robertogreco + teachforamerica   30

Yong Zhao "What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education" - YouTube
"Proponents of standardized testing and privatization in education have sought to prove their effectiveness in improving education with an abundance of evidence. These efforts, however, can have dangerous side effects, causing long-lasting damage to children, teachers, and schools. Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, will argue that education interventions are like medical products: They can have serious, sometimes detrimental, side effects while also providing cures. Using standardized testing and privatization as examples, Zhao, author of the internationally bestselling Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, will talk about his new book on why and how pursuing a narrow set of short-term outcomes causes irreparable harm in education."
yongzhao  2018  schools  schooling  pisa  education  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  china  us  history  testscores  children  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  sideeffects  privatization  tims  math  reading  confidence  assessment  economics  depression  diversity  entrepreneurship  japan  creativity  korea  vietnam  homogenization  intolerance  prosperity  tolerance  filtering  sorting  humans  meritocracy  effort  inheritance  numeracy  literacy  achievementgap  kindergarten  nclb  rttt  policy  data  homogeneity  selectivity  charterschools  centralization  decentralization  local  control  inequity  curriculum  autonomy  learning  memorization  directinstruction  instruction  poverty  outcomes  tfa  teachforamerica  finland  singapore  miltonfriedman  vouchers  resilience  growthmindset  motivation  psychology  research  positivepsychology  caroldweck  intrinsicmotivation  choice  neoliberalism  high-stakestesting 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Christopher Emdin SXSWedu 2017 Keynote - YouTube
"Merging theory and practice, connecting contemporary issues to historical ones, and providing a deep analysis on the current state of education, Dr. Emdin ushers in a new way of looking at improving schools and schooling. Drawing from themes in his New York Times Bestselling book, and the latest album from rap group A Tribe Called Quest, Emdin offers insight into the structures of contemporary schools, and highlights major issues like the absence of diversity among teachers, the ways educators of color are silenced in schools, the absence of student voice in designing teaching and learning, and a way forward in addressing these issues."
christopheremdin  education  2017  sxswedu2017  schools  diversity  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  studentvoice  listening  socialjustice  service  atribecalledquest  dinka  culture  adjustment  maladjustment  ptsd  psychology  voice  transcontextualism  johndewey  doctorseuss  traditions  children  race  racism  trauma  trayvonmartin  violence  schooling  schooltoprisonpipeline  technology  edtech  pedagogy  disenfranchisement  technosolutionism  commoncore  soul  liberation  conversation  paulofreire  credentialism  stem  coding  economics  expectations  engagement  neweconomy  equity  justice  humility  quantification  oppression  whitesupremacy  cosmopolitanism  hiphoped  youthculture  hiphop  youth  teens  appropriation  monetization  servicelearning  purpose  context  decontextualization  tfa  courage  inequality  inequity  normalization  community  curriculum  canon  complexity  chaos  nuance  teachforamerica  transcontextualization 
march 2017 by robertogreco
TFA Cannot Downsize Itself Free of Alumni Concerns– Especially Diversity Displacement | deutsch29
"TFA is a teacher temp agency that then tries to place its former temps in strategic and powerful positions in order to advocate for test-score-driven ed reform. Of course many people will not approve, and that disapproval could be strongly expressed on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs."

"And the list continues to grow. What is important to note is that an emerging concern with TFA is that even though it maintains that its recruits are ethnically and racially diverse, those recruits are displacing teachers of color whose lives are grounded in communities in which those revolving-door, “diverse” TFA recruits are landing."

"TFA has a problem, and it is one that image polish, a gentle Bellwether report, and a “leaner, more agile central structure” cannot fix. A growing number of former TFAers are voicing their discontent with the damage TFA inflicts upon community-rooted education, discontent that will likely only increase over time.

Watch out, Goliath. You might not make it past this one."
tfa  education  2016  edreform  mercedesschneider  diversity  policy  teaching  teachforamerica 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Charter schools and “churn and burn”: How they’re trying to hold on to teachers by making them happier
"But as the charter school movement comes of age, school leaders are realizing that stability and consistency matter, and that good teachers aren’t widgets that can easily be replaced. As a result, schools are offering new perks designed to build sustainable staffs, like retirement plans, on-site childcare, and nutrition advice. They face an uphill battle, however, in countering the deeply ingrained perception that many charter jobs are high-velocity detours for young people on the way to something else. In part, they’re hoping to rebrand charter-school teaching as a viable long-term career option with the job security we associate with traditional public schools—at least up to a point.

While these changes can’t match the pensions, union protections, and tenure provisions teachers have at many traditional schools, they mark a significant shift for charters. Long-term teacher retention wasn’t a priority at Success Prep when the school opened in 2009, part of a radical reconstruction of the city’s long-troubled school system after Hurricane Katrina that involved opening dozens of new charter schools. The plan was to “constantly replace teachers with new teachers,” says Gangopadhyay, 35, while focusing on providing the staff with strong curricular professional development. Most of the founding teachers had just a couple years of experience in the classroom. (Although three had more than 10 years of experience teaching.) The average age was 29. First-year teachers at Success Prep make $44,295.

