This is the right wing agenda, not only in Wisconsin, not only in Louisiana, not only in Kansas, but in EVERY state where the right either has power or is attempting to get power.
That includes Minnesota, where the right has opposed funding for education under a variety of guises. That includes Congressman John Kline, who has taken lots of money from big oil and other fossil fuel corporations, and done a grave disservice to voters and to students. Look for similar moves by other Republicans. This is the epitome of the corruption of government, and of government for the corporations, not for WE THE PEOPLE.
From US uncut.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has slashed funding to public colleges by $600 million since 2008–more than any other state. Over the same period, Jindal has handed corporations $11 billion in tax cuts–also more than any other state. Louisiana now faces a record budget deficit which Governor Jindal proposes to solve by cutting an additional $300 million from state colleges. After he awarded oil giant ExxonMobil with $263 million in subsidies.
This is about shredding the education deformers, with facts. It’s not about taking shots at charter school students and teachers. They’re not the problem; the context is.
Students in most Minnesota charter schools are failing to hit learning targets and are not achieving adequate academic growth, according to a Star Tribune analysis of school performance data.
The analysis of 128 of the state’s 157 charter schools show that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.
Between 2011 and 2014, 20 charter schools failed every year to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.
A top official with the Minnesota Department of Education says she is troubled by the data, which runs counter to “the public narrative” that charter schools are generally superior to public schools.
Like many in the anti-corporatization movement, I believe that charters, or something like them, do potentially have a place: dealing with the really challenging students via specialized approaches. But they need to be relatively few; legitimately, entirely non-profit; and very closely regulated. That is, corporate-free. And the corporations that have been profiting from attacks on public education need to be held fully accountable, financially and legally. Briefly, they need to be crushed. After they’ve paid up, to the last thin dime.
Re: exposing the deformers, this is a good place to add:
With an extensive and carefully detailed examination of the British publishing giant Pearson, published by Politico last week, Stephanie Simon has drawn a similar conclusion about the state of American education: “The story of Pearson’s rise,” Simon writes, “is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades.” In short, our obsession with “accountability” at all costs has given birth to an industry that, while feeding on taxpayer dollars, corrupts the very thing it (erroneously) seeks to measure: learning. As with Wilde’s poor, here, too, it is self-evident: our remedies have become part of our disease…
Simon’s disturbing expose of corporate gain on the backs of taxpayer dollars is a most welcome addition to the efforts currently being made to beat back the corporatization of education, many of them led by educational researchers and teachers. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with the current state of education. But its appearance also raises a critical question: Why has it taken so long for the media to take note? Scholars and teachers have been warning of this for years.
First of all, I need to make it clear that nothing that I blog about education is ever meant as taking shots at charter school teachers, staff, and, especially, students. My targets are those who are trying to use charters as one of their weapons to help undermine public schools and fully corporatize American education.
House Republicans’ second bill was all about education policy, including provisions that would alter teacher retention policies to focus on merit instead of seniority, and new licensure standards that could open the door to out-of-state teachers. A major point of contention with the state’s teachers union, Education Minnesota, will be a proposal to allow the state’s new teacher evaluation system, launched last fall, to be used as a criteria when cutting back on staff.
I’ll translate. What the Republican bill is really “all about” is attacking public school teachers, especially their union rights. Which is wrongheaded and frankly despicable. (More here.)
MPR Poligraph, which is far from left-wing, said that House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s (R-Crown) claim about education spending “leans toward misleading.” That’s putting it about as gently as possible.
This is what’s being introduced in Wisconsin’s legislature. Once again, we can thank our lucky stars, but, given that Minnesota reelected Tim Pawlenty, and that was damned dumb, we don’t get to be too sanctimonious.
Norm Coleman, former U.S. Senator from Minnesota and now boss of the right-wing political spending outfit American Action Network (Minnesota Action Network is presumably a subsidiary, or something), is being more than just a nuisance. Minnesota got along quite nicely pretty much without Norm, for quite some time, and I think most agree that we would continue to do so. No such luck.
Norm Coleman. Education reform. Those terms don’t fit together, do they? But, as a former teacher, I’m offended to see Coleman’s Minnesota Action Network buying post-election TV ad air time to paint those protective, head-in-the-sand teachers unions as the bad guys who are keeping good, young teachers out of parents’ children’s classrooms through teacher tenure rules, which protect seniority through the LIFO (last in, first out) lay-off rules…
No one in his ad ever says that the senior teacher next door probably did just as exceptional work with his/her students, or that many of our jobs actually value the long-time, experienced staffer as having learned to do their work well and efficiently, and being able to provide guidance and mentorship to the new, young, inexperienced employee.
(Observations from Andover)
(If you haven’t, and you just gotta, you can view the ad here.)
(Minnesota-based) Globe University is, among other things, a member of the “John Kline For-Profit College Donor List Hall of Shame.” That would be Rep. John Kline (R-MN), who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee. (Can’t call it “Labor,” anymore; that would be downright pinko!)
