Saturday, July 18, 2009

Responding to Obama Admin's Joanne Weiss' Threat to NY Tenure


Ed Notes addressed this issue recently:

Obama Admin Hits New Low on Ed Deform as it Seeks to Gut NY State Tenure

Here are some further responses by Susan Ohanian and Mark Torres based on this Gotham posting.

Obama official to New York: Change your tenure law or else

Gotham Schools, 2009-07-09

Comment by NYC teacher Mark Torres of People Power Coalition

Sisters and Brothers,

The article above makes it clear, despite all of the data indicating that state's are manipulating test scores and statewide exams, that president obama is behind the curve on this one. his insistence on making testing and charter schools (the privatization of public education), the center piece of his education policy will put us on a collision course with his administration. Making tenure decisions based on test scores will only constrain what we can teach in the classroom. There is pressure now to raise test scores and only teach to the test, imagine what it will be like when our tenure will depend on it. This is part of a consistent effort to destroy the rights of teachers and our unions. why destroy our ability to organize and defend our profession? Because it facilitates the ability of corporations, yes the same entities that pushed our economy over the edge, to install charter schools while taxpayers pick up the tab.

Charter schools represent the privatization of public education, not a movement to better education or provide for greater parental, student or teacher involvement. According to the research, charter schools are more expensive to run but produce mixed results. Some are great, some are mediocre and some don't improve learning at all. The research shows that charter schools produce these mixed results at a much higher cost.

To whom do these costs (profits) go? of course, to the private corporations who have invested in charter schools. instead of using public money to fund charter schools we should have used that money to continue replicating public school models that work. Let's look at what works in one school and copy those good administrative and teaching practices in order to replicate success. let's get parents, students, educators and the community to take a stake in education. Instead, Obama wants us to feed the lie and steal corporate mentality that is destroying this nation.

It is unfortunate that obama's historic election will not be known for supporting public education but instead for supporting the corporations that are heavily invested and reaping the benefits of the drive to create more and more charter schools. He should know better than to support the same corporate forces that were the "base" of the bush administration. It appears that the democrats and republicans have agreed that supporting corporate america is more important than supporting the united states of america. The few good apples in the democratic or republican parties should not keep us tied to those parties, we need a new political party that will look to promote the interests of the whole nation not just the interests of a very small group of bankers and corporate elites.

It appears that the meeting Obama had on wall street before his election, his unflinching support of the bank baillout, and his continued support of wars overseas show his willingness to support wall street corporations even when it jeopardizes our country as a whole.

We have a long struggle ahead to defend our public schools and improve the quality of education for our students. Only by understanding what is going on and what we need to do will allow us to be successful.

Thank you,

Mark A. Torres
Member of the People Power Coalition

"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."
Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

Commentary by Susan Ohanian:

Here is Joanne Weiss's official biography at New Schools Venture Fund. Read it and weep. Then get angry and resolve to fight back. When will we take to the streets? [Note to Susan: people in NYC are beginning to take to the streets.]

Susan Ohanian

Prior to joining New Schools Venture Fund, Joanne was CEO of Claria Corporation, an e-services recruiting firm that helped emerging-growth companies build their teams quickly and well.

Before her tenure at Claria, Joanne spent twenty years in the design, development, and marketing of technology-based products and services for education. She was Senior Vice President of Product Development at Pensare, an e-learning company that created business innovation programs for the Fortune 500 market. Prior to Pensare, Joanne was co-founder, interim CEO, and Vice President of Products and Technologies at Academic Systems, a company that helps hundreds of thousands of college students prepare for college-level work in mathematics and English.

In the early 1990s, Joanne was Executive Vice President of Business Operations at Wasatch Education Systems, where she led the product development, customer service, and operations organizations for this K-12 educational technology company. She began her career as Vice President of Education R&D at Wicat Systems, where she was responsible for the development of nearly 100 multimedia curriculum products for K-12 schools.

Joanne has a passion for education, and has spent much of her career pioneering innovativ e ways of using technology to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning processes. She holds a degree in biochemistry from Princeton University.

Reminder: Since its founding in 1998, NewSchools has raised over $125 million from grants and donations from private individuals, corporations, and philanthropic foundations. NewSchools’ major fundraising milestones have included:

May 2007: $5 million grant from The Broad Foundation to invest in public charter school management organizations and other entrepreneurial ventures working to increase the number and quality of public charter schools nationwide[20].

June 2006: $22 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop additional charter schools[21].

December 2002: $4.74 million grant from The Broad Foundation to support Aspire Public Schools in creating seven new charter schools by 2007.

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