Because of the demanding nature of the job, departures were expected. Most teachers, Gangopadhyay then believed, had “a shelf life” at his school.

Throughout the charter sector, that’s largely been true. At the end of the 2008-2009 school year, almost a quarter of charter school teachers left their schools or the profession, compared to 15.5 percent in traditional public schools, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The transiency can be attributed to a few main causes: At urban charters like Success, which frequently serve mostly low-income, underprepared students of color, teachers are expected to work considerably longer hours than is typical—sometimes as much as 80 or 90 hours a week. Such charters, often referred to as “no excuses” schools, rely heavily on programs like Teach for America, which import young teachers for two-year commitments. And charter school teachers are far less likely to belong to unions, and have less job security as a result. While charter school leaders don’t necessarily plan on high turnover, it might be “a necessary byproduct” of an intense, results-driven approach, says Andy Rotherham, a co-founder of Bellwether Education, a nonprofit consulting organization that works with charter schools.

At Success Prep, teacher attrition has worsened over the years. In 2012 the school lost just three out of 24 teachers, but the following year, six more departed. As a result, all but one of the eighth-grade teachers were new last fall. The instability led to student misbehavior and classroom management problems early on in the school year according to John Gonzalez, a first-year eighth-grade math teacher. Students didn’t have relationships with most of their teachers, which made enforcing strict rules—already tough to sell to the young teens—even more difficult."
education  retention  teaching  teachers  employment  2015  successpreparatoryacademy  kipp  tfa  teachforamerica  stability  yesprep  charterschools 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Defies Measurement on Vimeo
"DEFIES MEASUREMENT strengthens the discussion about public education by exploring why it is so important to address the social and emotional needs of every student, and what happens when the wrong people make decisions for schools.

For information on how to screen this film for others and for resources to learn more and take action, visit

By downloading this film, you are agreeing to the 3 terms listed below:

1) I will only use portions of Defies Measurement or the whole film for educational purposes and I will NOT edit or change the film in any way. (Educational purposes = viewing a portion or complete version of the film for an individual, private or public event, free of charge or as a fundraiser)

2) I will post a photo or comment about the film and/or screening on the Defies Measurement Facebook page

3) I will spread the word about the film to others via social media and word of mouth. Follow us @defymeasurement #defiesmeasurement"

[See also: ]
testing  standardizedtesting  nclb  rttt  schools  education  middleschool  chipmanmiddleschool  lindadarling-hammond  alfiekohn  martinmalström  socialemotionallearning  poverty  iq  assessment  policy  howweteach  howelearn  learning  competition  politics  arneduncan  jebbush  measurement  quantification  inequality  finland  us  edreform  tcsnmy  community  experientiallearning  communitycircles  morningmeetings  documentary  film  terrielkin  engagement  meaningmaking  howwelearn  teaching  sylviakahn  regret  sellingout  georgewbush  susankovalik  lauriemclachlan-fry  joanduvall-flynn  government  howardgardner  economics  anthonycody  privatization  lobbying  gatesfoundation  marknaison  billgates  davidkirp  broadfoundation  charitableindustrialcomplex  commoncore  waltonfamily  teachforamerica  tfa  mercedesschneider  dianeravitch  davidberliner  publischools  anationatrisk  joelklein  condoleezzarice  tonywagner  business  markets  freemarket  neworleans  jasonfrance  naomiklein  shockdoctrine  karranharper-royal  julianvasquezheilig  sarahstickle  ronjohnson  alanskoskopf  soci 
april 2015 by robertogreco
As if teachers' jobs aren't hard enough, they're asked to fix poverty, too - YouTube
"Big ideas in public education, such as the Obama administration's Race to the Top and Teach For America, often say teachers could improve inequality. Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars, sat down with us to explain why this is magical thinking that's been around since the 1800s.

For more on public education reform, Goldstein also contributed a feature to Vox on how Teach For America is starting to seriously reform after 20 years of criticism. "

[via (embedded here): ]

[See also: ]
danagoldstein  teaching  teachers  poverty  edreform  tfa  2014  criticism  inequality  race  rttt  nclb  magicalthinking  teachforamerica 
december 2014 by robertogreco
This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America | The Nation
"In the interview, Chovnick referenced the extent to which Teach For America manufactured its public image, explaining, “Instead of engaging in real conversations with critics, and even supporters, about the weaknesses of Teach For America and where it falls short, Teach For America seemed to put a positive spin on everything. During my tenure on staff, we even got a national team, the communications team, whose job it was to get positive press out about Teach For America in our region and to help us quickly and swiftly address any negative stories, press or media.”

