Professor Joe Nashville’s Witty Response to a Letter from Pearson Publishing

TN Professor Joe Nashville, who previously published a satirical review of the former Commissioner of Tn Ed ( Kevin “Michelle Rhee” Huffman ) via Edushyster called  Tennessee’s Fool of Merit, is back with gaffs and laughs to expose the faux rhetoric of Pearson Publishing. Recently, Professor Nashville received this missive from a Pearson Publishing Sales Rep. In a fit of pique and witty inspiration, he revised the letter to reflect the true message hidden in the, er, rhetorical spin that is Pearson Publishing’s calling card. Read and Enjoy!

Click on the links to make them larger, then use your handy dandy magnifying glass to zoom in.

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Joe Nashville is a teacher and “edu-oke” artist. You can follow him at twitter (https://twitter.com/Joe_Nashville) or read his fine lyrics at http://joenashville.jimdo.com

Blogger’s Disclaimer: I am a Literature teacher, not a journalist. What you get is what you get. Want better blogging, read a real journalist.

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Becoming Prisoners in This Education War

“Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.”

Two nights ago, at an Orlando middle school’s “FSA parents’night,” I was accompanying Spanish-speaking parents. A teacher, the principal and even a counselor did a great job explaning “the beauty of FSA” and the computer test coming up next week.

The three professionals in front of us were being exceptionally good soldiers doing a good job making sure neither those they are serving (the students) and themselves (and their families) do not get killed in this education war.

Knowing the harm that these tests, and the FSA EOC do to students, teachers, principals, everybody at a school, and even the school itself, I couldn’t help to feel for all of them, but specifically last night for the teachers and the principal.

I asked several questions to which they answered knowing (I read their body language) none of them are good for students, teachers/princpal, and the school, but like good soldiers, they were following instructions to the “t.” They were, like any other human in their situation would have done, defending their post. And defend it they did with care and professionalism and for a particular care for the children they knew were not really being served by the abusive accountability system.

When they presented the “State mandated, locally developed EOC” tests as not of the high-stake test kind, I raised my hand once again. “They are high-stake tests because the purpose of the EOC are specifically to evaluate teachers (as per a PPT slide confirmed),” I said. Their eyes told me the whole story. But they could do nothing about it. Their lives, their families’, their bread and butter are in stake here too as much as our children’s future is.

They are soldiers alright. But like the children–and parents– they are also prisoners of war following instructions they would rather not do. Their stoicism showed exactly that: “endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”

HispanEduca’s work is directly with Spanish-speaking parents. Our focus has always been these parents who have been forgotten by many.

However, that night I realized that if we do not join the prison students and teachers are thanks to the accountability system of which Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame, we all are going to end in God knows what kind of social prison.

Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.

11020405_10152754246547169_1249769738_n-2 Lourdes, and grandson, Ben, who is in Kindergarten in CA

Check out http://hispaneduca.org for more information on HispanEduca and the services they offer the Hispanic Community.

Bronx Principal Jamaal Bowman Debunks Common Charter School Myths

This article was originally posted as a FB reply, then as a personal note, then as a blog on With a Brooklyn Accent,

http://withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com/2015/02/bronx-principal-jamaal-bowman-debunks.html

then in LA Progressive http://www.laprogressive.com/charter-school-myths/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+laprogressive+%28The+LA+Progressive%29&utm_content=FaceBook

AND NOW FINALLY- the place it all started: The War Report FB group post:

Jamaal Bowman was responding to this question posted in the War Report on Public Education Group after the internet radio show on the School to Prison Pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWarReportOnPubEd/
Discussion Topic:

What do you think?

Charter schools are the best thing that has happened to public schools because they have forced public schools to “wake up” and for public school teachers to begin teaching better, due to the competition brought by Charters, than they have in previous years.

Please discuss – this was a topic raised in a group message after the School to Prison Pipeline show:

Podcast link for the Show from Sunday:
http://bbsradio.com/content/war-report-public-education-february-22-2015

