texshelters

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Writing at Hugpages

In Current Events, Education, Entertainment on May 17, 2012 at 02:43

Dear Readers:

I am now posting at HubPages. The link is here.

http://texshelters.hubpages.com/

It seems I can make some money there without having millions of comments. I hope I will see you there in the future with your comments and question.

Thank you so much. I may post here again with longer, serious pieces.  However, I have amped up the humor over at the Hub.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Beyond Evil

In Education, History, Philosophy on April 26, 2012 at 17:26

picasso Guernica from http://www.abcgallery.com

Evil, like race, is a social construct that does not exist in the natural world. Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court said in 1964 about obscenity that he can’t define it, but he knows it when he sees it. That is true for many people when they are asked to define evil. They don’t know what it is exactly, but they know it when they see it.

Evil is a self-defining term, “The evil man inflicts injury on himself; he would not do so, however, if he knew that evil is evil.” from Beyond Good and Evil by Frederich Nietzsche (section 190).   Ah, the tautological pleasures of evil. Evil exists by the very existence of the word evil.

The term evil is used to bring down those that stand out from the herd, “The lofty independent spirituality, the will to stand alone, and even the cogent reason, are felt to be dangers, everything that elevates the individual above the herd, and is a source of fear to the neighbour, is henceforth called EVIL…” (Ibid: section 201).

During humanity’s history, those that stand apart, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, (the church hated astronomers), Darwin, Marx, union members, atheists, homosexuals and other outliers have been labeled “evil”. Being labeled evil can justify your murder. Thus, jihadists can kill Americans, for they are part of the “evil empire”, the U.S. can kill Muslims who belong to the “axis of evil”, people can kill doctors for they are evil, and so forth. Evil is a label preserved for those that disagree with convention, the powerful or are different. In modern times, evil is a term frequently exploited by dogmatists and ideologues.

“Against such a “possibility,” against such a “should be,” however, this morality defends itself with all its strength, it says obstinately and inexorably “I am morality itself and nothing else is morality!”” (Ibid: section 202)  Thus, we can see the use of the term evil as a way to validate a particular religion or morality. Evil is what one should not do, and thus those who act opposed to these evil actions are moral. So, if homosexuality is evil, those that are married to the opposite sex are moral.

As the web page for the Christian group New Advent states, “Thus evil, from the point of view of human welfare, is what ought not to exist.”  If they are evil, they shouldn’t exist, so we are justified in killing them. So people who think others are evil and “ought not to exist” can call for their murder, as Ted Nugent recently did when speaking about President Obama.

The subjective nature of the term evil makes it useless, a word with no concrete meaning. As the Christian Heretic site says, “The problem is, there is actually no such thing as evil because “evil” is really nothing more than an English word we use to label an action or experience which we perceive in a negative way.”  In fact, the belief in evil is a superstition akin to belief in God, astrology or the Loch Ness Monster.

Nietzsche turns this back on the accusers, “According to slave-morality, therefore, the “evil” man arouses fear; according to master-morality, it is precisely the “good” man who arouses fear and seeks to arouse it, while the bad man is regarded as the despicable being.” (Nietzsche: section 260) The supposed “good” and “moral” use fear of others to manipulate us.  By defining our morality for us, religious and political leaders control us through fear, and thus they continue to gain the most from the labor and resources of this nation. While we are out fighting the evil in each other, plutocrats are writing new legislation to take away our rights, jail us and further rig the economy for themselves at the expense of the people.

The Church and mid-evil theocracies used God and fear to control the masses, and the state learned this technique and uses it today. If the U.S. had been less “moral” and less religious, and instead been more rational and scientific, we wouldn’t have been so easily manipulated to go to war with Iraq after Bush’s “axis of evil” speech. If we understood that the term “evil” was being used to get us to attack unsuspecting humans thousands of miles away (who had nothing to do with 9/11) and that the term meant nothing, we may have thought twice about accepting the war with Iraq.

Thus, the “good” person harms society by labeling those he fears as “evil”, and in doing so, they promote the very thing they rail against: anger, hatred, judgement and violence.

If I ask you to show me evil, you can’t. You would show me a picture of Charles Manson, or Pol Pot, or some other person most people consider evil. But it is not that they are evil in and of themselves, they are only “evil” because of their actions. So why not just call them “mass murderers” or “genocidal maniacs” and leave it at that? Evil is an adjective that lacks meaning separate from actions. Evil is a shorthand for so many possible actions that it has no meaning.

That “Evil” can be used to describe something unpleasant is not evidence that evil exists as a universal constant, nor the base for an argument for moral absolutes.” Herodotus 

The term evil allows us to avoid disturbing questions regarding the development of men like Stalin and Hitler by stating, “They are just evil”. In the book, For Your Own Good, noted German psychiatrist and author Alice Miller argues that it was the strict child rearing practices in early 1900s Germany that produced not only a compliant populous ready to obey a dictator after WWI, but these practices also created tyrants like Hitler that would recreate the oppressive experiences of childhood for the Germans. If Hitler had been born elsewhere at a different time, he certainly would not have become evil.

“It is too simple to blame evil people for horrifying acts of terror,” says psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer. “In a scientific worldview, however, there is no such thing as good and evil as supernatural forces operating outside the realm of the known laws of nature and of human behaviour.”

Americans are particularly succeptable to the term evil and react to it without asking why something is evil or if it is evil at all. Evil is a catchall phrase and whenever someone calls a person, issue, policy, or anything evil, you should question this persons logic and argument. Better yet, turn the page and read something else.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Corporate Way to School Improvement

In Economics, Education on March 22, 2012 at 19:52

high stakes testing from http://www.rethinkingschools.org

We have a crisis of graduation rates in our schools. The more data we manipulate to support our view that the schools are collapsing, the worse schools look. We at the Nationalist Association for Superior Intelligence (NASI) have come up with several ways to demonstrate the schools are failing. In fact, we came up with solutions to address this calamity even before creating the data proving the need for our solution.

Our greatest tool used to dismantle schools and the public education system is high stakes testing. The creation of high stakes testing allows us to enforce arbitrary bench-marks that schools must meet, or we take the schools down. We must also start using these test to not only fire teachers, as our beloved Michelle Rhee did in D.C., but we must start using these tests to expel worthless students.