An internal media strategy memo, obtained by The Nation, confirms Chovnick’s concerns, detailing TFA’s intricate methodology for combating negative media attention, or what it calls “misinformation.” Given that TFA takes tens of millions of government dollars every year, such strategies are troubling. According to its last three years of available tax filings, Teach For America has spent nearly $3.5 million in advertising and promotion. As the strategy memo indicates, much of this promotion goes toward attacking journalists, including ones previously published in this magazine. The memo details the numerous steps TFA’s communications team took in order to counter Alexandra Hootnick’s recent piece for the The Nation, “Teachers Are Losing Their Jobs, but Teach For America Is Expanding. What’s Wrong With That?”"
teachforamerica  tfa  marketing  2014  via:audreywatters  education  policy  publicity  edreform  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism  power  control 
november 2014 by robertogreco
CURMUDGUCATION: An Open Letter to My Alma Mater Re: TFA
"So how the heck did you end up in bed with Teach for America?

I suspect that you may have been attracted by the social justice sales pitch. Teach for America has cycled through several versions of what its mission is supposed to be, but they have all been centered on some vision of social justice. And yet none of those visions have been rooted in reality.

Fix the teacher shortage? There isn't one, actually, and in places like Chicago, New Jersey and Cleveland, actual teachers are being shown the door to make room for TFA recruits. In New Orleans the district actually lost a lawsuit for summarily firing 7,500 teachers, many of whom were replaced with TFA bodies.

Improve high-poverty schools? One of the problems of high-poverty schools is a lack of stability. How exactly does it help to bring in people who have no intention of sticking around for more than a few years?

Teacher diversity recruitment? Studies of the teacher pool show that we do not have a diversity recruitment problem. Minority teachers are actually entering the field at higher rates than white teachers. The problem is that they are also leaving the field at a faster rate than white teachers. And remember those thousands of unjustly fired NOLA teachers? Three quarters of those were black.

There are additional problems with the TFA model. Most notable is the frontal assault on professionalism. Allegheny has been a pre-professional college for decades. Most of my fellow freshmen were pre-med, and the ones who weren't pre-med were pre-law. I can't imagine Allegheny ever supporting a program predicated on the notion that with five weeks of training, any undergrad would be good to go for providing legal or medical services out in the world. Allegheny's teacher program only allowed undergrads to become teachers with the understanding that they would be heavily supported, carefully supervised, and required to complete graduate-level studies of education within five years.

But TFA is founded on the notion that teaching isn't really so hard-- any smart person can basically walk into a classroom and do just fine. This is turn has dovetailed with the agenda of those who want to turn teaching jobs into high-turnover, short-term, easily replaced and therefor low-paying positions. Additionally, TFA buys into and sells the notion that the only measure of educational achievement is standardized test scores, as if raising those scores is the only important work that a teacher does.

Why would Allegheny support a program that claims that any reasonably bright college grad with no educational training beyond a five week summer session is ready to fly solo in a classroom?"
tfa  teachforamerica  2014  petergreene  training  education  policy 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders | Jacobin
"I teach at a second-tier state university in the Midwest that houses a large college of education, not exactly TFA’s prime recruiting territory. And yet, every year a TFA representative briefly stops by our campus to sell our students on TFA and encourage them to apply. Three of my best former students have, to my surprise, been chosen TFA corps members. Although I would never begrudge such hard-won personal victories for my students—well-meaning individuals who hail from decidedly non-privileged backgrounds—in the future I am determined to strongly encourage those students interested in becoming TFA corps members to read Paul Goodman’s  Compulsory Mis-Education (1964), in my opinion the single-best critique of the kind of education that the TFA insurgency seeks to perfect.

Goodman’s disdain for what the corporate-organized society did to young people was first made apparent in his 1959 bestseller, Growing Up Absurd, a response to the “curious” fact that two of the most analyzed phenomena of the 1950s—the “disgrace of the Organized System” and the problem of disaffected youth—were given mutually exclusive treatment. Goodman combined these two popular strands of social commentary—a critique of the bureaucratic society with an analysis of juvenile delinquency—and argued that the former caused the latter. In Compulsory Mis-Education, Goodman extended this general critique of the “organized society” to a more specific attack on its socialization method: compulsory schooling. Schooling as socialization, which he described as “‘vocational guidance’ to fit people wherever they are needed in the productive system,” troubled Goodman in means and ends. He both loathed the practice of adjusting children to society and despised the social regime in which children were being adjusted to—“our highly organized system of machine production and its corresponding social relations.” For Goodman, compulsory schooling thus prepared “kids to take some part in a democratic society that does not need them.”

Goodman was not against education in the strict sense of the word. For him, the question of education was always of kind. In Goodman’s world, which I imagine as a sort of utopia, those who seek to institutionalize the poor are the enemies of the good. And teachers—real teachers, those who commit their lives (not two years) to expanding their students’ imaginative universes—they are the heroes. I can hardly imagine a better inoculation against the hidden curriculum of liberal do-gooders."
institutions  institutionalization  2011  tfa  andrewhartman  paulgoodman  education  compusoryschooling  schooling  colonization  kipp  teachforamerica 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Charter School Profiteers | Jacobin
[part one here: ]

"My interactions with this “ordinary hero” were limited. The most memorable instance occurred during a school staff meeting last May.