(On December 15), a Minnesota appellate court panel upheld a jury’s verdict ordering Globe University to pay $395,000 in compensatory damages to Heidi Weber, a former academic department head for the university. Weber sued the school after she was terminated in retaliation for raising concerns about about deceptive practices by the school including providing prospective students with inaccurate information about transferability of credits and inflating job placement numbers.
From early November, just after the election:
The Republican resurgence on Capitol Hill makes for-profit education company stock a hot commodity, according to industry analysts who expect a GOP-controlled Congress to loosen oversight of both student lending firms and for-profit colleges.
Investment advisers from both Credit Suisse and BMO Capital Markets issued research notes this week connecting the Republican victories on Tuesday to an improved outlook for education companies. The analyses were based primarily on future legislative predictions. The Higher Education Act needs to be renewed, and BMO’s Jeffrey Silber argued that a Republican Senate will produce a bill that is much friendlier to the companies that run for-profit schools, according to Buzzfeed. Credit Suisse wrote in Barron’s that the “diminished regulatory risk characteristics of a Republican-controlled electorate” makes student lending company stocks likely to rise in value because “Republicans have historically fought detrimental legislation originating from Congressional Democrats.”
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I’ve written before about the challenges that Minnesota Republicans face, politically. I am pleased to report that they are being triumphantly met, via the MNGOP Solution Center. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this glorious endeavor, from time to time; for today, a few notes about GOP solutions on education, to the admittedly limited extent that my puny left-wing intellect can process such breakthroughs.
The big blue box on the linked page is deliberately vague. But all you have to do is scroll down a bit and look at the sources for “Other Resources” to know where they’re coming from: more charters – that is, corporatization – and attacking public school teachers.
2014 has been aptly named “The Year of the Charter School Scandal,” nationwide. And a study done in the Twin Cities shows that charter schools there are not as good as public ones. In fact, Minnesota would do well to, at the very least, impose a moratorium on new charters until such time as the many, many problems with them are resolved. Which, given the depth and breadth of those problems, is no time soon.
GOP talking points like “accountability” are (transparent) code for crushing teachers unions, and generally destroying respect and support for the teaching profession. That’s bad. Even some people on the left try to be polite and claim that there’s no “proof” that de-unionization badly hurts students, because correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation. In fact, by a process called “induction,” as well as the application of plain old common sense, one can absolutely state that ending teachers’ rights to unions causes worse schools (see point 3 in the linked article). Then again, worse schools don’t bother a lot of conservatives; they need undereducated kids to turn into misinformed, gullible adults, who are then much more likely to vote for (and in particularly unfortunate cases become) right-wing politicians. And conservatives in Minnesota, and everywhere, desperately need that, in the long term. It’s their only chance.
Comments below fold.
This is an excerpt from a very solid essay, mostly about Minneapolis schools.
Taking the wide view we see a virtual war being fought over public education nationwide, and right here in Minneapolis. The fight over education makes one wonder why is it that we cannot just hug our public schools in a loving embrace instead of embroiling them in a culture of permanent contentiousness and change. We repeat over and over again failed experiments on our most vulnerable children, all the while ignoring methods proven to enhance educational attainment.
Make no mistake about it: What we are doing to K-12 education is performing experiments that are proven to be failures, creating chaos, educational malpractice, and disillusion among our front-line public servants, our teachers. I challenge one advocate of the so-called education “reform” movement to show one peer-reviewed academic study where unregulated “school choice,” an overuse of high-stakes standardized testing, and segregation, for example, brought good results.
Education, like so much else, is best served by thoughtful, knowledgeable people working together toward common goals. That it should involve a surfeit of “competition” is a crude, ignorant viewpoint, and it’s deeply unfortunate that it’s shared among many who should know better.
Barb Sutter lit in HD 49B
HD49B GOP candidate Barb Sutter says at the top of her campaign lit “Barb Sutter is an independent voice for our community” (click the image to enlarge). I suppose “independent” sounds good in a swing district, if appealing to voters inclined to split tickets. It sounds like someone who isn’t beholden to a party or any big donors or special interests. Yep, sounds good. And sounds funny, given that before becoming the candidate, Sutter was, no kidding, the SD49 GOP chair. Independent enough to make up a new definition of independent I guess.
She mentioned being the chair before becoming the candidate in an interview a few months ago on Republican Roundtable, a local public access program. This wasn’t the only instance where she’d showed interesting understandings of things. In that same interview, she agreed that schools increase the number of students labeled “special needs” just to get more money. The interviewer was the one who said it, and she replied, “There’s truth to that”. Embedding is disabled on this video, so you’ll have to follow the link. Scroll ahead in the video to 14:30.
“There’s truth to that”. So you know this, do you? It’s fraud, so you’ve reported the schools doing this, right? No? Are you countenancing fraud, or just making up what you’re saying? Basically, the whole interview is some variation of:
INTERVIEWER: Government sucks and everyone is dishonest.