Students that fail to meet an arbitrary score on a standardized test must be summarily kicked out of the school district. While liberals might worry about these stupid kids and want to coddle them, they fail to take into account that this is what we have prisons for. Prisons are the safety net for stupid students all over our great nation.

And if by chance some undesirables skirt through the testing regimen, we can just expel them. By clearing out the human refuse from our schools, we can increase the percentage of students that graduate and not have to waste money and energy helping students undeserving of an education.

For example, if a school has 300 students in its graduating class and only 150 graduate, that’s a 50% rate. If you expel the 50 most at risk students from the school, you can have 150 out of 250 that graduate, a rate of 60%. Expel 100 students that won’t graduate, and you could have 150 graduate out of 200 (300 minus the 100 expelled) and you will have a rate of 75%. The Memphis school district did just this to increase graduations rates, and the rest of the nation should follow.

Another problem with our schools is there’s not enough corporate investment. Just like corporations made the banks work for everyone, corporate money in the schools will make them work. We need to deregulate the schools to allow more corporate investment as soon as possible.

We need to make up more statistics to show the schools are failing. One such clever data switch was discovered when a data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high school graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

By using the lower rate for graduates starting in the university, we manufactured a crisis in our schools, justifying not only more high stakes testing, but merit based pay and national standards.

A Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired by Joel Klein (Lawyer) and Condoleezza Rice (Former Secretary of State) came up with The U.S. Education Reform and National Security report. Neither of them have been educators, but they want to change the education system. Thankfully, no teachers were consulted for this report, as far as I could tell.

The report calls for:

  • expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts;
  • an expansion of charter schools and vouchers
  • an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more. (snip)

Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

And here’s the best part of this report: The report cites lots of statistics that paint public schools in the worst possible light, and continues the trend of comparing America’s educational system with that of high-achieving countries — but doesn’t note that these countries generally don’t do the kinds of things these reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

They invented statistics to support our argument that we need more privatization of schools as is our duty because we know what’s best, even if the evidence doesn’t back our solutions. If we can’t sell the public on a corporate take over of schools on academic grounds, we can do so on security grounds. That makes sense since schools in poor districts funnel so many students into prisons or the military, the two legs of the stool of security.

If we stop wasting tax payers’ money educating everyone, and we end child labor laws, the percentage of graduates in our school will sky rocket as will test scores of those more deserving students that remain in schools.

God bless America, ignorance is strength, and if your a stupid student, please drop out for the good of the nation.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Problem is Limited Access, not Affirmative Action

In Current Events, Economics, Education, History on February 29, 2012 at 22:07

itshisfault from-talk-onevietnam-org.jpg

Abigail Noel Fisher was too poor a student to be admitted into the University of Texas as one of the top 10% of all high school graduates who are automatically eligible for entrance into the state system. After the first 10% of high school graduates are admitted, students have to compete for the remaining seats. However, Ms. Fisher still didn’t make the cut. Instead of taking up the American tradition of going to community college, she took up the American tradition of suing those she feels aggrieved by, the University of Texas at Austin. The suit accuses the university of racial bias against Ms. Fisher, and if she wins, it could reduce higher education opportunities for minorities in the United States.

The University of Texas has a very limited race preferences, and it is only one of several factors for entrance which includes a review of two essays, high school transcripts, SAT scores, a resume including extracurricular and community activities, and so forth. Only in the area of community activities is the question of race considered. Yet this mediocre student wants to blame the system instead of looking at her own application that kept her out of UT.

President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961 that called for “affirmative action” to ensure employment and educational opportunities for people of all races.  “The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all.” Lyndon Johnson added Executive Order 11246 to help enforce “affirmative action” in employment and to add women to the order.

Proponents of  affirmative action say it is one remedy to address the imbalance in educational opportunities for minorities and the poor in our nation. Opponents feel affirmative action takes scholarships and educational opportunities away from more deserving students who happen to be white. Both the discrimination and “reverse” discrimination arguments for and against affirmative action policies miss the fundamental problem with higher education in our nation: limited resources, limited funding, and high costs.

State governments limit access to schooling because of lack of funds and their funding priorities. Most states cut their budgets for higher education in the last two years, “…all but nine states experienced one-year declines from their 2010-11 totals. The 41 states that cut their spending did so by widely varying proportions, from as little as 1 percent (in Indiana and North Carolina) to as much as 41 percent (New Hampshire), with a full third seeing double-digit drops.” According to the Center for the Study of Education Policy, “Overall, spending declined by some $6 billion, or nearly 8 percent, over the past year,…” 

Cost is more important than the issue of what race you are in when applying to the university. The cost for higher education has increased at  twice the rate of medical costs since 1978. Since 2000, tuition costs have doubled.  The cost of higher education makes it harder for poorer students to attend and thus reduces their chance to increase their incomes with an advanced degree.

And the poorest families have it the worst:
Among the poorest families — those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent — the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families’ median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000. 

While tuition is going up, assistance to students entering universities is going down as is state spending for higher education. This year’s cuts to pell grants will also make it harder for students to attend university, affecting up to 100,000 students.

Sarah Volstad, Director of Legislative Affairs for Student Senate, stated, “It’s definitely not like it was…Ten years ago, the state grants were plentiful … tuition was much lower.”

The federal government’s priorities focus on security, war and tax cuts. Instead of addressing the ever increasing inequity in resource distribution in our nation between the top and lower quintiles, we fight over scraps.

If higher education was available and affordable to all who qualify, and there were more scholarships available, the fight over affirmative action would end for all but the most racist in our society, those who don’t want minorities or the poor to be educated no matter the availability.

No amount of affirmative action will fix the problem of access and costs and an economic system of inequity in our nation that limits access to higher education. If we want to end the debate over affirmative action, we need to make schools more affordable and accessible to all.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

If You’re Reading this, You’re Part of the 99%

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 22, 2012 at 21:47

We are the 99% from ohaflcio.blogspot.com

Many people online, in editorial pages, on television and in the streets are denying their membership in the 99%. Few if any of the people that fight against their membership to this not-so-elite group fully understand the concept of the “99%”.