Kilgore had been gone from the school for a year and a half, but his influence was still pronounced. When he left for Skillman, the board never appointed a new superintendent, instead promoting the chief academic officer to interim superintendent. This move left the school’s leadership in limbo and meant many on staff continued to view Kilgore as an authority. Nobody batted an eyelash when he occasionally called staff meetings, like this one in May.

Adding to the confusion of Kilgore’s consistent behind-the-scene machinations were rumors that he was still being paid by the school. And so at the meeting, feeling frustrated by all I was witnessing, I decided to ask. We locked eyes, more or less, and without a moment’s pause Kilgore flatly denied being on payroll during his leave of absence. “No, I’m not,” he said matter-of-factly before flashing the room his electric smile. He continued with the next line on the agenda.

Needing to return to my classroom for a meeting with a parent, I got up a few minutes later. As I made my way towards the back of the gym, Kilgore stopped me. “Lady in red!” he called out. I had been on staff for three years, and he did not know my name.

“For transparency,” he began, stressing the second word. “I just want to say I am not on payroll, but my consulting company is.”

The words “consulting company” hung in the air, but no further explanation was given. What the company did, or even what it was called, remained a mystery. That August I sent in a Freedom of Information Act to the school’s board and lawyer."

"In 2007, while he was running PEC, Kilgore founded Transitions Consultants, LLC (and its counterpart, Transitions Employment Services, LLC) with fraternity brother Jegede Idowu and businessman Kareim Cade. At the time Kilgore was PEC’s superintendent, Idowu was PEC’s chief financial officer, and Cade worked for Colonial Life, a supplemental insurance provider used by PEC.

With the founding of Transitions, Kilgore extended and broadened his entrepreneurial reach in the booming charter sector. From school leader to consultant, Kilgore positioned himself as the head of a for-profit EMO providing services to competing schools.

Peddling a five-phase plan that decreased in price as schools transitioned to self-management, Transitions landed contracts for the 2008-9 school year with George Washington Carver Academy (GWCA) and its neighborhood competitor, Northpointe Academy. Both schools had track records of low academic performance, and GWCA had recently been dropped by its authorizer, Central Michigan University. When Transitions came along, both schools were chartered by the bankrupt and swamped Highland Park School District — which was most likely attracted to the 3 percent per-pupil fee it was entitled to as authorizer. Desperate for transformation, the GWCA was drawn to Transitions’ seemingly attractive business model and ostensibly successful founders. It seemed too good to be true.

And it was. By the end of year one, the academy was still in terrible academic shape. As the management company prepared for its second year with the school, rumors circulated about financial challenges and an inability to pay teachers in a timely fashion.

After a disappointing meeting in August 2009 where Kilgore announced pay would be late by two weeks, the frustrated teachers attempted to form a union. Threatened or simply unwilling to countenance opposition, Transitions Consultants, LLC gave their sixty-day notice of contract termination that September. In board meeting minutes from that month they cite “teacher tension” as one of the reasons. The school year had just begun.

What should have been a clean break was anything but. In November, Transitions sued GWCA for over $230,000 in unpaid invoices. The for-profit EMO felt entitled to the monies not because of a contractual obligation, but because the school had not objected to the invoices in a reasonable amount of time.

Reviewing board meeting minutes from that time period, questions about unnecessary, exorbitant, and disorganized billing arise time and again.

For example, in August, a Transitions employee, Carlos Johnson, (who has also been contracted by PEC over the years) ran a marketing campaign for the school by handing out postcards and t-shirts at a booth in downtown Detroit. Transitions invoiced GWCA $30,000 for the weekend marketing stint. When asked about remaining funds at an October 12 board meeting, Johnson said he would get back to the school. There is no documentation of him following up.

At a budget meeting on October 20, it is revealed that GPS Educational Services (a company Transitions contracted for special education services that has also been contracted by PEC) invoiced the school for $200,000, even though the school budget allocated only $111,000 for their services.

At the same meeting, Carmella Hardin, an independent accountant who GWCA hired after Transitions gave notice, recommends the discontinuation of the electronic signature feature because while reviewing the books she noticed, “Checks were being cut without approval and duplicate invoices were being entered and paid.”

With GWCA and Transitions battling over money, the school’s day-to-day responsibilities of educating kids took a backseat. Board meeting minutes from the time period show a slew of angry parents, guardians, and educators vocalizing concern."
education  corruption  forprofit  detroit  oney  privatization  edreform  consultants  graft  2014  alliegross  tfa  neoliberalism  teachforamerica  charterschools 
july 2014 by robertogreco
“No Excuses” in New Orleans | Jacobin

[part 2 here: ]

"Extensive observational research one of us conducted (Sondel) in two of these “No Excuses” schools (an elementary KIPP school and a locally based middle school modeled after KIPP) provides evidence that assessment data is no longer the proxy for educational quality but has in fact become the purpose of schooling itself.

