ASPCA wants to take his guns) already has 9 kids and another one on the way... and they're so isolated they're barely aware that there is an outside world.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:50:44 PM PDT

    •  but please realize that is not the (5+ / 0-)

      only type of homeschooling that exists.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I homeschool (3+ / 0-)

        because my son is LD, but very creative.  

        "Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident." G.K. Chesterton

        by rosabw on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:55:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rian Fike

        I've got a friend who was homeschooled, and he wasn't like this at all, so I know it's far from the only kind.  But in the South, the Evangelical "separatist" practice is unfortunately very common, too.  They have a movement built around it.

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:01:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They have that right... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah, Rian Fike, k8dd8d

          Sorry, as a homeschooling parent, I may not like the indoctrination of children with religion but on the other hand, they have helped us to have the right to teach our children rather than let the very poor school system do it. In our homeschool group, we teach for secular reasons, even though some of our members are church goers. Everyone there has a very good reason for homeschooling, regardless of whether their child has special needs, is gifted, or in the case of our two younger children, we just do not want them destroyed by the public school system and private schools aren't really an option in our area.

          The nice thing is that we have a right to homeschool our kids the way we see fit as do the religious parents. We may not like it, but it is their right and I would hate to see someone impose on my and tell me how to teach my kids. We can't expect to have rights that we are not willing to give to others, even if we don't agree with the others.

          •  wish I could rec this a whole bunch! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boofdah, Rian Fike

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not saying it's not their right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rian Fike

            Never said it wasn't their right to homeschool their kids with religious bullshit, never even implied it.  Just said it's unfortunate that it's happening.  

            You're wasting what would otherwise be a pretty good scolding. :)

            "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

            by Front Toward Enemy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:37:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  forgive us homeschoolers for being (3+ / 0-)

              a bit defensive.  it comes at us all the time from all quarters.  if I thought giving my kids a homeschool education was bad for them, I obviously wouldn't do it, and yet everyone out there, who doesn't know us, our situation or our experiences has an opinion of how I am damaging my kids or how they won't be socialized (how many people can you name who had good social experiences in public high school?)

              and this is an area that we smaller contingent of liberal/secular homeschoolers must support the crazy religious wingnut homeschoolers because we want the right to do what is right for our kids.

              A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

              by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:05:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  More than just evangelicals (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike, k8dd8d, Front Toward Enemy

      are home-schooling; when I was working for a non-profit, many of our clients were parents homeschooling their learning disabled children because they were unhappy with the programs offered in traditional learning systems.

      The risk we take in opening our hearts to love, is learning to say goodbye.

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:01:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  another reason to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      .... limit the child tax credit to TWO kids.  

      Not only to reinforce the need for reducing population in a world heading toward climate crisis.   But also:

      To discourage people who are genetically selfish from increasing those selfish genes in the gene pool.  

      And to discourage extremist ideologies from using their children as a pawns in their drive for cultural hegemony.  

    •  Oh Jebus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      not the "Quiverfull" shit.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Liberal arts education will not be a priority (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d, rossl

    as long as corporate greed sets the overall political agenda. This is what public education will become under a corporate-controlled (fascist/feudalist) political framework.

  •  Look for more homeschooling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    as kids who don't fit the mold, ie, test well, are given less and less attention.  

    "Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident." G.K. Chesterton

    by rosabw on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:54:21 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Kudos to the teachers of Florida for taking a stand! I'm rooting for them! I keep dreaming how awesome it would be if the teachers of Florida and Texas (at least those in Texas who share the same positive vigor) created some kind of powerful alliance that would overthrow both Florida's and Texas's (current) school curriculum and Republican Parties.

    And I just thought of a perfect solution to the overall lack of academic freedom and imagination in this country (you ready for this?):

    Model these end-of-the-year tests after Academic Decathlon tests.

    Academic Decathlon covers many diverse topics - even art and music! And I honestly believe that if these district-wide and state exams cover all kinds of diverse topics (minus the annual themes that AcDec employs), then students will actually be encouraged to let their imaginations grow again. Take it from me, I'm a Decathlete myself! =)

    Socially liberal, environmentally conservative, economically centrist.

    by Princess Sunshine on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:17:23 PM PDT

  •  Where is the Obama Administration on this? (6+ / 0-)

    Excellent diary Rian.

    There is a similar situation in Indiana.

    The Governor and his Superintendent of Education are pressuring merit pay also thereby marginalizing negotiated contracts and teachers rights to collective bargaining.

    From the perspective of the what goes on in the learning process, the affects of merit pay will unleash a Pandora's box of negative affects.

    Evaluating teachers based on children's high stakes test scores degenerates’ the teaching and learning process and puts students who are cognitively challenged at risk of being further marginalized. Students will ultimately be viewed as liabilities instead of challenges.

    This proposal will exacerbate difficulties faced by teachers in over crowded classrooms of heterogeneous student populations.

    Here we are, the most technologically advanced nation on the planet (well, we used to be...), and we are assessing our children’s educational progress with pencil and paper standardized tests....

