Monday, March 2, 2009

How do you watch Arne Duncan...

....operate as the leader of the Chicago school system - read this post as an example - People need to know what is happening in Chicago--forecast for the US and write this:

Obama’s education budget strikes some themes beyond Ed. Sec. Duncan’s refrains so far of KIPP, TFA, and value-added data-tracking systems as the “proven strategies” to push. The new themes in the budget overview on education strike me as more promising - maybe more of Obama, less of Duncan? - and hint at reforms progressives have been calling for. Clay Burell


It looks like a bunch of interested parties are starting to judge the Obama administration based on its appointments and early policy direction. And that’s just fine. But when there’s Fordham’s Reform-a-meter, and Diane Ravitch proclaims Duncan’s USDOE to be Bush’s third term, I’ll chime in with Fred Klonsky: judge people for what they do, but remember the context. Sherman Dorn


Isn't the appointment of Duncan the context? I mean, why choose Duncan and then go counter to his core beliefs? There seem to be a lot of pro-Obama ed people on their knees praying Duncan will not be Duncan. And who are these "interested" parties?

One NYC parent commented:
Obama's "key White Advisor is Bob Gordon, a former advisor to Klein, and, the author of the New York City Weighted Student Funding plan." Talk about the frying pan and the fire!

Exactly how much "context" do these people need?

3 comments:

  1. Re Weighted Student Funding plan: This plan has been a godsend, correcting the "rich get richer" scheme that was in place before.

    Under the old rules, high-poverty schools that are hard to staff had fewer dollars flowing to them than schools in cushier neighborhoods with more veteran teachers.

    Common sense (and research) tells us the reverse, that kids living in poverty need more experienced teachers and more resources, not less.

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  2. I taught in a high poverty school for 30 years and you really don't know what you're talking about when it comes to NYC.

    Teacher costs were funded by central and it cost the schools nothing to have senior teachers. In stable schools like mine, we had many experienced teachers who spent their careers there. In chaotic schools, people left if they could.

    Everyone in NYC knows the weighted school funding formula as a way to get experienced teachers is a crock because Klein charged schools for the cost of the teacher. All kinds of battles went on about this.

    The corrolary has been the attack on experienced teachers all over the city and the favoritism shown to brand new teachers.

    So you have this backwards.

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  3. I just left this comment on Burell's Change.gov post, but I'll put it here as well:

    --------------------------------

    I don't see any "enlightenment" or hope in his new wording. Obama's position was and is to follow educorp right into the abyss.

    I commented at my.barackobama.com back in November on three of the same subjects you bring up here, which seem to have evolved somewhat but not in a way that much helps students or teachers. Here's what I wrote then on each of these topics, and it all still holds.

    Please note in the third one my point about human greed and scams. I wrote that even before the present financial debacle of the past 3 months was common knowledge. Maybe someone should start listening to teachers in the trenches.

    SUPPORT HIGH-QUALITY SCHOOLS AND CLOSE LOW-PERFORMING CHARTER SCOOLS: "Anything relating to increasing the funding for and the expansion of charter schools is more or less a swipe at public education. Why do we have to hand over tax dollars to corporations? It's not that they do the job any better. Cut class size first, improve the facilities, give the kids the services they need. It's not that it's a charter school that will educate them better. It's more a question of finding the political will to reduce the numbers of kids we teach each period and address the social issues in certain communities that keep kids from succeeding."

    PREPARE TEACHERS:
    "There isn't any performance assessment, voluntary or not, that can ensure that every new educator is ready to start teaching effectively. That's because assessments leave out the most volatile factor in the classroom: real children. Assessments will always be arbitrary. Experience and hard work make teachers effective. Why do you think an assessment at the very beginning of a new career is going to get you a good teacher?"

    REWARD TEACHERS:
    "Increase my pay when I teach more hours. I will not teach better, harder, more intelligently, or with greater adaptability if you pay me more money. Where do you get that idea from, the business world? Cash bonuses might get you better scores or graduation rates, but not necessarily better educated students. There are plenty of people who will take the money and fix the grades, or make the tests easier, or pass more people if they do a couple of hours Credit Recovery over the summer. Human greed has produced some pretty horrendous results in the past decade. You should have learned by now that more cash can only produce better scams. Bonuses for taking positions in inner cities might work, but only with longer hours. First lower class size, then give the kids all the support services they need. No one's trying much of those things in our biggest cities these days."

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