At both schools, as is the case in many “No Excuses” charters in New Orleans, the principals were white males, under the age of thirty, and TFA alumni. TFA corps members and alumni also constituted five of the six collective administrators and over 60 percent of the instructional staff.

With few exceptions, the curriculum was characterized by a narrow interpretation of state standards at the expense of all other material. Students rarely learned local history or current events. Instead, science and social studies were relegated to ancillary classes in the elementary school and reduced to the accumulation of vocabulary and lists of facts at the middle school. Teachers stopped introducing new material a month prior to state assessments in order to begin review.

This curriculum was delivered almost exclusively through direct instruction — what TFA corps members refer to as the “five step lesson plan,” and educator and philosopher Paulo Freire calls “banking education,” wherein students are treated as passive and empty receptacles into which information can be deposited. In nearly every lesson Sondel observed, teachers stood in front of students to introduce new content or an isolated skill, after which students were asked to parrot, practice, and then perform their newly acquired knowledge on worksheets and multiple-choice assessments. There were no student debates, projects, or science experiments.

In a literacy lesson, for example, a teacher started by reviewing the definitions of figurative language. The teacher then projected on the Smartboard sentence after sentence, poem after poem, and, finally, a short story while students raised their hands and waited to be called on to identify idioms, similes, and personification.

After this series of questions and answers, the students sat silently at their desks, read four short passages, and identified figurative language on multiple-choice questions. The students were not asked to read the poem, analyze the story, or discuss the purpose of metaphors. After the lesson, upon being asked if students practice this skill in their independent reading or writing activities, the teacher responded, “You know the problem with that is then they have a difficult time identifying metaphors on the test.”

Perhaps because there was little inherently interesting or relevant to students about the curriculum or the classroom activities, teachers often attempted to control rather than engage students in lessons.

There were, for example, specific expectations about where students should put their hands, which direction they should turn their heads, how they should stand, and how they should sit — practices referred to at one school as SLANT (Sit up, Listen, Ask and Answer Questions, Nod, and Track the Speaker) and at the other as SPARK (Sit up straight, Pay attention, Ask and answer questions, React to show I’m following along, Keep tracking the speaker). Students were kept silent, or what teachers called “level zero,” through most of the day.

Silence seemed to be especially important in the hallways. At the sound of each bell at the middle school, students were expected to line up at “level zero” with their faces forward and hands behind their backs and, when given permission, step into the hallway and onto strips of black duct tape. There they waited for the command of an administrator: “Duke, you can move to your next class! Tulane, you can walk when you show me that you are ready!”

Students then marched until they reached the STOP sign on the floor, where their teacher checked them for hallway position before giving them permission to continue around the corner. Throughout this process, students moved counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the hallway (even if they were going to a classroom one door to the left).

This system of control was administered through intricate systems of reward and punishment. Elementary students received and lost stars for each “behavioral infraction.” In one classroom, a teacher circulated the room with a timer in her hand while students read silently. Every three minutes, after the buzzer, she put a single goldfish on the desk of each student who had remained silent. In another classroom, a teacher silently glared at a student and then typed into his iPhone, which was connected through Class Dojo — an online behavior management system — to his Smartboard. Numbers would increase and decrease on little avatars representing each student.

At the middle school, stars matured into fake money that students could use to buy access to brass band and spoken word performances. When they were not compliant, or did not have enough money to attend the weekly celebration, they were sent to the “behavior intervention room,” where they were expected to copy a piece of text word for word on lined paper. One particular afternoon, the text in question was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Despite the reputation that people join TFA to pad their resumes, many get involved in an attempt to contribute to society. Some are even convinced they are a part of the Civil Rights Movement of their generation. Implementing the “No Excuses” approach is equated with social justice, under the assumption that it is the most effective way to improve students’ test scores — which will get them into college and out of poverty. One teacher explains: “Because these days with the economy the way it is, you need a college degree. So this is a movement of social justice and giving everyone that wants an opportunity access to education.”

Teachers unconvinced by this ideology tend to acquiesce to the “No Excuses” approach for fear of losing their jobs or negatively influencing their students’ futures. One social studies teacher who wishes he could develop his students into historically curious, community-oriented citizens told Sondel why he focuses on teaching standards and test prep instead of current events: “I would be afraid of seeing a whole lot of sixth graders end up back in sixth grade and I would, frankly, be equally afraid that I wouldn’t be the one teaching them next year.”

