Showing posts with label Schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Schools. Show all posts

7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free

From the Washington Post this morning --

Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they've done the opposite.

The country's universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees. Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens -- and even of foreigners.

Explaining the change, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator in the northern city of Hamburg, said tuition fees "discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."
It is no wonder that we are something like 25 on the list of "Educated Countries" These countries take the education of their citizens seriously, almost sacredly. For us it is little more than a political bargaining chip, and a place where slush money can be taken from when needed. 
A 2009 study found that U.S. students ranked 25th among 34 countries in math and science, behind nations like China, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Finland. Figures like these have groups like StudentsFirst, headed by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, concerned and calling for reforms to "our education system [that] can't compete with the rest of the world." 
Just 6 percent of U.S. students performed at the advanced level on an international exam administered in 56 countries in 2006. That proportion is lower than those achieved by students in 30 other countries. American students' low performance and slow progress in math could also threaten the country's economic growth, experts have said. -- Huffington Post

Time Hits Hard -- Teachers Judging Cover?

The writers on EmpathyEducates have put out a plea for their readers to demand an apology from Time Magazine, based on the Cover. The cover has the blurb:
It's Nearly Impossible to Fire A Bad Teacher...
I'm guessing that is the offending comment, and what they are objecting to. I'm all in for Teachers, I really am. I spend many hours a week, unpaid, writing, researching and supporting them with all of my skills... however, I'm even more supportive of the kids. That is where my loyalty lies.

The page that requests our support to give Time a black eye for their "attack" on teachers, does nothing to support their request with anything other than emotional appeals. This saddens me.
And Time‘s cover doesn't even reflect its own reporting. The Time article itself looks at the wealthy sponsors of these efforts. And while it looks critically at tenure, it also questions the testing industry’s connections to Silicon Valley and the motives of these players. 
But rather than use the cover to put the spotlight on the people using their wealth to change education policy, Time‘s editors decided to sensationalize the topic...
Right now, there is an extremely high trust value given to teachers from the general population, and this trust value has a long history. What people don't trust are the politicians making the schools their battlefields.  People don't trust Billionaires poking around in education. Even when the billionaire in question has dedicated half of his value to the schools and education (and some other charities), asking nothing in return, not even his name mentioned (aka Bill Gates).

Some findings include:

  • 62% of those polled said they had never heard of the Common Core State Standards.
  • 36% of those polled said that standardized testing was hurting school performance; 41 percent said it had made no difference.
  • 88 percent of parents feel their child is safe when he/she is in school.
  • To promote school safety, 59% of respondents prefer adding mental health services compared with 33% who would opt for hiring more security guards.
These are interesting stats, but more interesting is where the mainstream media chose to focus with them:

Christian Science Monitor, likely the most neutral of group (still, after all of these years) talks about the teachers. Just about everyone else focuses on the Core or  test scores affecting teacher reviews which is the way the Core is being implemented right now by the Department of Education. In other words, eye catching things. Things that are going to sell papers.

Should we mention that for the most part, it is the teachers who are not getting the word out about Common Core, and what it is, what it means? No. We won't go there, but it sure would have helped things if that were done a little more enthusiastically.

This letter demanding an apology is more of a Whistleblower than the cover could ever be. This letter implies that the teachers are very sensitive, overly sensitive, and extremely defensive (which I don't believe is an accurate personification). The letter states clearly that nothing in the article is blasting teachers, and that most of the focus is on calling into question the intentions of these billionaires and bringing to the surface what their real motivations are for putting pressure on the school system.

In other words... what exactly are we asking TIME to apologize for? For selling issues? (as if this is the first time that a publication has gone for sensationalism to sell copy). Are we asking for apology for getting the word out that the Teachers now have some serious opponents and may be up against people that have far greater political and monetary resources than they do? That teachers may need some support from their community as these billionaires move in?

Personally, I think teachers should focus on the article and leave the cover alone. Because it sounds like you do have some serious players looking you over, and their intentions could do you and the school system some harm. Look at our current Congress, and how the influence of a few large bank accounts are affecting them.

In my view, what this really is, is a sensationalism ploy to get more teachers to read this EmpathyEducates website, and I'm not liking it very much. I see it as incitement, rather than support.

Besides, my teachers always taught me not to judge books by their covers.

Clueless in Arizona - Doug Ducey Aims to Kill Schools

Stop this man
before he speaks again

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey suffers from the malady of many wannabe rulers: magical thinking.

Inside his bubble, starving Arizona's schools will somehow help our children achieve at a higher level.

He wants voters to ignore this harsh fact: The Legislature cut $3 billion from our children's schools starting in 2007, a 24 percent reduction — one of the deepest in the nation when Arizona was already almost dead last in per pupil funding.

What did those cuts spawn? Arizona's teacher workforce shortage, super-sized classrooms, lack of state funding to buy basics like textbooks and school buildings falling into serious disrepair.
However, in Ducey's mind, educators have all the funding they need, and he must protect Arizonans from spending even one cent more on children's schools.

Can ESEA Stop? Will It Stop?

Since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) in 1965, few Americans likely paid more than scant attention to the federal government's increasing role in education decision making. K–12 education was a longstanding state and local responsibility, with more than 90 percent of the cost of public school funding being provided by the states and districts. The federal government reserved most of its authority to ensuring that its resources helped disadvantaged children and those with special needs. 

Over the years, federal policymakers and presidents increasingly discussed education as a national priority, yet their conversations did not necessarily translate into policies because of the limited federal government funding and role in education decision making.