Those who automatically reject anything they consider “liberal” will reject their membership in the 99% as a way to reject a group they falsely consider lazy, unclean Americans who want to blame corporations for all their troubles. However, Occupy Wall Street is not asking for you to agree with everything every member of their group believes. Admitting that you are part of the 99% does not require you reject your conservative, or other, principles.

What admitting you are part of the 99% requires is that you let go of your denial and acquire a modicum of class consciousness. First, you must let go of the myth that the richest 1% of Americans care about you and are job creators instead of job destroyers. Then you must develop an awareness that you are in the lower classes and the 1% determines, to a large extent, what happens in this nation.

Many people reject this idea because they think it means you have to be an anarchist, socialist, communist or some other ist to belong to the 99%. That’s a misreading of the metaphor. What’s more, they don’t even know it is a metaphor, a number that represents the inequality in our economic and political system but may not be literally accurate.

Even Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, showing how smart he is with numbers, took “99%” as a literal idea and corrected the notion several times in his post:

“Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.”

Let’s be clear about Mr. Klein’s misreading of OWS: 99% is a metaphor that he takes too literally and thus misses the point that it’s about inequality, not exactitude. And it is about Wall Street. The protests are about Wall Street run amok, about how Wall Street gets a free pass when they break regulatory laws, about a Wall Street that is in large part responsible for our economic disaster we find ourselves in. But, it’s not only about Wall Street. The Occupy Movement is about banks, mega corporations like Monsanto that poison our food supply, BP and other large companies that pollute with impunity, the military industrial complex, and so forth. Just because it’s called “Occupy Wall Street” doesn’t mean Wall Street is their only concern, and it’s willfully ignorant to think that. Read their declaration and educate yourself about their issues.

Klein also echoes sentiments of Republicans and dismisses the movement as self-centered, only concerned about themselves, only wanting the “economy to start working” for them, thus he misses the point again. Sure, members of the occupy movement are concerned about their own welfare, and also their neighbors, their children, their family, their community, their teachers, their public servants, other workers, and all members of the 99% that might have had tough times because of the plutocracy we live under. Otherwise, why would so many employed, retired and financially secure people involve themselves in the movement?

Compassion for others is not a hard thing to understand. It’s too bad Klein’s analysis only skims the surface of what the Occupy Movement is about. If he can’t correctly interpret Occupy, he should stick to writing about the Republican primaries. There, he will see enough lies to write about, and he won’t have to write misinformation about the Occupy Movement.

You’re part of the 99% if:

  • Most of your income comes with a W-2 attached.
  • You have ever, or currently, received food stamps, unemployment, SSI, or other government assistance.
  • You don’t have an offshore bank account.
  • If you are not a financial manager or CEO of a major firm, you are part of the 99%.
  • You are also a member of the 99% if your income is less than $400,000 a year.
  • If you earn less than 25% of your income in rent and dividends, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are one paycheck from being homeless, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are not a manager, executive, or supervisor of a large firm, you are likely part of the 99%.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can donate millions to a political campaign.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can write laws for ALEC and thus Congress.
  • And if you’re reading this, you are a member of the 99%.

Here’s a demographic breakdown of the 1%:
https://files.nyu.edu/bps261/public/numbers.html 

Fact: the top 1% in the US control 42% of the nation’s wealth.
http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/

Rich Versus Poor demographics
http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/97/07/9707jw.pdf  

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Occupy Tucson Day of Solidarity

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 21, 2012 at 02:25

The Raging Grannies performing at Occupy Tucson's 99% Meet Yourself

One thing the Republicans have yet to mention when deriding the Occupy movements and their most visible target, Occupy Wall Street, is that it’s run by a bunch of community organizers. Community organizing was evident at the Occupy Tucson Presents: 99% Meet Yourself event held at the downtown, main library plaza, Saturday Feb. 18th, in Tucson, Arizona.

The event was well organized, with a stage, music and speakers from different community based local and national organizations, tables that had information from these organizations, sign making, and information about the historical struggles of the 99%.

Several hundred people attended the event throughout the day to observe, share, learn and listen to the speakers and music and uncounted others that visit the plaza on weekends sat to witness and partake in the event. The event was also live streamed on the Internet for the world to see. Considering how dangerous the occupy movement has been portrayed in some media outlets, it was surprising that no counter protests occurred and there was little police presence.

The day focused on support and sharing of information regarding mutual and overlapping goals shared by the organizations at the event. As speaker Billy Lolos of Occupy Tucson (OT) pointed out, people ask what we in the occupy movements are about, why we don’t have one issue. The truth is, he said, was that we live in a “target rich environment”, and we will be there to protest and join in solidarity with those that share these concerns.

IT Live Streaming OT's 99% Meet Yourself

He then talked about the foreclosure crisis in the nation and in Tucson. Mr. Lolos urged us to get the Tucson and Pima County governments to use eminent domain to claim foreclosed houses and refinance homes for at risk owners. He also took aim at the banks and their bailouts and how if we let them, they will continue taking bailouts from tax payers to finance their risky ventures.

Steve Valencia, Tucson Chair of Jobs with Justice, thanked the occupy movement for helping change the discourse in this nation from cuts that would harm workers to investment in jobs and a sustainable future. He discussed what a “Job with Justice” means: a livable wage, dignity, benefits, collective bargaining, and so forth. Mr. Valencia also pointed out how the occupy movement is raising awareness for the push back against the dominance of corporations over our politics and the scapegoating of workers.

Joe Bernick, a leading voice in the Communist Party of America, author and director of the Salt of the Earth Labor College, added his voice of support and caution to the proceedings. He  reminded us that change doesn’t happen without social movements working for change. He added that capital and capitalism will prevent needed change unless we overturn the faulty capitalist paradigm.

