‘A’ Is for Average

graduation day

Walter Brasch: Because of grade inflation, students avoid professors who believe the grade of “C” is the average grade and who set up standards that require students to do more than show up, read a couple of hundred pages, and answer a few questions.

Other People’s Children

Black child 400

Mark Naison: School reform, as it is being implemented today, destabilizes poor communities and inflicts a regimen of test prep on the nation’s children which destroys their joy of learning but the policy makers are buffered from the consequences of the decisions they make for other people’s children.

Mad Science or School-to-Prison? Criminalizing Black Girls

Kiera-Wilmot-590

Sikivu Hutchinson: In many American classrooms, black children are treated like ticking time bomb savages, shoved into special education classes, disproportionately suspended and expelled then warehoused in opportunity schools, juvenile jails and adult prisons.

Why Create a Teacher Oral History Project?

united opt out

Mark Naison: Our goal is to have teachers around the country to describe how they have experienced No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, and the policies stemming from them, in their professional lives.

Prison House of Textbook History: Remembering the Chicano Blowouts

chicano blowout

Sikivu Hutchinson: In the march of great Western liberal democratic traditions there were no textbook portrayals of the homegrown activism in our own communities or link between the apartheid legacy of the past and its echoes in the present.

Has the War on Teachers Morphed Into a War on Children?

opt out of school testing

Mark Naison: As I have become involved with an Opt Out movement in New York State that has inspired thousands of families to demand that their children be allowed to sit out state tests, I have become even more appalled by what current school policies are doing to children.

Kentucky Students: Ditch Mitch as Graduation Speaker

mitch mcconnell

Berry Craig: Mitch McConnell headlining Murray State’s graduation might be less egregious if he hadn’t made his entire political career flipping students the bird.

From School to Prison

School-to-Prison-Pipeline

Anthony Samad: This new public discourse around the “school to prison pipeline” is not new at all. It was a predictable outcome of social control planning where the prison industrial complex started forecasting how many prison beds would be needed based on fourth grade test scores two decades ago.

A Teacher’s Message to President Obama: Teachers Not the Problem, Poverty Is

obama with school kids

Mark Naison: “For anyone who says teachers are to blame for our students failing, I have one thing to say: How DARE you? Teachers are heroes to a lot of children who have none!”

Save Our Schools From Creationism

creationism

Tina Dupuy: I was raised as a creationist. I’d come home from school with a brain full of evolution and an enthusiasm for T-Rex and my mother saw it as her mission to put an end to it.

Getting College Wrong: Pedagogy of the Depressed

online courses

Joseph Palermo: It’s as if the baby boomers, having gotten their own quality schooling for a fraction of the price students pay today, are kicking the ladder out from under their children and grandchildren and substituting it with a shoddy, privatized product to which they, in their youth, never would have succumbed.

Why School Test Resistance May Be About to Sweep the Nation

morna mcdermott

Mark Naison: As high-stakes tests have proliferated in our public schools, and are increasingly used as the basis of closing schools and firing teachers, more and more people despair of challenging policies that have bi-partisan support, are championed by the media, have the nation’s economic elite pressing for their implementation.

Pricing Working Class Kids Out of Higher Ed

latino students

Rudy Acuña: This rise in the cost of higher ed will have a disastrous impact on the lower half (income wise) of the Mexican American and Latino community. This is where the dropout numbers are concentrated. Over time, this trend will destroy all hope that si se puede, it can be done.

Public Schools, Private Agendas: Parent Revolution

parent revolution

Gary Cohn: At first glance, it is one of the nation’s hottest new education-reform movements. But a closer examination reveals that the “parent-trigger” movement is being heavily financed by the conservative Walton Family Foundation,

The Crumbling of Corporate School “Reform”

chicago teachers

Randy Shaw: As corporate interests spend billions attacking teachers unions, the real obstacles to a quality public education—poverty, overcrowded classes, and physically rundown schools—are ignored.