In 2002, President George W. Bush reauthorized ESEA and renamed it the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Suddenly everyone had an interest in the government's expansive new role in education. NCLB required states to conduct annual testing in reading and math for students in grades 3–8 with the tests requiring alignment with state academic standards. Adequate yearly progress (AYP), the yardstick by which the law requires states to measure how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results of the state's mandated tests, became a household word, and sanctions are imposed each year for those schools unable to demonstrate year-over-year gains in student proficiency. States are now required to furnish annual report cards showing a range of information, including student-achievement data broken down by subgroup and information on the performance of school districts. Districts publish similar information on their schools. In addition, all teachers in core academic subjects working in a public school must be highly qualified in the subject matter they teach.

NCLB was originally touted as a bipartisan success and lauded for highlighting the achievement gap between white and minority and disadvantaged students and the need for high standards and accountability measures. But as increasing numbers of schools were labeled as "failing" despite making gains in achievement, many educators and policymakers, even those who originally supported the law, questioned the feasibility and fairness of its goals and time frames.

"NCLB turned teachers and administrators against the law," said Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the Center on Education Policy, a national, independent advocate for public education and more effective public schools. "So many schools are designated as not meeting AYP and there are not adequate resources. States are cutting back on education funding. Teachers are being laid off. Class sizes are increasing; extra aides are being let go. It's harder to educate kids with less money, larger classes, fewer teachers; yet the demands of NCLB go up every year."

End of Days Bats. Bill Wants his Money Back -- RANT

Hess is a mouth with a Koch in it
Obama has had it with your whining too. So, after you are fired, and unable to qualify for unemployment, think about that, alright? Come back when you can read.

COMMON CORE meets EDUCATION REFORM. I love this title.. Sounds fierce doesn't it? Sounds like it is Full of Facts; Hard and Authoritative. However,  it completely ignores the fact that Common Core IS the reform for the law known as ESEA or No Child Left Behnd, imposed by Executive Branch of Federal and State -- which does not, by the way, require your vote or acceptance. CCSS is therefore .. law, for all intents and purpose. (Well done Obama. The hell with those Congress assholes).

That's right. If Obama, Bill Gates, the NGA, CCSSO, David and his crew of Rhode scholars didn't act, starting back in 2009, then last Tuesday, when the ESEA/NCLB came due on it's 12 year mark -- since no school in the whole country passed their AYP -- the action of the law would have fired every teacher in every state, and closed the schools. No school passed. Every school -- Epic Fail 

Schools then go under private license. Either sold or contracted. If Koch moves as fast as they are able, they'll be sold. Within six months, every teachers union is shattered. Teachers with plastic smiles and empty heads come to babysit children and tell parents what they want to hear. Salaries plumate -- Teachers become nothing more than glorified babysitters. Since the schools are now private corporations, there is no State oversight and Federal can't move in. Federal Government does not act directly with the schools, so even though the Department of Education is in the Executive Branch, Obama can't help you -- It is against federal law for federal involvement in the local schools. 

Oh? You didn't know that? Yes, all of your paranoia about Obama's federal take over of Education, was for nothing, based on nothing, and impossible for it to occur.

The funny thing is, you think I'm joking. This is all well documented, and that narration above is in the No Child Left Behind law.--

Supreme Court's latest McCleary Order

State is Largest Source of Funds

Educators, the people who work directly with our students, know firsthand that the need to fully fund K-12 public schools is urgent and immediate. We can't afford to let the Legislature shortchange another generation of Washington students.

Instead of making more excuses and risking contempt of court charges, legislators should follow the Court's directive and fully fund Washington's K-12 public schools. Our students deserve nothing less.
-- WEA President Kim Mead

Other Points and Views

TCTA Legal Department -- Blaine Thoughts

Four years ago, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new standards, known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), for social studies textbooks in the state’s schools. The process ignited an international media storm. When it was done, even the explicitly conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave TEKS a D, on the grounds that it amounted to political and cultural indoctrination, a dash of mindless inclusivity, and brute memorization.  

Girl used as Rape Bait in Alabama School

The Department of Justice filed a brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stating the Northern District of Alabama District Court erred when tossing a case filed on behalf of a Sparkman Middle School student sexually assaulted in a school restroom.-- So it looks like this girl is going to at least get some of the therapy and help that she needs. The idea that anyone, for any reason would use a special needs girl, who was only 14 years-old as rape bait seriously boggles the mind. But for the school to have a 'need to catch him in the act' policy for sexual assault is even more baffling.

 This child of 14 has been injured in a way that has continued to hurt her -- she continues to suffer from depression, her grades continue to be affected. She is not getting the help that she needs -- likely due to the expense of the therapy she will require. Even after therapy and several years of healing it is very possible that she will continue to be acutely effected by this trauma. 

These injuries, were caused because she believed in the authority figures of her school. She trusted the officials of the state. Then, she was not only injured, she was dismissed -- dehumanized, made into a non-person -- by the officials of this state who claim they have no responsibility "on the grounds of immunity for state officials and employees" 

This is why there is a Department of Justice, and a Federal Department of Education. This is why there are oversights and watch dogs. Because at the state level, we still don't seem to get it. Apparently at the state level, we turn into bureaucratic, heartless monsters who commit atrocities without a care in the world... then go home have a beer and watch the late show.This is not the only state in the Union with these troubles. This kind of management and decision making, especially around our children, at their schools, is popping up in the news with alarming frequency. 

** Note: Even now, the school board, the administrators and everyone else in involved in this sordid mess continues to refuse to accept any responsibility for the injury of this child, and in fact continue ot dismiss her existence as a human being. They don't even accept the the responsibility that they were given by Putman,the last judge, claiming that they were all vindicated-- which they were not. Not by any wild stretch of the imagination could anyone with an ounce of honesty make that claim.

Where the Wild Things Are...

Chess is a Wild game I've only been playing for a short time, but I've gained enough understanding to realize that the angles of ...