Sal Baldenegro, Sr, a preeminent voice in the Chicano Movement and defender of ethnic studies, more accurately “Mexican American Studies”, echoed the sentiment in his presentation. He pointed out that every time laws were passed to exclude Mexicans and others from participation as members of the United States, those efforts have been defeated. When the U.S. tried to keep Mexicans from owning property, it failed. When governments tried to exclude Mexicans from certain neighborhoods, it failed. When people tried to keep Mexicans segregated and out of their businesses, Mexicans opened their own businesses and over time, segregation became less of an issue. And this happened because of the work of people to overcome those obstacles. And the ban of Mexican American Studies will also fail, he pointed out, because of the efforts of the people.

Sign making at OT's 99% Meet Yourself

David Yerkey of the KXCI show “A View from Slightly off Center”  talked about the media’s role in censorship and promoting the corporate agenda and the way marginalized groups are kept out of the national debate. One striking example he mentioned was how Wikileaks was kept out of the UNESCO debate on Wikileaks by the U.S., and how the U.S. state department filled the meeting with Wikileaks detractors. With public media and the Internet, we can get the news out about these forms of political censorship.

Gayle Hartmann, director of “Saved the Scenic Santa Ritas“, thanked the support OT has given their cause. She added that the letter writing campaign to the U.S. Forest Service against the mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, specifically those questioning the water quality effects of the Rosemont project, were having an impact on the Forest Service’s support for open pit mine. And she made it clear that the mine “would create only a few jobs” and that mining jobs were already available in Arizona.

The music of the day was rousing, lively, socially relevant, and uplifting. The headline band, Relic Soup, played classic songs from Stevie Wonder to Pearl Jam. Ted Warmbrand entertained us with his folk songs and traditional sing-a-longs while local favorites The Raging Grannies sang traditional songs with new updated lyrics about the 99%. Arianna Solare played her politic songs while accompanying herself on guitar while singing in English and Spanish. Guest musicians Ron Pandy entertained us with his down-home folk originals while local character known only as “Iggy” entertained us with his improvised piano and scat style a cappella rapping.

Tabling at the event were groups as diverse as a local solar power company, Move to Amend, the National Writers Union, and Occupy Tucson working groups such as the Yoga and meditation working group, PR/Outreach (the main organizers of the event), among others. Occupy Phoenix also had a table at the event to present information and invite Tucsonans to their events in the coming month.

Tabling at 99% Meet Yourself

More than all the learning, teaching, an networking, the event demonstrated that Occupy Tucson is organized, issue oriented, talented and well spoken members of a community that cares deeply about what happens in our city, state, and nation.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Ethnic Studies Banned for Telling Truth

In Current Events, Education, History on January 2, 2012 at 17:51

 No Mexicans from tucsoncitizen.com

The legislative ban on ethnic studies classes in Arizona high schools was upheld in Administrative court in Phoenix, AZ in December by judge Lewis D. Kowal of the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings. More accurately, the ban on Mexican-American studies in Tucson has been upheld. We can add Judge Kowal to the names of John Huppenthal and Tom Horne, who pushed this bill through the Republican dominated state legislature, as well as Joe Arpaio and others, who want to shut up Mexicans.

These white men are concerned that teaching Mexican, Chicano, and other children about Mexican-American history and ethnic studies would create a classroom environment that “demonizes white people as oppressors of Hispanics.”  This claim is ridiculous; one or two classes of ethnic studies can’t make up for 10 years of teaching the history of European Americans in the United States. Here is the language in the law addressing the concerns of Huppenthal, Horne and anti-ethnic studies groups.

The four activities identified by the bill that warrant fund withholding include classes that:

1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government
2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people
3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group
4. Advocate for ethnic solidarity  

Ethnic studies has nothing to do with promoting government overthrow, and there are already laws against treason. This point is a ridiculous, fear mongering tactic. Moreover, the point of ethnic studies is to focus on one particular ethnic group. Hasn’t American history focused primarily on White Europeans for years? People who don’t want an educated populous fight against a diversity of knowledge. And what’s so scary about ethnic solidarity? It’s only scary if you are insecure and know that minorities working together means you will no longer be able to bully them, harass them with impunity and you, as a soon to be white minority, may no longer be elected to office.

And how about point number two, the idea that ethnic studies promotes resentment. Do our state officials not know that there is already resentment against White Europeans for the treatment of Mexican Americans?  And yes, there are historical reasons for this resentment.  Do people actually believe that banning the study of Mexican-Americn history will alleviate resentment minority students feel toward a White, Eurocentric school system? And more to the point, don’t the anti-ethnic studies groups understand that teenagers have more to be concerned with than historical oppression. There’s grades, work, family, relationships and dozens of other issues students are facing and one ethnic studies class won’t create groups of revolutionary Mexicans. Once again, right-wingers overreact and create a bigger problem for themselves.

Here are a few facts that might lead to resentment:

Mexico controlled the land that is now Arizona for almost four decades until the United States, mostly white folks of Protestant faith, moved into Texas, and through guile and the gun, cajoled Mexico into a war with the United States (1846-48). Half of Mexico was ceded to the victorious United States, mainly the lands north of the Rio Grande. This U.S. victory led to oppression of many Mexican-Americans, the kind of oppression Judge Kowal wants us to ignore.

Thousands of Mexican citizens lost their land after the war due to the difference between land ownership laws, manipulation by white judges (again with the white judges) and through violence. “Two generations later, most Mexicans living in the U.S. no longer held title to their lands and found their cultural way of life increasingly under attack as U.S. white supremacy came to predominate.  In California, as land transferred from Mexican to Euro-American hands, a very racially-motivated Workingman’s Party dominated the call for a Constitutional Convention.  In 1879, that new Constitution not only made Chinese immigration illegal (the primary cause of the Party), but it also destroyed the legal protections Mexicans once enjoyed, rights promised to them in the 1848 Treaty. ”  

So, promising Mexican nationals U.S. citizenship and title to land they owned before the war and then later taking the land doesn’t constitute sufficient “oppression” of Mexicans by whites, thus we shouldn’t teach our students this history. It’s not oppression, it’s just inconvenient facts that some Whites want to hide from us.

What about segregation of Mexicans and white Europeans in the Southwest akin to black segregation in the South? Does that count? White men in power like Horne, Huppenthal, Kowak and others want to hide this history of discrimination behind a wall of reverse discrimination nonsense. Are they afraid that when Latinos become a plurality or majority in this state that they will go after the whites? Don’t worry guys, class will still keep us separate after the Mexican reconquista. Or will it?

