Monday, April 15, 2013

Vulture Vos & the Educational Profiteers

Photo Obtained from Root River Siren Blog

This following piece was contributed by Susan Hickman.

Yes, Robin Vos wants to promote vouchers so that “for profit” and private schools can use our tax dollars and this video was his set up. 90% pure lies.   Yes, this is alarming but there is more.

Welcome to the latest advancement to education, the Common Core Standards. There were two major new models for school improvement that could have been considered for nation-wide school improvement. To understand, please take a moment to look at the 21st Century Skills model and you will see a beautiful educational model. It includes innovation, technology, the arts, global understanding, team work, history, and more. 

Now let’s look at the other model that was being considered. Please notice on the Common Core Standards home page,  only two topics are featured, Math and Language Arts. And the Language Arts that the Common Core focuses on is not fond of literature. It prefers technical reading and writing. The website does not state it, but by high school 70% of writing and reading should be "informational" or in other words technical manuals. Yes, it is more important than literature and it starts in the 3rd grade. So, students can learn to read technical writing and write their own manuals. Yes, these are important skills but students who love to read and write can do this with very little coaching. But first they must learn to love to read. Which would your child prefer to cut their reading teeth on, a how to manual or Charlotte’s Web? 

So, the country had to choose. Which one do you think won out? The elegant, team building, innovation, world culture, geography, civics, history, art, music, mathematics with technology, and literature one? Well, that is NOT the plan that won. The one that is sweeping our nation (yes, even private schools) is the Common Core. Why, did the country choose the Common Core over the 21st Century Skills? Because there is money in it. ACT and the testing industry will make a ton. 

It’s hard to write a national test for team work. A teacher would have to assess that. It’s hard to write a test for innovation. Again, a teacher would know that. You can see where I am going on this. For the Common Core, the ACT college prep business will hold the contract for the final set of assessments. Bingo! Sold to every school in the nation at about $100 a kid. So, the Common Core it is, along with the must have sale of the ACT testing series. They have them for the lower grades, too. Also for sale, “how to teach it” kits and classroom sets and a tutoring industry that teaches to the tests. 

What tests and classroom sets does the p21 model need? With the 21st Century Skills model, legos, the web, the garden, the farm, the grocery store and grandpa's attic would have been the classroom sets. Teacher assessments of their students would be hand written and vary to the individual classroom’s needs. Nothing to sell, no profit for those who want to continue to profit off of ANYTHING and everything. 

We will be a country that gave up on one of our most distinguishing characteristics, creativity. Kids, get ready for your cubical. Teachers, we don’t really need you either. Your job no longer exists.


Jack Lohman said...

I am torn. I am terribly surprised that it took so long for the for-profit interests to penetrate our school system, but they found a model that "could" work. It took, unfortunately, some politicians that get a piece of the action.

It also took some union actions (and lack thereof) to help lay the groundwork; like protecting leaker-teachers from being fired. Not a good deal, and certainly a help to the perpetrators.

Indeed it is time for change, but for reasons of technology growth rather than politicians receiving payola.

Sean Cranley said...

I'm surprised Jack. You think shoving narrow rote math and English training and incessant testing down the throats of of our students instead of broad education "could work"? They will be bored to death and disengage in droves from their schooling altogether!

Susan has been an educator for many years and I trust that she knows what of she speaks.

The belief that it is "indeed time for a change" is based on rote acceptance of the false Republicon mantra of "failing public schools".

There is no such thing as a "failing school". Schools do not attend class, complete assignment or take tests, that is what students do. So what is failing in some locations is students and their support systems, not the schools:

Most public school students, especially here in Wisconsin are doing quite well despite what the Republicon Profiteers would have us all believe. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but as we can see by the results obtained by the Vulture school in Milwaukee, simply throwing the baby out with the bath water and turning education and our tax dollars over to unaccountable predators who are focused on the money not the kids is a recipe for disaster.

Jack Lohman said...

Sean, I am never one to believe that anything is 100% (except perhaps for the effects of political payola). And that's the message I intend to send. Yes the unions deserve their share of the blame, but you wouldn't be fighting this fight if it were not for politicians getting a piece of the action.

I don't know math or English, because I didn't finish high school. But at 75 I went through a 25 year period of owning my own company with 70 employees in 4 states. What I learned is that money works, and here THAT (political money!!!) is your problem... money transferring hands to the politicians making the rules. It is NOT whether public schools are better than privatizing, because both can be made to work.

Sean Cranley said...

I have no problem with private schools, just don't ask me to pay for them with my taxes so that privateers can extract a profit from them and from me and my fellow citizens. A profit which will come at the expense of the teachers and staff salaries, benefits and standard of living and the quality for the kids. So the citizens won't save a penny in taxes and meanwhile that money which would have gone to sustain families in our communities will go to places like Arkansas (Waltons/Walmart) Michigan (DeVos'/Amway), Wall Street and the Cayman Islands.

Quite frankly, I'm confused about why you were torn, since the whole point of Sue's article was that money and political payola are being placed before quality education for our children and grandchildren by the horrible decision making on the state and national levels by people of ill-intent. If I'm not mistaken that's your bailiwick.

Jack Lohman said...

I do have a problem with private schools, Sean, as I think that ultimately (when they solidify into the political system) the investors and shareholders will put profits ahead of our kids. Just as they do today in private hospitals. My problem is that NOBODY fighting this issue is tying it to cash dollars, first to the private for-profit industry and then to the politicians who get a piece of the action. And I did not see strong note of it being made in Sue's article. See this piece...