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President New Age Authoritarian
After pandering to a failed school district and its failed parents for firing the teachers
, President Obama and his thuggish Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, want to "overhaul"
the No Child Left Behind abomination of the previous administration. What this means is more testing-testing-testing and more pointing the fingers at the educators instead of at the parents and the administrators, especially the parents, where the whole child as a learner actually starts and ends.
Heaven forbid our New Age Neocon President would tell the parents to get off their fat, lazy asses and do their jobs, and Lord knows his Chief Bully in charge of the Education Department isn't about to tell his comrades in the fancy suits running school districts into the ground to actually construct schools that foster learning and not rote compliance and penetrating fear.
No, it's better to terrorize the kids
with ridiculous, "zero-tolerance" (for being human) policies and terrorize teachers with mass firings for trying to do something with children of self-indulgent parents who expect everyone (including the government) and everything (including brain-sucking pharmaceuticals) but themselves to do the work of making their children ready to learn and capable every day of doing so.
Go for it, Mr. President. Maybe all the failed parents like Sarah and Todd Palin and the tens of millions of others who want someone to blame but themselves will vote for you in 2012.
I won't, but that's just because I'm one of those failures
of a teacher the system is purging, right?
I was listening to an extended interview with former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch on Democracy Now last week about this subject- she's worked under both Democrats and Republicans, and I liked her take on the failure of No Child Left Behind and the Charter school movement, as well as her advocacy of developing broad educational standards in science, history, and the arts. She had long been an advocate for free market educational solutions, but has recently backed away from this stance in her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.
I was particularly stuck by her lament on the lack of professionalism within education being promoted in some circles these days- the idea that you no longer need a degree in education to teach, just "real world" experience and a ten week teaching program; also, the tendency to create obscene workloads for teachers at the new privatized schools (70 hour plus workweeks), so they burn out quickly, to be replaced by other twenty-something year olds. The scenes she described were eerily reminiscent of a Newsweek article I had read about Michelle Rhee, chancellor of schools in Washington DC, and her infamous practices of sacking teachers and ignoring parents in order to "save" the public school system.
I caught part of your Dark Voices broadcast on the subject-What have you observed in your neck of the woods?
Good evening, LindiBee.
Believe me when I tell you that I unloaded some tales from the crypt regarding what's going on out here, and I plan to publish an article this coming week telling a few more.
The only way this freight train to Hell is going to get derailed is if enough horror stories about NCLB and the larger problem of the pervasive authoritarianism and commoditization of education start coming to light.
Note my article below, "The Canvas and Brushstrokes of Nightfall": the personal side of that article fully comports with your note about how professional teachers with years of experience are being replaced by trifling "education mechanics."
A backlash is building, I can tell you that much. I am seeing some rather dramatic, if as-yet-unnoticed, signs of it among an old guard of educators who still have some political clout and who are gathering momentum behind the scenes. I wouldn't have made such a comment a couple weeks ago, but I have seen a couple of dramatic indicators in recent days, and it looks to me as if the Arne Duncan School of Neocon Education Policy is in for an ugly fight.
Rest assured that I am going to be the Medieval contingent in that upcoming war.
...if, that is, it looks like something more than just another chance to achieve martyrdom for a lost cause.
I'm not all that much into the martyrdom thing. Not yet, anyway.
I still have some things to do before I head for a suitable firing squad.
Besides, from what I hear, what with all this political correctness, the executioners probably won't let me have a last cigarette before the guns blaze.
It's a health issue, from what I hear.
We're spending an inordinate amount of time concerned with NCLB but what about the adults we've already left behind? is it possible to become more illiterate as one gets older? (see teabaggers)
These people somehow didn't get the memo to learn the basics in high school and that was before the NCLB fantasy.
Who was responsible then? Most grew up during the infancy of video games so maybe that can be used as a partial excuse but the system was not much better then than now.
Do we try to help them (if they want help) or just cut bait and hope the kids today will learn a3rd grade education by graduation?
Indeed it is possible to become less literate as one ages...my spelling has reached new lows-I now NEED my spellchecker, and grammar is sometimes iffy. Lack of use, lack of practice. I mostly write for my on-line fans (ha), or short texts (where are you? Pick up bread on the way home), and none of the concerted writing one was assigned back in school. I ain't gettin' graded, so I ain't too concerned, as long as I can at least do better than the neanerthals I am debating on line. But I can see the degradation as I age. Even simple things like reading a manual for some new techie toy...Used to be I could read it once, skimming, and know everything. Now I actually have to read the thing. Of course the fact that said manual leaves out 50% of what you need to know doesn't help, but my comprehension takes a bit more work now than 30 years ago.
Fortunately, I was taught to think, taught to question, taught to appreciate learning experiences even if I'd never get graded on them by my own parent's example. I knew then that my parents were weird. I truly appreciate them for the way I was raised. Our sons either get complimented about their politeness, or complaints about "talking back"....The rule is, if I yell stop, you stop immediately, just about anything else you have permission to ask me why, unless you are doing it to be an ass. The rule is, we often choose where we eat democratically-kids got opinions too . Of course, since I'm the mom I can declare a dictatorship anytime I please and say no to Taco Bell.
But the vast majority never learned to make choices, form their own opinions from learned facts& opinions. No one showed them that trips to museums or historical sites were just as much fun as an afternoon on their Atari. I will bet that if an honest survey was done, most of these folks would claim to have not wanted to go on family outings or vacations as teens....I adored them, I couldn't see any sense to hanging out at the mall as "entertainment". But I digress. If MY literacy, of which I take great pride, has taken a hit as I reach qualifying age for AARP, just imagine how bad a hit these folks have taken who never had any reason to want it in the first place?
New generation, but we will have to break their texting fingers first.
...is it possible to become more illiterate as one gets older?
Not to get get all conspiracy on you all, but it would seem that an increasing amount of illiteracy is exactly what those who would rule would like to foster on everyone with an education.
You are supposed to know just enough to profit your corporate masters.
Knowing anymore makes you dangerous.
...and no longer fit to teach, at least in my case at some "colleges."
Interesting point. I don't think we become more illiterate, maybe more forgetful...what was I saying?
I think it's more laziness. Most of "these people" have become set in their inability to change channels. When you only get one line of "news" you don't become more illiterate, you become obsolete.
Fox viewers and others like CNN, networks and single newspaper readers that only get their info from one source should be equated to any totalitarian regime who only gets their news from the state run press. Enough of that and you begin to believe only what they say.
Just a thought.
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