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General News    H1'ed 4/5/14

The Two Opposite Approaches to School-Reform: One Works, The Other Fails; Why Does Obama Push the Failed Approach?

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A brilliant scientist and blogger, "Mike the Mad Biologist," headlined on April 4th, "Once Again: For Real Education Reform, You Can Just Visit Massachusetts," and he documented that due to Democrat-passed education-reforms that had preceded Mitt Romney (and some of which Gov. Romney unsuccessfully tried to reverse), the state of Massachusetts scores so well in international rankings on Reading, Math, and Science, that it ranks, across-the-board, after only Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Finland. It's #8 if it were a nation, even though it has a larger percentage of poor people, and more ethnic minorities, than any of those nations. The U.S. as a whole scores #36 on the Math, #28 on Science, and #24 on Reading; so, across-the-board we're about #29 -- near the bottom for industrialized nations.

Mike explains what those reforms of the educational system in Massachusetts consisted of. Privatization wasn't part of it. Teacher-bashing wasn't part of it. Attacks against teachers' unions weren't part of it. Charter schools and other forms of privatization of public schools had nothing to do with it. Those elements of the Bush-Obama program for K-12 education had nothing at all to do with it. Give Bush and Obama a "D" at best, as Presidents on education.

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/66301564@N00/3450910519/: Dunce

Just two days before Mike's piece, on April 2nd, came a report on the reason why this country is moving to privatize public education. The former conservative, Diane Ravitch, commented upon the K-12 approach that's widely pushed by America's aristocracy and especially by America's wealthiest family, Walmart's Waltons. Her "Diane Ravitch's Blog" bannered "Walton Family Foundation Puts $164 Million into Privatization Movement," and she wrote:

"The Walton Family Foundation released its list of grantees in the education world, and once again, the foundation put its huge resources into privatizing American public education. ...

"Read the list and see who favors the privatization of public schools. Aside from a few dollars tossed to the Bentonville, Arkansas, public schools, it is a rogues' gallery of privatization and teacher-bashing. ...

"The Walton Family Foundation helped to underwrite the attack ads against New York City's progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio, because he dared to turn down three charter school proposals. Two of the three schools did not exist, so no child was evicted. The third rejection was meant to stop the expansion of Eva Moskowitz's charter school inside PS 149 in Harlem, which required the eviction of severely disabled students to make room for her desired new middle school. Apparently the theory of the billionaires is that students with high test scores deserve public space more than profoundly disabled students, who have lesser rights.

"As a result of pressure by the billionaires, the legislature passed a budget that gutted mayoral control by saying that the mayor was not allowed to reject any charter approved by Bloomberg's school board. ...

"This was a shameful law, purchased by people of vast wealth."

Mayoral control of schools had been instituted under Republican Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, and increased under Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but failed to improve K-12 education in NYC. Now that a Democrat was in office, Mayoral control was ended by the aristocracy.

The biggest 5 recipients of this new $164M round of Walton largesse were:

California Charter Schools Assn.: $5M

Charter Fund: $14.5M

Children's Scholarship Fund: $8.6M. (They provide "Gifts to send thousands of US public school students to private school.")

KIPP Fdtn.: $8.8M. (They're a chain of charter schools.)

Teach For America: $15M. (They recruit recent college-graduates to help bust teachers' unions in low-income areas.)

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)
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