Yet this pedagogy is far from justice-based or reflective of the radical ambitions of the Civil Rights Movement. Instead, this type of schooling extinguishes young people’s passion for learning and potentially pushes out those who fail to or are unwilling to comply. At best, the “No Excuses” approach attempts to develop within students the compliant dispositions necessary to accept and work within the status quo."
neworleans  education  kipp  schools  2014  policy  edreform  control  socialjustice  democracy  politics  tfa  civilrights  economics  forprofit  via:audreywatters  commoncore  standards  measurement  testing  standardization  standardizedtesting  detroit  publicschool  crisis  exploitation  bethsondel  josephboselovic  teachforamerica  nola  charterschools 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Students For Education Reform? Not the Change We Need | Education on GOOD
"It all began in early August of this year. Stephanie Rivera, a student at Rutgers University and future teacher, published a gutsy, investigative piece uncovering the lunacy behind Students for Education Reform, an organization founded by two Princeton students, Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin. I highly suggest you read it yourself, but the commentary struck a profound chord with me for a number of reasons.

SFER has rolled out its corporate reform agenda onto over a hundred college campuses across the nation, which includes defending the takeover of public schools by charters and teacher evaluation systems that tie salaries to test scores. Don't believe me? Bellinger and Morin, marionettes of the likes of Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Kopp, and Eli Broad, are now forcing some chapters to sign onto agreements that they carry out the mission of SFER—this was, not surprisingly, uncovered by Rivera.

SFER's primary mission is to close the achievement gap, but as education historian Camika Royal writes (referring to those who generally use the term), the organization only "speaks of academic outcomes, not the conditions that led to those outcomes, nor does it acknowledge that the outcomes are a consequence of those conditions." Where do they address on their site the putrid effects of poverty on schooling? They don't."

"In terms of funding, Education Reform Now gave SFER and Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst—or as I like to call it StudentsLast—over $1.6 million in 2010. Remember, this is an organization whose PAC is DFER, a group bankrolled by Wall Street hedge-fund titans, moguls, and a number of billionaires. That's not to mention that SFER's board members include evangelists of KIPP and Teach for America. Many of these college students do not realize they are literally being bought out. Both Bellinger and Morin are in bed with these organizations."

"A question I'd like to ask is: What is in the water at Princeton University? Two epitomes of failure in educational change—first Teach for America and now Students for Education Reform. Please, make it stop.

Educators, administrators, parents, I beg for you to not think for a second that SFER represents the voice of students. It doesn't. It is instead a mob of baby sheep, educated in obedience and submission, kowtowing to the forces that seek to obliterate public education. As a student, it's shameful and degrading watching these delinquents bash the very people who educated them, call for evaluations that reduce children to numbers, and allow for corporations and billionaires to wither away our democracy. It's a national disgrace.

Longtime teacher Susan Ohanian put it beautifully, "Either you join the revolution or you stand against the needs of children and democracy." Wake the hell up, America."
2013  nikhilgoyal  studentsforeducationreform  edreform  stephanierivera  catahrinebellinger  alexismorin  princeton  joelklein  michellerhee  wendykopp  kipp  tfa  elibroad  sfer  danagoldsteinsusanohanian  privatization  povery  schools  education  policy  testing  standardizetesting  teachforamerica  charterschools 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Lean Production | Jacobin
"School managers promote teams as empowering for teachers; according to management, they give teachers a say in how their schools are run. In reality, these meetings highlight how little control teachers have over their time and workload at lean schools… In fact, the apparent purpose of teacher teams is to shift administrative workload onto teachers."

"The goal of lean education isn’t teaching or learning; it’s creating lean workplaces where teachers are stretched to their limits so that students can receive the minimum support necessary to produce satisfactory test scores. It is critical for teachers to see this clearly because lean production is indeed “continuous”: in other words, it’s insatiable. The harder teachers work to satisfy the demands of lean managers, the harder we will be pushed, until we break down. There is no end to this process."
leadership  administration  teamleadership  tfa  schoolsasbusiness  business  teamwork  criticalfriends  mikeparker  janeslaughter  michaelbloomberg  wendykopp  valueadded  assessment  charleyrichardson  2012  danieljones  jameswomack  tcsnmy  efficiency  production  schools  teaching  leanproduction  capitalism  publiceducation  taylorism  labor  teachforamerica  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
The Sad Secular Monks | First Things
"Today, many of the most high-status jobs for the well-educated make a virtue of intensity & commitment. Investment banking boasts 80-hour work weeks; Teach for America’s emotional crucible results in a high burnout rate…Have a Type A personality? These jobs are ready to push you to (or past) your limit…isn’t that what excellence is all about?

There’s a word for people who turn over their entire waking life to one cause, and willingly sacrifice the possibility of a family for the opportunity to serve: monks…Just like the driven 20-somethings of Rosin’s article, monks & nuns have made a commitment so total that it precludes marriage. But in the case of vowed religious, the form of their service is meant to be elevating, not just useful. I seldom hear people claim that spreadsheets are good for the soul. Even for people doing high intensity work for the public good…the form of their work may still be deadening.