Then there is the legal exploitation and not so legal abuse of workers of Mexican descent.  These workers get paid subpar wages, some live in company like towns on farms in squalid conditions, many work more dangerous jobs, they have no rights as workers, get no insurance, and don’t benefit from their contributions to Social Security. We complain about “illegal” workers from Mexico, but we target the victims of this labor situation, the Mexican workers. Seldom do we go after companies that benefit form this illegal labor, and seldom do we realize how our economy benefits from this cheap supply of labor.

Mexican workers have been used in the United States ever since the United States won the war over Mexico. First, there was a rush to fill the labor needed to build the railway from the United States to Mexico. Thousands of Mexican workers filled that labor gap. Mexican labor was utilized to fill the farm jobs left vacant when the United States government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. In times of war, predominantly WWI and WWII, Mexican labor was brought to work in the fields as U.S. soldiers went off to war. Then when the Mexicans had been used to fill our needs, they were blamed for job loses and legal steps were made to exclude them. The Bracero Program passed in 1942 brought more than 4 million Mexican workers for the growing agriculture industry in the West, main California, and for the war effort.

Mexican labor today is also utilized in poultry and pig farms and all sorts of back breaking work. This kind of labor exploitation can easily be labeled “oppression”, and I am sure that ruling white men would be against labor history as well as Mexican-American studies, because labor history discusses oppression of workers by the ruling classes.

Dr. Amster of Prescott College, writing at Truthdig explains their motivation, “There’s a word for what Arizona is attempting to do here: ethnocide.”

Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote in his landmark essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” following the teachings of St. Augustine, that “an unjust law is no law at all.” King further reminds us, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” calling upon us to recognize the interlinked nature of destinies and, indeed, the inherent solidarity of our struggles, and further counsels that in this effort “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

None of the excuses for banning Mexican American studies in Tucson holds up to the reality in the classroom. In Fact, an independent audit of the program found the program didn’t violate the criteria laid out in the law.

No observable evidence exists that instruction within Mexican American Studies Department promotes resentment towards a race or class of people. The auditors observed the opposite, as students are taught to be accepting of multiple ethnicities of people. MASD teachers are teaching Cesar Chavez alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, all as peaceful protesters who sacrificed for people and ideas they believed in. Additionally, all ethnicities are welcomed into the program and these very students of multiple backgrounds are being inspired and taught in the same manner as Mexican American students. All evidence points to peace as the essence for program teachings. Resentment does not exist in the context of these courses.”

So, fearful people who brought you the war on drugs and the Iraq war are now spreading their paranoia to education to keep information of uncomfortable facts, discrimination against Latinos, from our children. If the truth sets you free, the superintendent and many in the state legislature in Arizona want to imprison our minds.

For more information on defending ethnic studies, visit http://saveethnicstudies.org/meet_us.shtml

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Tex Shelter’s Best of 2011

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Election Politics, Humor on December 30, 2011 at 20:33

Flaming Peace from growabrain.typepad.com

Need a reading list for 2012? Well, here you are.

These articles have been chosen among the best of 2011 based on originality, quality of writing, and importance of the topic. I chose some because they are funny or at least they gave me a laugh. They are not ranked, they are chosen chronologically and are only numbered for ease of reading.

1. Stop the Race to National Standards and Race to the Top
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/stop-the-race-to-national-standards-and-race-to-the-top/

This is one of a few articles where I go after high stakes testing as a failed policy (No Child Left Behind) from the Bush administration, given a white wash, and renamed Race to the Top.

Reasons to read: It’s an amalgam of various criticisms of Race to the Top, criticisms that need to be understood before we let corporations ruin our schools beyond repair.

Excerpt: So, teachers’ pay has to be based on how well little John or Sally or Juan or Chin or Liliana does on a standardized test that is only valid if you don’t considered the cultural and economic variations of all students everywhere. And, RTTT gives extra points for creating more charter schools.

2. Michelle Rhee, Wisconsin, and the Attack on Teachers
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/michelle-rhee-wisonsin-and-the-attack-on-teachers/

Why this is worth a read: In this article, I discredit the super-hero of education “reform”, Michelle Rhee. I understand people such as Rhee and Secretary of Education Duncan are symptoms of a greater problem, but like a viral infection, it helps to remove as much of the disease as possible. I also criticize merit based pay that is centered on high stakes testing.

Excerpt: Can you imagine someone going into a hospital, looking at a few charts and then firing half the doctors because they weren’t performing to a set of medical testing data? Most members of Congress would lose their jobs if they had to perform to criteria many of them want to impose on teachers, and they would not put up with it.

3. The Senate is the most Democratic legislative body in the World
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/the-senate-is-the-most-democratic-legislative-body-in-the-world-update-for-linking/

I wrote this article because I was sick and tired of the Senate blocking useful reform and I wanted to explain how undemocrat the Senate is.

Reason to read this: People need to learn facts about the Senate you might not have known. Note the sardonic tone of the piece used to deride this anti-democratic institution.

Excerpt: The latest example of the Senate’s love and support of democracy, though there are so many, is health care reform. By its very nature, the Senators in the finance committee are democratic. They represent a small part of the country, and they can stop health care for everyone.

4. Other Official State Items We Need in Arizona
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/other-official-state-items-we-need-in-arizona/

I wrote this after the Arizona state legislature, in its finite wisdom, decided we needed an official state gun. Arizona is a microcosm of politics in the United States. It’s an example of how a few crazy people can ruin a good state for the rest of us.

Reasons to read: You might laugh and cry and groan all at the same time.

Excerpt: The official state border crossing; changes weekly.

5. Accepted Assumptions that are Wrong: A Healthy Stock Market Means a Healthy Economy
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/accepted-assumptions-that-are-wrong-a-healthy-stock-market-means-a-healthy-economy/

Reason to read: It goes to the very core of misguided economic news, the stock market. It is also one of my best pieces on this myth and a good read, and if I were to give an award for best written, this piece gets the Golden Texy.