    After looking at "Race to the Top" guidelines on the DOE website, it appears President Obama's major education initiative, will result in nothing more than an escalation of the sad state of affairs NCLB has generated within the majority of our public school classrooms.

    American children are going to receive massive doses of the same old behaviorist industrial based mechanistic approaches to learning driven by reformers who gave us NCLB, who are more interested in efficiency then they are on individual children's unique cognitive makeup and development through individualized differentiated learning pathways.

    High stakes, selected response/short answer paper and pencil assessments will continue to drive behaviorist information processing pedagogy.

    This non-consensual approach to behavioristic learning activities where students will be compelled to engage in order to better "achieve" or close the "achievement gap" will do little more than score more points on standardized tests.

    In the mean time, inculcating the joy of learning and opportunities to develop individual student intelligence through inherent giftedness, interests and educational passions will be flushed down the drain.

    Children should fall in love with their learning.
    This is not the way to do it.

    Children are not cogs in a machine.

  •  sigh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Shelterbox http://www.shelterboxusa.org/

    by TexMex on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:27:14 PM PDT

  •  Assessment is necessary (0+ / 0-)

    How do we know if kids are learning or not, if we don't assess that learning? I don't see tests as a problem.  Maybe the content of those tests needs to change.  But I don't see how education could be better if there is no way to tell if the students are learning.  How do you know if you don't assess the learning in some objective way???

    •  the problem is not with testing per se (4+ / 0-)

      it's with the fact that the tests are so high stakes that they are not used to improve teaching or measure learning.  They are used as a guide to curriculum.  They teach to the test, rather than using the test to find out what kids are learning and how the system could be improved.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:00:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  assessment happens every day (6+ / 0-)

      The issue isn't "assessment" per se, it's the high-stakes assessment that state testing has become.  Teachers assess their students knowledge every day to decide what kids are ready for next, what they already know.  Every homework assignment, every quiz, every class discussion is an opportunity for the teacher to assess learning.

      The issue is maybe not even the existence of the state tests, but the school  districts' reaction to testing, which is to micromanage the curriculum and focus the entire year on preparing for a test.  This approach may not even serve its intended purpose of improving scores on those all important tests, but the teachers are being restricted from using their judgment and training to decide how best to move their particular group of children forward in their learning.

    •  NCLB requires continual improvement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k8dd8d

      (IOW, an infinite amount of progress), which is not possible. The inevitable outcome (engineered by the right wing which designed NCLB) is that the public schools can be labeled "failing", and then abolished.

      Education is the enemy of Republicans, and they know it.

  •  just say Madrassas. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, Only Needs a Beat

    This is the strategy of the extreme right: duplicate the Madrassas system of Saudi Arabia.  Rote memorization, production-line teaching, zero room for creativity on the part of the teachers or the students.  

    The religious right, and corporate feudalists, are terrified of creativity, spontaneity, and imagination.  They want to kill them by whatever means.

    And by the way, here's where the "Left Behind" in "No Child Left Behind" comes from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    This isn't just a fight for the classroom.  This is a fight to prevent religious extremism from imposing its mentality on all of our children.

  •  as the child of an elementary school teacher (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, Only Needs a Beat
    who deeply valued the inherent creativity and intelligence of children and wanted their school work to grow out of their interests -- I wish you only the best!
  •  Something like this happened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    in California on a more limited scale. Last year, the LA Times did an article on the American Indian Public Charter School. Since the article and subsequent comments do a better job of explaining why something like what Florida's doing is, in my opinion, utterly sickening, here are the links:

    Article (7 pages): "Spitting in the eye of mainstream education"

    Comments (2 pages): "Old-school methods"

    What Florida is doing is setting students up to fail in the real world in terms of their critical thinking, creativity--hell, even their very humanity. Good test scores do not make a good person.

    But there will always be those who falsely believe that rigidity and unquestioning obedience is good. If they choose to rationalize their views by claiming that those students will grow up to become "outstanding adults," then I will accuse them of trying to create a country where dissent isn't tolerated, where inequality runs rampant, and where personal morals are suppressed by sanctimonious "moral" standard-bearers.

  •  One of the best (4+ / 0-)

    diaries I've seen in quite a while, and there are some very damn good diaries here on a regular basis.

    I've long thought that the agenda of those who control education - public and private, isn't to produce productive, valuable citizens, but easily manageable automatons who will do what they're told without giving it a second thought. I thought this when I was a rabid right-winger more than a decade ago, and I see it that way to this day.

    Having said that, public schools, when administered by the right folks, are a valuable - and invaluable - catalyst, for strengthening democracy and steady progress.

    In my school days there were plenty of teachers who were there just to collect a paycheck who I didn't really care for, but there were at least a handful who were obviously there to try to get me to think, to question, and hence, to learn.

    Yes, the goal should be to get us out of this morass and it would be great for us to have an education that is more like Finland's. Until then, what we can do now is provide young people with their own outlets where their creativity and imagination can flourish.

    Young people, even if your school has by and large gone to shit, consider yourself lucky if you have even one grownup who inspires you to learn.