Most careers aren’t vocations…we need space outside them to grow & love. …"
via:ayjay  vocations  outoforder  hannarosin  tfa  type-a  work  life  careers  teachforamerica  work-lifebalance  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Do We Really Want “the Best and the Brightest”? « Diane Ravitch's blog
"When David Halberstam used the phrase “Best and Brightest” for his book on the Vietnam War, he used it ironically to show how these so-called geniuses from the so-called elite colleges took the nation down the path of an insane policy that cost many lives.  Even when it became apparent the policy wasn’t working, they continued to double down on it, throwing more soldiers and more money into the conflict, rather than admitting they had been wrong about the whole thing to begin with."
dianeravitch  bestandbrightest  tfa  2012  davidhalberstam  steadfastedness  changemindset  stubborness  genius  via:tom.hoffman  education  policy  vietnamwar  leadership  learning  mindchanges  mindchanging  teachforamerica 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong
"Overall, the last 10 years have revealed that while Big Data can make our questions more sophisticated, it doesn't necessarily lead to Big Answers. The push to improve scores has left behind traditional assessments that, research indicates, work better to gauge performance…

Even the godfather of standardized testing, the cognitive psychologist Robert Glaser [26], warned in 1987 about the dangers of placing too much emphasis on test scores. He called them "fallible and partial indicators of academic achievement" and warned that standardized tests would find it "extremely difficult to assess" the key skills people should gain from a good education: "resilience and courage in the face of stress, a sense of craft in our work, a commitment to justice and caring in our social relationships, a dedication to advancing the public good.""

"A look at Maria's schoolwork, on the other hand, is a glimpse at a learner's progress. …"
standardization  standards  commoncore  publicschools  history  tfa  wendykopp  billgates  michellerhee  latinos  immigration  learning  sanfrancisco  missionhigh  bigdata  education  policy  robertglaser  assessment  standardizedtesting  rttt  nclb  kristinarizga  2012  teachforamerica 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Doubts of my students: Expert teaching is no better than good-enough teaching « Computing Education Blog
"As a teacher of education research, I wasn’t so successful yesterday.  I failed at convincing my class (at least, a vocal group of students in my class) that there is some value in expert teaching, that it’s something to be developed and valued.  What I worry is that these are not just the thoughts of a few undergraduates.  How many more people think that it’s easy to learn to be a teacher?  How many other adults, voting citizens, even members of school boards agree with my students — that expert teaching is not that much better than effective teaching, so hiring a bunch of young, smart kids to teach is good enough?"
via:tom.hoffman  2012  expertise  talentvspreparation  markguzdial  teachereducation  tfa  education  teaching  teachforamerica  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Teach For All
"Teach For All is a global network of independent social enterprises that are working to expand educational opportunity in their nations by enlisting their most promising future leaders in the effort. We aspire to the vision that one day, all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education."
tfa  teachforall  teachforamerica  education  teaching  socialentrepreneurship  partnerships  global  chile  networks  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Enseña Chile
"Invitamos a los mejores profesionales a trabajar en un gran desafío, ser profesores por dos años y a tiempo completo en los colegios más vulnerables de Chile"
chile  education  tfa  schools  teachforamerica  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Big Lies (Part Two)
"Teach for America is a "noble" idea; A Core Curriculum is essential; "Core" subjects are more important than other subjects"<br />
<br />
Comment from Shelly Blake-Plock: "I've never understood why game theory and risk analysis, innovation and entrepreneurship, free improvisation and non-idiomatic problem solving, conflict negotiation, and community service aren't at the heart of the "Core Curriculum". I'm getting kinda bored of the usual "English", "Math", "Science" rigmarole. Oh, wait a second... Education is the product of Education. Whatever that is."
tfa  irasocol  policy  education  edhirsch  teaching  learning  deschooling  unschooling  reform  schools  schooling  coreknowledge  priorities  teachforamerica  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Choosing Not to Create Change
"Unlike those of us who discuss abandoning age-based grades, or testing for compliance, or might use donor money to make schools available for parent-learning, or who might infuse schools with contemporary technologies which would allow for individualization and support for the widest range of learners, Teach for America speaks all day about high standards and classroom management and modeling a behavior system. They love tests. They prepare their teachers for traditional classrooms. They work every day to, essentially, keep the system the same because that is the system which has worked for themselves…<br />
<br />
And through it all, Kopp and friends have offered us exactly what? By grabbing not just the media attention, but a huge amount of public cash as well, what they have offered us is protection for the status quo."
tfa  irasocol  education  policy  reform  testing  agesegregation  grades  grading  individualization  wendykopp  funding  2011  schools  deschooling  teachforamerica  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Three
"to understand the debate in America today you need to think of two names: Ellwood Cubberley and Rudyard Kipling. Mann is sweet, Dewey brilliant, Barnard essential to the process, but it is Cubberley who made the US ed system virtually unchangeable & Kipling who may offer explanation re: why?"