Excerpt: Americans outside the brokerage and banking industries, outside of the Forbes 500 and their cronies in D.C, are suffering. The stock market doesn’t gage if average people are doing well, it is a gage of what speculators think they can make from betting on, or against, a certain stock. It is a false indicator of prosperity, unless you look at the holders and manipulators of large stock portfolios.

6. Where is the Proof that Obama is even Human?
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/where-the-proof-that-obama-is-even-human/

Reason to read: In this article, I mock the birthers and those that would take political advantage of birthers by taking it one step further, questioning Obama’s species credentials. If he were a dog, I would want to see his papers.

Excerpt: First, I want to see a copy of Obama’s physical examinations to prove that he is human. The Constitution clearly states that you must be a human to be president, and I have yet to see proof that Obama is. Why won’t any of Obama’s supposed doctors come forward? Perhaps he’s not really a human?

Why hasn’t Michelle Obama come forward with proof Obama is really a man. How do we know that Obama didn’t have a sex change and was really a woman? What proof do we really have? Until I see a photo of Obama’s penis, I can’t believe Obama’s a man. Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?

Best Line: Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?

7. How Republicans “Win” Elections or Support the “Voter Shooter Law”
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/how-republicans-win-elections/

Reason to read: A very important article for the year 2012 and the elections. It’s a run-down of the voter suppression and election tactics that make it possible for Republicans to win elections. Then I add a list of suggestions of how to suppress the vote further, as seen in the excerpt below.

Excerpt: 3. Charge neighborhoods with the hiring of employees, the buying of voting machines, and rent in order to have polling places in their neighborhood. That should keep voting down to only those that contribute enough to society to deserve a vote. However, we will not have a poll tax,  for that is un-American.

Memorable line: Voters are easily manipulated by nationalistic symbolism and the Republicans count on it to win elections.

8. How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/how-to-promote-high-stakes-testing-lie/

Reason to Read: This article features examples of teachers, schools, superindendents and school districts so desperate for funding that they lied about their test results. This story is important and not enough people know about it.

Excerpt: In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,

“Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film ‘Waiting for Superman,’ succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.”

Important line: So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and friends to President Bush.

9. Obama Shows his Hatred of Israel by Admitting Palestinians are Human
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/obama-shows-his-hatred-of-israel-by-admitting-palestinians-are-human/

Reasons to Read: The article directly discredits the big lie that “Obama hates Israel” in an alternating serious and sardonic style. I wrote it after a well educated Jew I know asked me, “Why does Obama hate Israel?”, and then she refused to debate me on it because instead of using her analytic, scientific brain (she is studying medicine), she told me that she was “too emotional” to talk about it. Well yea.

Look at the facts and learn that Obama wants peace, and that includes for Palestinians too. Sorry, but Obama thinks Palestinians are also human. Some paranoid Jews and Republicans who want to attack Obama don’t even bother to look at Obama’s complete speech and stick to the big lie about Obama’s hatred of Israel that Republicans have pushed since Obama ran for president. Also, look at the map and the borders. The 1967 border is almost exactly the same as the current borders.

Excerpt: Clearly, Netanyahu wants no peace. And there are Arab governments, namely Iran, that don’t want to see a peace between Israelis and Palestinians either. If nothing else, pissing off Iran and other Muslim nationalists in the region should move Israel to peace talks. Furthermore, I am sure there are multinational arms dealers selling weapons to Israel and Muslim jihadists that will suffer greatly if peace breaks out in Israel and Palestine.

Memorable line: How Dare Obama hate Israel by stating their need to be secure!

10. Stop the Socialist FEMA Takeover of the Midwest
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/stop-the-socialist-fema-takeover-of-the-midwest/

Reason to Read: Republicans hate the government, until they need it. This article mocks the tendency of hypocritical Republicans to take government money when it helps them but cut funding when it might help someone else.

Excerpt/Memorable Line: Yes, the state legislature refuses aid for the unemployed caught under the dual tornado of joblessness and state cuts, and they should stick to their guns, and pull them out of their holsters, to refuse socialist FEMA funds to help those affected by the recent tornadoes.

11. Every Day, I’m More Gay
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/i’m-more-gay-every-day/

Reasons to read: Sometimes the only thing you can do to fight homophobia is to amuse those that realize most homophobes are scared and ignorant, and laugh at them. I write like a confused homophobe, and exaggerate the fears these people must be feeling to humorous effect. There are too many good lines to quote here, so read it.

Excerpt: Then another shocking revelation came my way when I learned that Freddy Mercury was a gay man the whole time I was listening to his music and watching his videos, on MTV! Imagine a band named “Queen” having homosexual members in it. Who would have known?

Memorable Line: Yes, I know Broadway is not just for gays any more, but it’s the gayt way drug to homosexuality.

12. Defending the Power Elite in America Against the Interests of the People: The Case of the United States Government
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/defending-the-power-elite-in-america-against-the-interests-of-the-people-the-case-of-the-united-states-government/

Reason to read: This article illuminates the undemocratic structures in our government and questions the firmly held beliefs of our elected officials and much of the population that we are a highly evolved democracy. And, it’s not a bad read.

Excerpt:  The form of our government in the United States is one that is not conducive to change and radicalism. It is set up to prevent big sweeping changes and thus promotes the interests of those in power, the moneyed and political elite. Elections for political office do little to change the underlying body politic, changing one face for another, and are only cosmetic in nature.

Line to Remember: As long as we have a two party system in the United States run by money and limited choice, we will never have a government by the people and for the people.

13. Facts about Class, Poverty and Downward Mobility
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/facts-about-class-poverty-and-downward-mobility/

Reason to read: This article is a well written exposé about class in the United States and the lies the right-wing and political and economic elite use to defend their economic dominance, greed and the plutocracy.

Excerpt: If it was just a matter of working hard, why is poverty rising and wealth more concentrated at the top than ever before? Is it that 80% of Americans are lazy? There is a given amount of wealth in a nation and thus when more wealth is concentrated at the top, there will be more poverty at the bottom.

Memorable Line: The idea of the American dream is one of the most successful pieces of propaganda ever perpetuated.

