PoliticsSocialized Education - Is there abetter way?

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To: greatplains_guy who wrote (858)2/25/2012 10:35:49 PM
From: joseffy
   of 1352
Schools "teach" homosexuality and groveling for muslims.

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To: joseffy who wrote (863)3/4/2012 12:01:57 PM
From: greatplains_guy
1 Recommendation   of 1352
Poor Measures? Choice Is the Answer
by Neal McCluskey
This article appeared on The New York Post on February 25, 2012.

A lot of teeth are gnashing right now over the release of performance evaluations for roughly 18,000 city public-school teachers. And there should be: While it's absolutely necessary to assess the people to whom we entrust our children, no single metric can capture nearly all that goes into education. But, then, this is what you get when you put government in charge.

The No. 1 tooth-gnasher is surely United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, who says, "The Department of Education should be ashamed of itself. It has combined bad tests, a flawed formula and incorrect data to mislead tens of thousands of parents about their children's teachers."

And Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott? He's warning that the information "is old data and ... just one piece of information."

But if everyone is so dissatisfied, why is the data being put out there? Yes, because a court said it must be, after a freedom-of-information battle waged by The Post and other media groups. But it goes deeper than that.

Because of the "public" in "public schools," what goes on with every teacher is of public concern. Moreover, the public pays the bills, so it owns the data. So, though it might make little sense to apply these results to decisions about any teacher, the public has every right to see them.

Unfortunately, performance assessments in government-run systems are doomed to be blunt instruments. Until recently, they were blunt in a way highly favorable to school employees: Basically, everyone was judged "satisfactory." Given the poor performance of many students in city schools, that was pretty hard to accept. But efforts to move away from that haven't been much sharper.

On a national basis, No Child Left Behind has been judging schools simply on how many kids are "proficient" in reading and mathematics. This largely ignores the hugely varying challenges faced by individual children and communities, and the progress they've made.

To escape that, the move has been toward "value-added assessment" in which schools, districts and teachers are judged on how much progress students under their tutelage make. The city's evaluations are such measures, with added efforts to account for such factors as poverty — an improvement over NCLB.

Yet the system is still much more sledgehammer than scalpel. It can't, for instance, account for the influence of non-math or reading teachers on math and reading scores.

It also suffers from two ills that lie at the heart of test-based accountability: 1) Far more than what can be easily tested goes into education — critical thinking, social skills, inculcation of values, etc. And 2) a test can be very limited even on the subject it's meant to measure — you could write a math test without long-division, or an English exam without Shakespeare.

So any top-down evaluation system will be a sledgehammer, and a government can have only one. Yet there is no single answer for how best to educate all children.

What's the solution? Educational freedom, in which parents control funding and educators are free to establish schools in which they teach as they see fit.

Rather than students being judged on a single test, schools would choose their own assessments. Rather than one curriculum for all, educators would control content themselves. Rather than one evaluation metric being forced on all teachers, schools would try different methods. And rather than being held accountable to bureaucracies, educators would be held accountable by having to attract and satisfy the parents and diverse children they're supposed to serve.

Unfortunately, here's where it becomes tough to sympathize with union officials. Though they rightly decry the failings of top-down evaluations, they even more vociferously fight any form of school choice. Apparently, it's more important to maintain their monopoly than go to the system that makes the most educational sense.

As long as they do that, they'll keep getting crummy evaluation systems — and the gnashing of teeth will continue.

Neal McCluskey is associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom and author of Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education.

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To: greatplains_guy who wrote (864)3/4/2012 8:10:58 PM
From: TimF
   of 1352
Milton & Rose Friedman's Legacy of School Reform

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To: TimF who wrote (865)3/6/2012 8:58:54 PM
From: greatplains_guy
   of 1352
Nobody can deny that Milton Friedman was a brilliant man. His legacy is helping to fight for school choice is a great gift to society. I did not know he had created that foundation. Thanks for linking the video.

People are better educated when they are served by educators who have competition don't you think?

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To: greatplains_guy who wrote (866)3/7/2012 1:25:03 AM
From: TimF
1 Recommendation   of 1352
People are better educated when they are served by educators who have competition don't you think?

Yes I agree. Its not that you can't have excellent educators without much competition, but your more likely to have them with competition. And the competition isn't just for the teachers its for the organizations and systems, even if the teachers were not any better, put them in a better organization and they would be more likely to succeed.

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From: TimF3/7/2012 3:35:29 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1352
Why Homeschooling Is a Boon to a Liberal Society
By Conor Friedersdorf

Feb 21 2012, 1:44 PM ET 119

Don't listen to the progressives who insist that enrolling your kids in public schools is a civic obligation

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From: TimF3/14/2012 2:13:47 PM
   of 1352
The Math of Khan

Message 28005330

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From: greatplains_guy3/15/2012 10:33:28 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1352
True Confessions in Wisconsin
Teachers' unions admit Gov. Walker's reforms are working.
By Matt Naugle
3.15.12 @ 6:07AM

When debate over public unions flared up in Wisconsin last year, educators claimed Gov. Scott Walker's austere reforms would require thousands of teachers to be laid off.

They were wrong.

With small changes in pension and healthcare contributions while allowing school districts to buy health insurance plans on the open market, Walker's reforms have resulted in what could be considered a statewide teacher-retention program. School districts such as Wauwatosa, hometown of Governor Walker and the Weekly Standard's Fox News star Stephen Hayes, faced a $6.5 million deficit and planned to lay off dozens of teachers. But Walker's reforms allowed all those teachers to remain employed.