By Jamaal Bowman

Good evening. Please allow me to indulge for a moment. First, good schools are good schools. I don’t care what we call them. The most important thing in a child’s life after a parent is a good teacher, coach, or mentor. When I say good schools, I don’t mean schools that simply have good test scores. I’m speaking of schools that get good scores, as well as develop the character and passions of their students toward self actualization.
Allow me to debunk a few charter school myths. I don’t know if this applies to all charter schools but definitely the ones I have some experience with. First let me say that studies show if a parent is savvy and passionate about education, regardless of race, class, or educational background, their child is more likely to graduate high school and college. Charters (at least the ones I have experience with), make sure that parents prove how serious they are before even giving their child a chance of getting in. For example, one charter that I know, mandates (not using this word lightly), that parents attend 5-6 meetings before even entertaining the possibility of the child making it to the lottery. These are obviously parents that value education in the home. If parents miss one meeting, no lottery. On the other hand, district schools have to take everyone. The savvy parent AND the struggling parent without meeting mandates. A parent can go through an entire school year without attending a meeting and the child is guaranteed a spot in a district school.
Further, in case you didn’t know, parents also sign contracts in many charters to ensure homework is done, meetings are attended, and certain behavioral execrations are met. If the parent or child breaks the contract, the child can be kicked out of school. I know. I’ve seen it done while “interning” at a charter school.
Lastly, charters can fire teachers and have extremely high turnover rates. From my conversations and observations of charter schools, I’ve heard many of the policies and procedures be called “inhumane.” This could be why so many teachers can’t last anymore than two or three years in many charters. Ironically, these charters serve as a perfect pipeline for TFA –mocking two year commitment.
Based on what I know, as they are currently constituted, charters, TFA, and yearly standardized testing are wrong for our high need communities. We should stop funding them all unless they agree to make major adjustments to how they do business. Why? Because that money can be spent on giving all students a quality holistic education. Charters, TFA, and yearly testing infuse anxiety, disunity, and even worst, standardization into the psyche of society. They are trying to recreate a 21st century idea of “empire.” Keep the masses, and “lower class” under control while the elite continue to rule. A standardized mindset will always be controlled. Whereas in schools like Riverdale Country School, there are not state standardized assessment, no TFA and no need for a charter, and they are taught to lead and change the world.
Consider KIPP’S first graduating class. Ranked fifth in NYC in mathematics in the 8th grade, but only 21% graduated college. Why? Because KIPP test prepped the kids to death and the kids never built their character or learned to manage their own freedom. KIPP and many charters standardize and try to control everything from how kids walk through the halls to how they ask to go to the bathroom. But teaching and learning is organic; it is human. When are we gonna ask ourselves why must poor communities of color be treated like this, whereas middle class and upper class parents would NEVER go for this treatment!
WE HAVE TO hold politicians and private citizens who invest in education accountable to the true needs of our at-risk communities. We must give our communities a true voice. If charters, TFA, and the state really cared about our children being their very best, show us, by investing in daycare, Montessori, music, sports, counselors and everything in between. Charters should take all children and TFA should change everything! If not, the powers that be will continue to fatten up the district school kids to be slaughtered and fed to their private school bosses as adults.
For the rest we have jail cells waiting for them. ‪#‎wemustunite‬

For Whom the Memphis Bell Tolls: Are Graduate Schools of Education Incubating Their Own Replacements?

By Wayne Jebian

It is a new educational experiment, an in-vivo implantation of a (purportedly) viable degree-granting institute into a mature host, an existing university-based graduate school of education. According to a post on the blog Schools Matter signed by the faculty of the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership at University of Memphis, the embryonic Master’s program will be run by New York-based Relay School of Education with the purpose of training and certifying teachers to work in urban charter schools.

The Relay School of Education has been operating under its current name in New York City since 2011, when it became the first independent graduate school of education to be newly credentialed in more than 80 years, according to company literature. Before that, it was called Teacher U, and operated out of the Hunter College Graduate School of Education. Teacher U was the creation of three major charter school companies in 2008: Uncommon Schools, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), and Achievement First. Currently, Relay’s leadership includes Wall Street operator Larry Robbins, and at least two trustees associated with the “venture philanthropy” organization Robin Hood Foundation, David Saltzman and Norman Atkins.

According to Nancy Bailey’s Education Website, the implanted program has a second parent, one which will share the task of teacher training: The New Teacher Project (TNTP), founded by Michelle Rhee. It has been described by the New York Times as a spinoff of Teach for America, of which Rhee is an alumna. Nancy Bailey lists organizations donating to or investing in the new school as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, J.P. Morgan and the New Schools Venture Fund, among others. Chalkbeat.org states: “To support U of M’s program, $24 million in donations have been raised through commitments from philanthropists, who wish to remain anonymous. “

There are indications that there is much more at stake than just one southern university being invaded and victimized by northern insurgents while money changes hands. According to Nancy Bailey, University of Arkansas already has a program like this, motivated by the Walmart/Walton Family’s pro-reform zeal. The newsletter speculates:

I would say most university schools of education should watch for TNTP and Relay to come knocking on their doors. But don’t rest on the idea that this new teacher package will be just for the poor. While these alternative teaching programs may start out that way, experimenting around with hungry children, if you eventually dissolve teacher preparation as we know it, TNTP and Relay will wind up being the teacher programs for the way all teachers are made.

I truly believe this is the ultimate goal for today’s education reformers.

If this sounds like the same peril that public schools face from charter schools and their privatizing backers, educators affiliated with higher education programs may just have more to fear. While the push to transform k-12 education has been arguably characterized by far more hype than substance, opinion leaders in higher education have been quietly gathering a consensus that graduate schools of education are ripe for re-invention. Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is as mainstream and influential in education policy analyst as they come, and his concerns are almost perfectly in sync with those of Nancy Bailey’s “be very afraid” alarm bells. He stated in the Hechinger Report in 2013:

“The point is this: University-based teacher-education programs are in trouble and could possibly lose their franchise. Can they be repaired, or must they be replaced?”

Do No Harm
Wayne Jebian is an independent education writer based in California’s Silicon Valley. His past reporting experience includes UNICEF’s BFHI News, the Crittenden Wall Street Mortgage Report and CTLatinoNews.com. His teaching experience includes University of Connecticut, University of Hartford and Capital Community College. He studied at Yale and Columbia as an undergraduate and holds Master’s degrees from Columbia and University of Connecticut. Wayne Jebian’s skeptical take on education comes from the following quote by J.D. Salinger:
“Strictly for the birds. They don’t do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. And I didn’t know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all. Maybe two guys. If that many. And they probably came to Pencey that way.”

Biopic