14. Endangered Billionaire Job Creators

Video of the year by Tex Shelters done in the style of an endangered species ad. If you gag every time you hear the term “job creators” about mega corporations who are actually job cutters, this video is for you.

15. My Dream Christmas Letter From Obama to the Republican National Committee
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/my-dream-christmas-letter-from-obama-to-the-republican-national-committee/

Reason to Read: The article is a letter I would love to see Obama send Republicans and it explains why he will win in 2012. It also highlights the faulty Republican candidates and how they are not qualified for the campaign trail let alone the office of the presidency. Moreover, it’s funny.

Excerpt: And Michelle Bachmann, what can I say? She thinks black families had it better during slavery than they do now. Thank you for that Representative Bachmann. Have you asked Herman Cain about that?

Memorable line: You know how to make a guy feel welcome, to four more years in the White House.

So there you have it, some of my choices for articles that deserve an addition read and issues that deserve further consideration.

Peace, and happy New Year,
Tex Shelters

Some Liberal Commie Police Refuse to use Pepper Spray on Occupy Groups

In Current Events, Economics, Education on November 23, 2011 at 02:34

Police who don’t pepper spray protesters are too liberal.

 

These students post a threat http://www.guardian.co.uk

There are communists running our police departments across America and we must put a stop to them before the Occupy Movement really gets out of control.

Take a look at this video at UC Davis.

If you take a close look, you can see a large police officer in his riot gear, standing over the protesters who are sitting crouched and bent over and obviously posing a threat to the police by being submissive. He and other officers needed to spray those threatening college kids. Those students have been breaking the law by trespassing on college campus grounds. Do they think the universities are there for students? What gives them the right to protest tuition increases? Where is it written that they can ask their grievances to be addressed? Frankly, we should pepper spray anyone who dares to speak out of turn when they should be silent. It is a valid use of force.

Every teacher in America that doesn’t have a can of pepper spray in their desk drawer next to their 9 mm is a liberal coward. Besides, pepper spray is a food product, essentially.

Bus drivers across America should have pepper spray to deal with unruly passengers and to spice up their chinese take out. Parents should have pepper spray given to them when they have a child just in case. The point is, there are many socialist police departments out there that have yet to use pepper spray on their local Occupy Movement, and we need to black list them and call them out for the coward they are.

Other things that police can do to prove they are real Americans include:

More rubber bullets and concussion grenades, especially when protesters try to help an injured person. 

Water board protesters. Since it’s not torture (it’s just enhanced interrogation) no problem.

Blast in a cavalcade of worst songs ever to the occupiers including “MacArthur Park” by  Richard Harris, “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka, “We Built This City” by Starship, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel, and many many more!

Collaborate with other mayors to crack down on free speech. Call in the Police Executive Research Forum or PERF. PERF those protesters!

Whatever you do, side with the 1%. While they may take money from your 401k for their yachts, poison our water supply for profit, privatize your kids school and ask tuition while lowering standards, sell you out to the banks, bring back child labor and get rid of the eight hour day and minimum wage, it’s better than having to listen to a bunch of hippies and getting upset with our nations economic and political problems that they unpatriotically discuss.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie

In Current Events, Education on May 30, 2011 at 22:36

High stakes testing has been embedded in our national system of education funding since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) became law. The law, pushed by then President George W. Bush and his family friends at McGraw-Hill Publishing, was promoted by citing the “Texas Miracle” in the Houston schools. It turns out that the exemplar of testing achievement that helped sell this nation NCLB was fabricated,

“In the late 1990’s, Texas claimed dramatic increases in test scores and high school graduation rates. The jump was so high that observers nationwide were calling it the “Texas Miracle,” a phenomenon that led Rod Paige, Houston’s superintendent of education at the time onto the national stage. He later served as Bush’s secretary of education. By 2004, the “Texas Miracle” was found to be a total sham. Teachers and administrators were fudging data.” (Link)

So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and Friends to President Bush. That was only the start of the lies used to sell No Child Left Behind and other high stakes testing models. These lies are also used to sell private, charter, and other corporate school models while attacking teachers and their unions.

More on the faked Texas “miracle”.

High Stakes Lying in D.C. and Baltimore

Now, educational testing celebrity Michelle Rhee has been discredited for lying about her teaching prowess. Rhee, along with the Rhode Island Central Falls School district superintendent Catherine Gallo who fired ALL the teachers in the district, has became the champion of teacher firing by letting go at least 600 teachers based on testing data.

Moreover, Rhee didn’t even bother to interview the teachers, observe them in the classroom or give any type of evaluation. Rhee fired teachers based on limited information, a lie of omission. Fortunately, seventy-five of the fired teachers will now be reinstated.

Rhee also falsely claimed that she was instrumental in raising test scores from the 13th percentile (from the bottom) to the 90th percentile (near the top) while teaching in Baltimore for three years. (Link) Critics point out that this is nearly statistically impossible and on further investigation, have caught Rhee in a lie. However, her followers still support her methods, discredited as they are.These fabrications are used to prove that testing and “accountability”, which amounts to firing teachers, works.

Washington, D.C. Erasuregate
Washington, D.C. schools recorded a vast improvement on test scores over the time Rhee was school chancellor from 2007 to 2010. During her tenure, she gave 10 schools special recognition for improvement. One improved school was Crosby S. Noyes.

“In 2006, only 10% of Noyes’ students scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math on the standardized tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Two years later, 58% achieved that level. The school showed similar gains in reading.” (Link)

However, as many suspicious of this grand achievement point out, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Eight out of the ten campuses that were rewarded for achievement were also schools that recorded an abnormally high incorrect to correct erasures.

Among the 96 schools that were then flagged for wrong-to-right erasures were eight of the 10 campuses where Rhee handed out so-called TEAM awards “to recognize, reward and retain high-performing educators and support staff,” as the district’s website says. Noyes was one of these. (Link)

Rhee claims that the erasure critique is based on one school. Yes, the study focused on one school, but as previously noted, the high erasure rates from incorrect to correct were found at 96 schools, not just at the one school focused on in the study. And the study looked at over 100 schools that had suspect erasure percentages.

