Tuesday, September 17, 2013

10 quotes from the new Diane Ravitch book that are backed up by facts

"  the Reformers are putting the nation's children on a train that is headed for a cliff"

This assertion, made it the very beginning of the book, is precisely what ravitch will be attacked for in publishing this. But those who attack will not tell you that this opinion, is shared by the overwhelming majority of education professionals throughout the country. This was not always the case. And reformers had control of their message true media such as newspapers cable and network TV and even the movies. Regular people, practitioners of Education, made up their minds for themselves and those minds share that opinion.

NCLB "  pave the way for federal appropriation and federal tax breaks for charter school construction"

This quote, from the first chapter, was made when discussing the Charter movement against the greater context of No Child Left Behind. There are not many people who doubt it. there may be people who doubt the way it is phrased, but those folks cannot expect everyone to enjoy their point of view and perspective after spending so long creating a polarized atmosphere. Can they?

" investors quickly figured out that there was money to be made in the purchase, leasing & rentals of space to charter schools, and an aggressive for profit charter sector... wherever it was permitted by state law; in states where for profit charters we're not allowed, non-profit charters hired for profit operators to run their schools."

This, again in the first chapter, discusses the rapid expansion of charter schools after the establishment of the race to the top competition.

" ...advocates for this cause seek...  to transform it into an entrepreneurial sector of the economy"

Again, folks from the reform camp may not like to hear it phrased that way. But Rupert Murdoch is on the record as saying that this is a sector of the economy that can yield very high profis. The Prince of the reform movement, Joel Klein, is in fact currently working in the private sector as the head of Amplify. Is there anyone who can get out of the validity of this quote? Seriously?

"  it pays to be on the reform team... When Chicago's teachers went on strike... The national media thought it shocking that the average Chicago teacher was paid $75,000 a a year ... Yet the media are indifferent when charter executives [make] salaries of $300,000 $400,000 $500,000... "

The body of evidence to back up what exactly charter leaders get paid is overwhelming. What may rub the reform people the wrong way, is that these two facts are set next to one another by the nation's leading education historian. Well, tough. If Bill De Blasios's victory in the Democratic primary in New York proved anything, It's that no one really pays attention to Old World Media anymore. And is it any wonder? The fourth state is currently in such a terrible condition as to complain about Miss Crabtree pulling down a decent wage while their own friends pull down very large salaries for running very small school networks. "It pays to be on the reform team." Remember that quote.

" 65 percent [of American students taking an international math test] scored at basic or above in 2000, and 82 percent we're at basic or above in 2011."

In the books fifth chapter, ravitch takes a closer look at those test scores that are always in the newspapers being reported as below average for American students. Using facts, data, and footnotes she concludes that the achievement of American students have been on a steady incline for at least the last 13 years (more, actually. But you'll have to read the book to find out). Reformers would rather people not think this. However, ravitch factually articulates that this is the case: there is no crisis to the extent the Reformers are describing.

" Richard Coley of the Educational Testing Service wrote an overview of the black and white achievement gap over the course of the 20th century and concluded that the period In which the gap narrowed most was the 1970s and 1980s, in response to such things as the segregation, class size reduction, early childhood education... For black families. From that time forward, the gap has wavered up and down without resuming the sharp narrowing of the earlier period."

Why is this passage from chapter 6 important? Because it shows that the black white gap which has been used by the ed reformers to help take over the entire educational political agenda. Their efforts  since the mid 1990s has not had an effect on the achievement gap nearly as well as addressing some of the societal issues that helped create that gap in the first place (you know, the way they did during the 70s and 80s). That is not something they would like you to hear. I guess facts can be pesky?

" ask yet, no entire district has been transformed by private management. We would no more if the reformer took over an entire low-performing district like Newark for Detroit, leaving no children out. But that has not happened."

Some might say that Cami Anderson, of Newark New Jersey, would qualify as a reformer who has taken over an entire district. The fact, however, is that this passage, appearing in chapter 10 of the book, is referring to the almost silver bullet that reformers refer to private management. They point to successes here and there in there privately managed charter schools. But they have not once yet attempted this project management approach for an entire district that service the all of the community's children. And Ravitch is correct.

"...  value-added assessment is bad science. It may even be junk science."

I love this quote! There are two reasons why I love it so. First, it comes after several pages of diane ravitch stop establishing this conclusion with fact. After reading the entire argument, it feels great to be able to listen to the thesis. Second, it uses the phrase " junk science". This phrase was made very popular by New York City's biggest edu-blogger, NYCEducator. It just feels good seeing the term that was made famous by a blogger being used in a book like this. It makes me think that important people read blogs! Just me.

"Careful review of research have concluded that TFA corps members get about the same test score results as other new and uncertified teachers"

She points this  gains in math, but the assertion is footnoted on page 137. Go check it yourself.

At this point I would like to refer you to the entire chapter about Michelle Rhee. If this book has more quotes Breaking Bad, this chapter is the "Ozimandias" episode. There are just too many cool quotes to pick one.

"  in the area of NCLB,  it was dangerous to enroll the students who have a hard time sitting still... They might pull down the schools test scores. Future orders what the students for whom charters were first invented"

Reformers might say this does not exist. The press may say it is somewhat controversial. Buy here, Ravitch calls a spade a spade:  charters select, both before and after student admission. From chapter 16, "The Contradiction of Charters".

"When k12 wanted to open a statewide online school on Virginia, it ... made generous campaign contributions of $55,000 to the Republican governor".

I read this and I ask myself 'hey self,  why would anyone need to pay a government to open a school!?!?'  and then I remember my favorite Haiku

"Oh! This is about making cash!
Not educating
Unless it makes some cash"

OK, I can't write Haiku. Big deal.

Anyway this quote will be overlooked. But to someone like me, its all the proof I need to know the people are out to make profit off of my life's work. This quote speak to me. It says "  Hey dummy! Wake up! Something pretty messed up is going on here."

" the federal government bet nearly five billion dollars at the Chicago strategy of closing schools and replacing them with new schools would work if applied to the entire nation... not many would consider Chicago and national model of school reform"

Of course, the five billion dollars she is referring to is the race to the top competitive grant. While the transformation model she is referring to was only one part of race to the top, it was the Obama administration who sold the grant as an all-or-nothing opportunity. People from the reform movement, who staunchly supported race to the top cannot have it both ways. They cannot enjoy the benefits of an all-or-nothing grant in 2009,  and then accuse an historian of over blowing facts when she moved from that premise in a history of the grant, the first ever written, in 2013. The assertion is based in rooted in fact period.

1 comment:

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