    I wasn't a good student in that I was barely @ the bottom of the middle 3rd in terms of GPA, but I had a teacher who brought out in me the desire to think critically. In some cases, it only takes one teacher or other type of role model to bring that out.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:09:13 PM PDT

  •  petition signed, I hope that Crist will throw out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    the trash (this bill) rather than sign it. Don't sign away the children!

  •  Everyone is an expert on school, (10+ / 0-)

    especially k-12, because we all were educated by someone somewhere. And I wonder why I spent so much money and am paying off loans to become a teacher when I am not considered a professional by the majority of people in our society today.

    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

    by lilypew on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:57:25 PM PDT

  •  not only are these bad tests... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Not only are the tests themselves flawed, the scoring process is flawed too.  They are scored by low-paid and minimally-trained temps.  I used to be one of those temps.  

    I wrote a whole essay about my experience:

    http://www.timothyhorrigan.com/...

    or

    http://bit.ly/...

  •  Don't tell him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psnyder, Rian Fike

    but vetoing this may be Crist's only hope of becoming senator.

    Teddycare for all...might yet happen.

    by reddbierd on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:31:00 PM PDT

    •  On the hopeful side, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reddbierd, Rian Fike

      Crist did veto, just last week, a bill much loved by the Republican majority in both houses, which would have taken limits off soft money. GOPers squealed like stuck pigs.

      But you're right. If Charlie has a prayer of becoming senator, he's going to have to piss of Republicans.

      "Bush legalized torture. Obama just legalized health care for all. Which line would you rather stand in?" Frank Schaeffer

      by psnyder on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:44:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's another poke in same the eye. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    From an email sent out by a friend in the Broward Teachers' Union:

    In some districts part of a military veteran's experience is applied to the salary schedule. So they may gain an additional 5  years of experience...which could be $5,000 (or more).

    Teachers who are military veterans will lose this money and in exchange may receive extra points on the less than 50 percent of their evaluation. So instead of $5,000  you essentially are getting a smiley face.

    Think of a young kid who wants to retire from the military and live in
    his/her rural hometown. Now, rather than get an incentive to be a role model for kids....this opportunity is now taken from him or her. This may be the person who has a background in  math, science, technology that is difficult to find.

    From a reply to that email:

    Also, currently under the certification portion of the bill a teacher in the National Guard who is called to active duty will not be able to meet the learning gains provision if their active deployment is for an
    extended period of time. Serving our country could cost these teachers
    their license to teach!

    From my reply to the email:

    Un-effing-believable. The Republicans are really bending over backwards to find every possible way to make the profession of teaching (in public school) radioactive in the state of Florida. It could not be clearer that their goal is to destroy not only the unions but the public schools themselves. Vouchers? Piffle. Small bore stuff. Think big! Destroy the public schools! Privatize, privatize, privatize! Make education a business, not a profession. Hell, we haven't treated our teachers as professionals since...ever! Let's just go all the way! This is a right-to-work state. Make teachers subject to the same rules (i.e., none) that protect everybody else. Hey, police and firefighters? You're next! Remember Blackwater? Yeah, baby!

    Republicans make me sick. I don't buy centrism and moderation with bad faith actors like them. What do centrism and moderation mean when you're dealing with people whose idea is to destroy democracy, wreck the infrastructure, and open everything to the unregulated depredations of an unregulated market?

    Pardon my immoderation.

    "Bush legalized torture. Obama just legalized health care for all. Which line would you rather stand in?" Frank Schaeffer

    by psnyder on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:41:46 PM PDT

  •  Awesome diary once again, Rian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, k8dd8d

    Yes, the increased emphasis on testing is stifling creativity. It is also creating stressed-out kids.  My colleagues and I see more kids who are unhappy and apprehensive about coming to school (stomach aches, crying kindergarten and first grade students) than ever before.  In fact, a book I am reading called "The Flight of the Creative Class" says that the U.S. has the highest rate of mental illness, depression, and anxiety disorder (2004 study by Harvard Med. School and the World health Organization). The implications of this...robbing children of their natural love of learning and then sending them out into the U.S. workforce, is disturbing on its face and detrimental to the U.S. on so many levels. :)

  •  This will likely get missed by all except the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    diarist, however this TED speech by a gentleman by the name of Sir Ken Robinson is fantastic and cuts to the heart of the point you are making about creativity.

    I hope you prevail in saving the imagination, and thus propensity for creativity innovation of America's youth.

    Those folks who are trying to get in the way of progress - let me tell you, I'm just getting started. I don't quit. I'm not tired; I'm just getting started.

    by Unenergy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:10:32 PM PDT

  •  Become a Facebook fan of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Broward Teachers Union

    Join Broward teachers as we take to the streets in protest of recent BAD legislation and the impact it is having on all our efforts to save the arts, music, physical education, guidance counseling and multimedia specials TOMORROW!!!

    WHEN: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 8

    WHERE: BTU in Tamarac at 6000 North University Drive

    If you only have a chainsaw, you tend to see every tree as a problem.

    by Sprinkles on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:16:29 PM PDT

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