A Curious New York Times Article on Teacher Evaluations

teacher student

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: What is really curious is why The New York Times author was so quick to uncritically adopt the corporate perspective and jump on the bandwagon of attacking the teachers. Perhaps she was one of the few students who failed her critical thinking course.

School Daze: The Attack on Public Education Continues

chicago school closings

Vivian Rothstein: In the name of quality education, the business model reformers are working to contract out many of our public schools to private for-profit and non-profit charter schools which are largely excluded from the public decision-making processes.

Saving Schools: Research Backs Ward-Based Idea

school recess

Steve Hochstadt: The message from the proponents of at-large voting, at all the forums I have attended, is that the School Board has failed, but let’s do nothing. Let’s not change the voting system. And let’s not talk about anything else.

Why Tenure Matters

architecture professor

Mark Naison: Workers who approach their jobs with real autonomy and creativity are a threat to a system that thrives on intimidation and micromanagement as ways of extracting “productivity.” And in which productivity gains almost exclusively accrue to those at the top.

Westside Parents, Teachers Facing ‘Deasy’s Revenge’

john deasy

Sara Roos: “Deasy’s Revenge” is a maneuver of breathtaking vindictiveness. It disenfranchises the very spirit of the compromise language dictated by his own employers and our representatives, the LAUSD school board.

Housed Educators: Why Is LAUSD Scapegoating Teachers?

housed

David Lyell: Propelled by private foundation money, District leadership and several School Board members have lobbied state and national legislators to gut seniority laws and have been trying to overwhelm UTLA with cases to defend.

The School Reform Credo

school reformers

Mark Naison: We must also unleash the genius of the business world into the system by subcontracting test development and evaluation to corporations with the resources to do these well and have all school employees wages and salaries targeted to performance the way virtually all business do.

Teacher Oral History Project to Document the Destructive Impact of School Reform

mark naison and students

Mark Naison: It is one thing to show, as a Met Life Survey has, that teacher satisfaction has plunged to the lowest level on record, dropping 25 percent since Barack Obama took office, it is another to describe in detail why this has taken place, and what the texture of teachers lives has been since policy makers have started evaluating schools and individual teachers on the basis of student test scores

Steve Zimmer Defeats the Billionaire Boys Club With a Cost-Effective Los Angeles School Board Campaign

steve zimmer

Peter Dreier: The Zimmer-Anderson school board race attracted national attention, including articles in the New York Times, because it was seen as a test of the effort by corporate power-brokers to run schools like businesses, a strategy that they and the media misleadingly call “school reform.”

School-to-Prison & White Post-Racial Privilege

jefferson high panel

Sikivu Hutchinson: Even as President Obama forges ahead with a more “liberal” second-term agenda, the administration’s robber baron race-to-the-bottom corporate education policy and its indifference to the scourge of mass incarceration underscore the lie of the American dream.

Who Are the Billionaires Trying to Defeat Steve Zimmer?

steve zimmer

Peter Dreier: The outcome of Tuesday’s LA School Board District 4 election has national implications in terms of the billionaires’ battle to reconstruct public education in the corporate mold.

America’s Culture Is Signing on the Dotted Line

signing an athlete

Walter Brasch: When you’re looking at a four-column picture of a smiling athlete at a signing ceremony, ask yourself why do we wring our hands, furrow our brows, and complain about low educational scores.

Why School Boards Love Temporary Teachers

young teacher

Mark Naison: Why any school district would want to bring in teachers who have been trained for five weeks and have no classroom experience to replace teachers with years of training, experience, and mentoring would seem to defy common sense unless one considers the budgetary considerations at stake.

The Making of an “Educational Saboteur”

obama school kids

Mark Naison: In the last five years, I have had to switch gears and devote large amounts of time to protecting my profession and the institutions I have built, against powerful forces seeking to reduce teaching and learning to quantifiable “outcomes.”

How Trying to Get Rid of Bad Teachers Has Demoralized Our Best

teacher and student

Mark Naison: When presidents, or governors, or mayors create educational policy or school reform commissions, they make sure that business leaders and foundation heads have the determining voice, with lifetime educators, especially teachers, often entirely excluded.

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