FOXES IN THE CHICKEN COOP: ARNE DUNCAN
DFER's website says the group was "founded in June of 2007 by a group of Democratic contributors and education reformers who were frustrated that the Democratic Party appeared to be unfairly resistant to positive change in schools.
Here is the "positive change" that Gates, Broad, and the impatient "disruptor" profiteers would like to see:
||| DFER supports Democratic candidates committed to progressive ideas like greater mayoral accountability [mayoral takeover] for schools; adjustments in teacher licensing requirements [make teacher preparation even weaker]; changes to teacher compensation to reward our best educators [bonus pay for test scores]; and a renewed focus on early childhood education (in particular, linking early childhood education with charter schools, which usually do not include Pre-K)|||
Now if the new education reform sounds just like the old education reform, you would be right, of course. More testing, more scripted teaching, more corporate control, erasure of teacher rights--just the kind of change you can believe in. Why else would Spellings be showing Arne around the office and offering glowing endorsements?. . .
Here is part of a piece from Catalyst on the "triumphs" in Chicago Schools by the next Secretary:
|||| The district's new schools initiative-Renaissance 2010-has garnered much national attention for
Catalyst also found that not all students are making the best choices. Nearly 23 percent of African Americans who opt out of their neighborhood high school go to schools that are not much better. . . .
The effort has caused tension on the labor front, as the bulk of new schools are run by charter or other education management outfits that do not hire union members. Add to that, displaced teachers have no seniority rights on the job hunt, due to state legislation dealing with
New on the scene is the district's turnaround strategy, a response to community uproar over students who were displaced by school closings. Turnarounds, as they are called, allow the children to stay put while the district cleans house among staff, firing teachers and principals wholesale. To date, there are eight such schools, two of them high schools.
Despite the early claims of success, this model is largely untested. Sherman, the first turnaround school is in its third year. Experts predict it will take three to five years to know whether this strategy produces solid academic gains.
Another hallmark of
Star schools and principals have been granted more flexibility and autonomy, and often financial freedom and bonus pay. Teachers in 40 pilot schools can earn bonuses based on how well they teach and their student do. . .
On the other hand, struggling schools have seen their decision-making powers greatly reduced. Probationary schools, for example, have little say over how they can spend poverty funding, an area otherwise controlled by elected local school councils. [Local school councils] at struggling schools have also lost the right to hire or fire principals-restrictions that have outraged some parent activists. . . . |||
Harold Henderson, Chicago Reader, June 15, 2007 - Mayor Daley's brave new
In 1995 NKO was served by
The three new schools are technically public schools. There's no tuition, no signs saying "only our sort need apply." But they're selective all right. The devil's in the details, and Pattillo has them. Applications to attend Ariel are due in January for the following September, but siblings and family members of current students get priority. The charter school's three-page application isn't due until March, but there are almost no spots available for grade schoolers who don't already have an in. Like all
Once a struggling parent's main job was to make sure the kids attended school. Now parents face the catch-22 of having to negotiate a maze that favors those who already have writing skills, verbal assertiveness, and knowledgeable friends. This is the Daley way -- the neoliberal, Clintonian way. "The model has changed," writes Pattillo, "from one in which cities 'deliver' public services like education, health care, and protection from crime, to one in which residents 'shop for' these goods in a service landscape that includes more nongovernmental, private subcontractors."
Pattillo quotes a woman who was born in the CHA's Ida B. Wells development in
Real school reform would offer a better education to all the kids attending NKO schools. But that takes longer and costs more than putting in a few schools that target the middle-class and leave other kids behind. It's not a question of villainy; the reformers are just following the path of least resistance. "The imperatives of gentrification," explains Pattillo, "demanded some good schools now, even if only for a few, rather than good schools later for all."
Greg Palast, Huffington Post - The anti-union establishment has a second stringer on the bench waiting in case [Joel] Klein is nixed: Arne Duncan. Duncan, another lawyer playing at education, was appointed by
It's no coincidence that the nation's worst school systems are run by non-experts like Klein and Duncan. . .
It's not just Klein's and Duncan's empty credentials which scare me: it's the ill philosophy behind the Bush-brand education theories they promote. "Teach-to-the-test" (which goes under such pre-packaged teaching brands as "Success for All") forces teachers to limit classroom time to pounding in rote low-end skills, easily measured on standardized tests. The transparent purpose is to create the future class of worker-drones. Add in some computer training and - voila! - millions trained on the cheap to function, not think. Analytical thinking skills, creative skills, questioning skills will be left to the privileged at the