"Just how enduring this inevitability is can easily be seen in both education & political spheres. In education "we" continue to pursue the scientific & the "proper technique" (though we now say "evidence-based practice") despite never finding an actual way to measure human learning."

"The problem, then as now, is unequal beginnings on that path to either Americanness or Whiteness. Not only is a single conception of life, of government, of learning, of behavior, declared "correct" and thus all others declared "incorrect""
irasocol  education  history  rudyardkipling  edwardsaid  johntaylorgatto  ellwoodcubberley  johndewey  horacemann  schools  us  policy  classideas  woodrowwilson  colonialism  michellerhee  markzuckerberg  terryeagleton  tfa  danielwillingham  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  cv  teachforamerica  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Today's School Reformers Less Empathetic, Too
"I don't have a study to prove it, but it certainly feels like this change has deeply affected how school reform plays out in the age of TFA and the Broad Academy. Not to say that the public has historically been sympathetic to poor and minority students in the past and now they're not. But the tenor of the "reformers" has certainly changed. There is a willfully unfeeling hardness now that you wouldn't have seen fifteen or twenty years ago, which may be an extension of the phenomenon described in this study.
empathy  reform  arneduncan  change  education  policy  politics  tomhoffman  incentives  motivation  teaching  us  tfa  broadacademy  schools  teachforamerica 
may 2010 by robertogreco
So Simple, So Very Simple | ATTACKERMAN
"Like Wall Street recruiters, TFA recruiters are “really in your face & make it very easy.”...they soothe anxieties of lib-arts majors w/ 1 hand by promising that no prior substantive exp is necessary, while w/ other hand feed Ivy elitism by promising recruits they are uniquely qualified...both emphasize skills recruits will learn for rest of careers—ability to navigate system—at least as much as what they’re actually going to do for 2 yrs, & whom it will affect.
us  policy  economics  recruiting  tfa  schools  education  wallstreet  ivyleague  liberalarts  experience  elitism  teachforamerica 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Looking Past the Spin: Teach for America - Volume 24, No. 3 - Spring 2010 - Rethinking Schools Online
"Most Teach for America recruits are idealistic and dedicated. But who is behind the organization, and does its approach bolster or hinder urban education reform?" [See also:]
education  schools  policy  us  tfa  teachforamerica  wendykopp 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | January/February 2010 | What Makes a Great Teacher? | Amanda Ripley
"patterns emerged. First, great teachers tended to set big goals for students...were perpetually looking for ways to improve their effectiveness....when Farr called up teachers...making remarkable gains & asked to visit classrooms...similar response...‘You’re welcome to come, but I have to warn you—I am in the middle of just blowing up my classroom structure & changing my reading workshop because I think it’s not working as well as it could.’ When you hear that over & over, & you don’t hear that from other teachers, you start to form a hypothesis.” Great teachers...constantly reevaluate what they are doing...avidly recruited students & their families into the process; maintained focus, ensuring that everything they did contributed to student learning; planned exhaustively & purposefully—for the next day or the year ahead—by working backward from the desired outcome; & worked relentlessly, refusing to surrender to the combined menaces of poverty, bureaucracy, & budgetary shortfalls."
education  research  teaching  teachers  leadership  learning  performance  tfa  effectiveness  schools  teachforamerica 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Study Gauges Teach for America Graduates’ Civic Involvement -
"Teach for America, a corps of recent college graduates who sign up to teach in some of the nation’s most troubled schools, has become a campus phenomenon, drawing huge numbers of applicants willing to commit two years of their lives. But a new study has found that their dedication to improving society at large does not necessarily extend beyond their Teach for America service.

In areas like voting, charitable giving and civic engagement, graduates of the program lag behind those who were accepted but declined and those who dropped out before completing their two years, according to Doug McAdam, a sociologist at Stanford University, who conducted the study with a colleague, Cynthia Brandt.

The reasons for the lower rates of civic involvement, Professor McAdam said, include not only exhaustion and burnout, but also disillusionment with Teach for America’s approach to the issue of educational inequity, among other factors."
activism  teaching  education  tfa  research  culture  teachforamerica  voting  charity  disillusionment  burnout 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Education Notes Online: PEP Boys (and Girls) December Meeting: Cracks Show in the Bloomberg/Klein Monolith
"One interesting thing was the number of young teachers, some from TFA and the TF programs who stood up for their schools. It wasn't just the older teachers who are outraged. These are the very people the ed deformers were counting on to be their shock troops. I was with some of the reporters on the way home and we ran into one of the teachers, a 3rd year TFA who remained after her commitment to stay at her school. Her school in the first year also closed. She said she wanted to stay in the NYC system and now that is doubtful. BloomKlein first went after the older teachers and now are eating their own young." [via:]
education  reform  publicschools  2009  tfa  policy  politics  schools  teachforamerica 
december 2009 by robertogreco

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