At other large school districts such as LaCrosse, Racine, Wausau, and Beloit, if there were any layoffs at all, they were limited to two or fewer. And in addition to retaining teachers, the reforms have instituted merit-based pay systems that allow excellent teachers to be rewarded.

However, not all school districts adopted Walker's reforms so readily. Milwaukee's school district, which is immediately east of Wauwatosa, rammed through a union contact in December, just in time to avoid being subject to the reforms.

Now it appears the Milwaukee district is reconsidering its hasty action.

After the City of Milwaukee announced last week that Milwaukee Public Schools would have to contribute almost 10 million additional dollars to the city's pension plan (which covers non-teaching employees, such as engineers and educational assistants), the Milwaukee teachers union made the unusual move to write a joint letter with the non-union school board and administration, requesting an additional 30 days to negotiate compensation and benefits.

This request comes on the heels of a 90-day window between November and February to adjust teacher contracts. As the legislation signed by Walker, known as Act 10 and Act 65, makes it impossible to alter existing agreements without nullifying them, a decision to extend this window will have to be made very soon, as the Wisconsin legislature's general session completes its work today.

However, no matter how badly reforms are necessary, other union leaders are not happy with the Milwaukee teachers union for essentially admitting that Gov. Walker was right, especially before the recall election.

On Tuesday, teacher union leaders who are heavily involved in the recall fired off a letter to Milwaukee teacher union (MTEA) leaders Bob Peterson and Sid Hatch. It made their political concerns crystal clear:

Dear Brothers:

We write to express our grave concern that MTEA has asked their legislators to introduce and work to pass legislation which would enable MTEA and the Milwaukee Public Schools to enter into an agreement in which MTEA would make economic concessions such as those enacted by Governor Walker's WI Act 10.

The undersigned believe that such legislation would be detrimental to our members' best interests: i.e. our Districts would likely push for similar legislation, given the precedent established by MTEA. Further, we believe such legislation will have an adverse impact on all Wisconsin public employees. Such legislation will enable Governor Walker to claim victory of his policy to reign [sic] in public employee wages and benefits. Because he did not adequately fund education, we are all currently suffering. Allowing Governor Walker to make such a claim just before the recall election will prove detrimental to recalling him and, therefore, will only enhance his ability to further harm all Wisconsin public employees.

We ask that you immediately withdraw your request for this legislation.

The letter was signed by union representatives:

Peggy Coyne, Madison Teachers, Inc. President
John Matthews, MTI Executive Director
Mary B. Modder, Kenosha Education Association President
Joe Kiriski, KEA Executive Director
Toni Lardinois, Green Bay Education Association President
Keith Patt, GBEA Executive Director
Pete Knotek, Racine Education Association President
Jack Bernfeld, REA Executive Director

Asked for a reaction, Brian Fraley, communications director at the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based conservative organization that uncovered the letter, did not mince words: "This letter is physical proof of what many in Wisconsin have long speculated: That big labor is incredibly worried about citizens here finding out that the reforms are working."

Gov. Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwier added, "The latest letter from public sector union bosses shows clearly that Democrats and their allies put their politics before everything else, even their own members' jobs. The letter clearly shows how they will put politics before people."

Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski declined to comment to TAS on the story, noting he had limited information about the letter as of Wednesday afternoon.

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From: TimF3/18/2012 2:53:40 PM
2 Recommendations   of 1352
Thomas Sowell - The Path To Better Schools
(also Bill Buckley)

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From: Peter Dierks3/19/2012 9:36:50 AM
2 Recommendations   of 1352
Louisiana Teachers Cancel Class to Lobby Against Jindal Reforms
Lindsey Burke
March 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

The Weekly Standard is reporting that teachers in Louisiana plan to cancel class this week in order to protest Governor Bobby Jindal’s (R) education reform proposals, which will see committee action tomorrow.

The governor’s proposals include reforms to teacher tenure, a significant school choice expansion, and changes to teacher compensation in order to reward teachers based on performance, not seniority:

And so, in response to these reforms even being considered, “at least three school districts are canceling classes and telling children to stay home to allow school employees the chance to lobby the legislature,” according to Aaron Baer, the governor’s deputy communications director.

“The reality is that action is [education reform is] needed now,” Baer says in an email. “44 percent of Louisiana’s public schools received a grade or D or F last year. Louisiana’s 4th and 8th graders ranked among the bottom in English and Math when compared to other states. In 2010 there were 230,000 students in Louisiana below grade level—one third of all students in public school.”

When one-third of all students are below grade level, the last thing public school employees should be doing is using class time to lobby the state legislature to prevent much-needed reforms. But they are joining the education unions who are descending upon Baton Rouge and are in full force to maintain lifetime job security for teachers, a compensation system that fails to reflect teacher performance, and a lack of school choice options for children.

It’s a combination that has been failing Louisiana students for too long. Jindal is working to implement significant reforms that are in the best interests of children in the state—not the demands of the adults in the system—and for that, public school teachers are leaving the classroom this week to join hands with the unions.

Naturally, taxpayers will be footing the bill for the teachers’ lobbying, since the school districts are considering these “professional development” days.

The unions will certainly be shouting about injustices to teachers and public education as they swarm the committee rooms and the halls of the legislature. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s school children will be sitting at home, wondering what prompted these additional vacation days. Sure, they might miss a lesson or two on America’s founding or long division, but they will be able to ace their next test on the politics of Big Education.

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