The high stakes testing game leads to lying,

Union officials say the pressure for high test scores may have tempted educators to cheat…”

“This is like an education Ponzi scam,” says Nathan Saunders, head of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “If your test scores improve, you make more money. If not, you get fired. That’s incredibly dangerous.””  (Link)

And, it can lead whole states to lie about scores.

States Lie about Scores

Let’s start with the smoking gun of testing lies, former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen,

“”…former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, who admitted that he “lied” about test scores on statewide education tests, deliberately inflating them to get Race To The Top funding. As further revealed by CNN, almost all of those states that submitted statewide test scores had “lied” about the results to look better in competing for Race To The Top funds.”  (Link)

Yet, the White House keeps touting Race to the Top.

When interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN, Governor Bredesen admitted to the lie,

L O’BRIEN (voice-over): Maybe not a misperception. After this revelation from Tennessee’s former Governor Phil Bredesen.

(On camera): Were you lying to parents about –

PHIL BREDESEN, FORMER TENNESSEE GOVERNOR: Oh, absolutely. I mean –

O’BRIEN: Out and outlying to parents about how well their kids were doing?

BREDESEN: In one case in eighth grade math we were telling 83 or 84 percent of the kids that they were proficient when they took the national test.

O’BRIEN: What was the real number?

BREDESEN: 22 percent.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1105/21/cp.01.html

Another thing to note is that while Race to the Top supposedly promotes “accountability”, it also requires states to commit to more charter schools, schools that aren’t accountable to city and state standards in the same way a public schools are.

New York

Not to be outdone, New York Has it’s own testing scandal,

The latest example of how test results can be doctored is the New York state testing scandal, which broke open this week. The pass rates on the state tests had soared year after year, to the point where they became ridiculous to all but the credulous The whole house of cards came crashing down this week after the state raised the proficiency bar from the low point to which it had sunk. In 2009, 86.4% of the state’s students were “proficient” in math, but the number in 2010 plummeted to 61%. In 2009, 77.4% were “proficient” in reading, but now it is only 53.2%…  (Link)

In order to meet the enforced proficiency standards set by NCLB, schools lowered the bar on standards to a level where the target percentage of students would be proficient. So not only do the test encourage lying, but they encourage a lowering of standards.

Waiting for Stupid, Man

In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,

Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film “Waiting for Superman,” succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.

KIPP academies have higher attrition rates than traditional public schools and enroll fewer students with disabilities and limited English skills, according to the study released today by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. KIPP oversees a network of 99 charter schools, publicly funded institutions operated by outside organizations, and enrolls more than 27,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia. (Link)

So, in order to perform well, they slough off or reject the lower performing children. All schools would perform better if they could just get rid of the castoffs. Instead of spending money helping the top students, why not work to make all schools better for all students?

Cities are also Manipulating the School Data (lying)

Obama’s Phony Memphis Miracle

Booker T. Washington school in Memphis, TN won praise from the President for raising graduation rates in 2010. This miracle was achieved by dramatically lowering school enrollment and not counting students who dropped out the year before.

Then the ‘miracle’ year of 2010, the ‘cohort dropout’ was back to 24.3% which, though lower than it had been in the previous two years was still slightly higher than it had been in 2007. But when you look at the ‘graduation rate’ for 2010 you get the often quoted, and the reason for the special guest speaker, 81.6%.
http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/05/14/obama-at-the-miracle-in-memphis

The question is, how could a school with a 24% dropout rate and a 55% graduation rate have an 85% graduation rate three years later? The answer is attrition of failing students.

The school enrollment was 760 in 2007, 732 in 2008, 649 in 2009, and then in the ‘miracle’ year 2010, down to 566. So the school had lost nearly 25% of its students in that time period, which is also the exact percent that the graduation rate climbed by.

It is this kind of misleading data that is being used to give bonuses and close schools and fire teachers. It is no wonder schools are dropping the non-performing students and manipulating their testing data.

http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/05/14/obama-at-the-miracle-in-memphis/

If you get rid of those in danger of dropping out, you end up with a lower drop out rate and higher graduation rate. High stakes testing leads to lying and does nothing to improve the schools that they are targeting.

Corporate Education Supporters Get the Help of Lying Statistics

A data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high schools graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

 Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

That number coincided with the announcement of Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan” that called for more charter schools and increased testing. Her plan was deemed too expensive, and the Superintendent has subsequently been fired. Again, a local school district, as they did in D.C., recognized bad leadership and fired the head of the schools. Perhaps this is why people in favor of high states testing love the top down federal government approach.

States are starting to Reject High Stakes Testing

Montana rejects high stakes testing entirely.
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/05/montana-just-says-no-to-more-testing.html

Moreover, newly reelected Governor California Jerry Brown has suspended the California high stakes testing model and is calling for more local control. In this, he sounds very much like a traditional, non Tea Party, Republican. https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/4130/

Actions and Links

Join the Bartleby project and reject high stakes testing.

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/02/join-bartleby-project-reject-high.html

Arnie Duncie, Secretary of Education, promotes more Race to the Top competition grants and U.S. Secretary of Health and Humans Services blames the children. I don’t this is an improvement from blaming teachers.
http://buehlereducation.com/homeschool/sit-down-shut-up-and-learn/

Fake Harlem Miracle

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/opinion/08brooks.html

Rhee lied
http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/the-rhee-miracle-examined-again-by-cohort/

Evidence of the Student’s First President’s lies:

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/02/michelle-rhees-miracle-teaching-turns.html

Rhee ignore the reality of neighborhoods in DC

Teachers take a stand against Florida’s testing grading and bonuses by returning money

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/florida.htm

DC lies about advancements

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-03-28-1Aschooltesting28_CV_N.htm

Rhee defends Erasures

http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/wont-someone-think-children-when-conf

The Hoxby hoax and the false data supporting charter schools
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2009/11/hoxby-charter-study-turns-hoaxby.html
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/accepted-assumptions-that-are-wrong-our-public-schools-are-failing/

Same kids, same lies

http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/03/06/same-kids-same-building-same-lies/

Visit your local school board today and ask them to stop the testing madness.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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