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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Michelle Rhee, Wisconsin, and the Attack on Teachers

In Current Events, Education on February 27, 2011 at 21:47

Michelle Rhee has proven she is willing to fire people. Her short but impactful  (3.5 year) stint as Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, where she earned $357,000 a year, proves that. I too could fire 300 teachers as Rhee did for that much money. If I could only fire 300 politicians who blindly support the latest in educational “reform”, we would get somewhere. I would start with Obama’s Education Secretary Arnie Duncan.

The voters in Washington, D.C. did in essence fire Rhee by voting out the man who had hired her, Mayor Adrian Fenty. Moreover, Rhee and her policies were cited by voters and analysts as one of the reasons Fenty lost his reelection bid. http://markganzersblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/special-report-michelle-rhees-miracle.html

I commend D.C. residents who defend teachers with their vote while the White House and Congress continue their assault on the teaching profession with “Race to the Top.” Read more about Race to the Top here: https://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/stop-the-race-to-national-standards-and-race-to-the-top/ .

When she started her tenure in D.C, Rhee had never run a school district. She taught in Baltimore and falsely claimed that in three years she raised test scores of her low ranking students to the top 10 percentile.  Even if her claims were true, Watson the Jeopardy winning computer could have taught kids to regurgitate the answers to a standardized test.

In a February 26, 2011 interview on NPR, Democrat Michelle Rhee further attacks the unions.

Here’s how clearly misguided Michelle Rhee is in regards to teachers unions. She states in her NPR interview that, “…there is no organized national interest group that has the heft that the unions and other groups do who are advocating on behalf of children.”
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/26/134087838/former-d-c-schools-chief-aims-to-put-studentsfirst

It doesn’t take much knowledge of teaching to know that teachers and their unions are interest groups that have always worked on behalf of students. That is why people become teachers. They want to help students. So to state that there are no national groups working on behalf of children is to ignore reality and once again blame teachers and their unions for the perceived failing of our public schools. Rhee’s limited analysis also excludes the obvious economic and social factors that affect a child’s capacity to learn.

I understand that education is a complex issue and that there are many factors that hamper classroom learning. I also understand that Michelle Rhee seems incapable of looking at a complex issue, seeing the multitude of factors, and developing comprehensive solutions. What she is good at is firing teachers and laying the blame on them.

Alfie Kohn explains how the desire to fire and blame teachers has developed in our nation and how Michelle Rhee and other “experts” take political advantage of this framing.

They emerge from a specific cultural context. Specifically, this double-barreled strategy seems to reflect:

* an arrogance on the part of decision makers that expresses itself in a predilection for top-down control — doing things to people rather than working with them;

* the low esteem in which the profession of teaching is held. (It would seem outrageous for professionals in most other fields to be told how to do their jobs, particularly by people who aren’t even in their field);

* a widespread tendency to blame individuals rather than examining the structural causes of problems — something that distorts our understanding of such varied topics as cheating, self-discipline, competition, character education, and classroom management;

* the outsize influence on education of business-oriented models, with a particular emphasis on quantification and standardization; and

* the assumption that teaching consists of filling up little pails with information. If learning were understood instead as the active construction of ideas, it would seem odd, to say the least, to mandate certain teaching styles or a single curriculum for all students at a given grade level.

While there’s no official name for the dual strategy of micromanaging teachers and trying to root out the bad ones, it might as well be called ‘Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach’.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/operation-discourage-brig_b_777148.html

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.

Teachers are an easy target in our society that looks for simple solutions. They will be easier to control if Governors like Walker of Wisconsin and others can eliminate the collective bargaining power of teachers’ unions.

Clearly, Rhee wants to join in the chorus of lazy “experts” who want to blame the unions and ignore the actual factors involved in classroom education.

Rhee also discounts experience in her analysis of educational “problems” and attacks “LIFO” (last in first out) policies in many schools. Her lack of experience and over-inflated evaluation of her Baltimore success explains why she would go after experienced teachers. Firing tenured teachers is a way to save money in budget conscious schools and a way to go after unions. Like any other job, experience counts in teaching. The problem school “reformers” have with experienced teachers is that they will more likely question the top down, test dependant methods that are being forced on schools. They are a source of resistance to the high-stakes testing that has been promoted by our last two presidents and accepted as the norm in most states.

“Reformers” like Rhee and Arnie Duncan can’t put up with their authority being challenged. Thus, they must create reasons to fire long-time teachers that have good records and few if any complaints against them. Certainly, we have all had teachers in school that taught too long and lost their edge. However, that is no reason to fire experienced teachers.

Teacher evaluation in the states is heavily or exclusively weighted on high-stakes tests. At best, these tests score memory and how well students handle stress. Teaching originality, creativity, problem solving and cognitive reasoning are not valued nor evaluated when scoring teachers under this new testing obsessed regimen.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/operation-discourage-brig_b_777148.html

Links:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/25/AR2011022506611.html

More on Rhee’s  not so stellar performance in D.C.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/michelle-rhee/missing-the-point-on-rhee.html

Lies about Students First
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-strauss/students-first-and-other-_1_b_821865.html

Recall Walker:
http://scottwalkerwatch.com/?page_id=91#high_6

Read more about Race to the Top:
https://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/stop-the-race-to-national-standards-and-race-to-the-top/

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Issues and Party Positions, the 2011 edition

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Election Politics on February 14, 2011 at 19:25

I know some of you will see this as unfair. This is a general view I and others have of the two parties in Congress and the White House. And yes, there are exceptions to this. These are the general party responses and positions to these issues.

Issues and Party Positions, the 2011 edition

Jobs

Republicans: Cut Taxes

 

Obama: Deregulation

 

Democrats: What?

Environment

Republicans: Cut taxes, more drilling

 

Obama: more drilling?

 

Democrats: electric cars

Afghan War

Republicans: Cut taxes, invade Iran

 

Obama: extend the deadline

 

Democrats: What war? Again with the war?

Budget “crisis”

Republicans: Cut taxes, cut social spending

 

Obama: cut social spending

 

Democrats: What?

Education

Republicans: get rid of the teachers’ unions, cut taxes

 

Obama: Race to the top, cause education is a race!

 

Democrats: make schools better

Economy

Republicans: Cut Taxes, fewer banking regulations, cause we know that works

 

Obama: Deregulation, get those darn companies to reinvest

 

Democrats: promote the internet and phone companies

Election reform

Republicans: more money without accountability to anyone, Cut Taxes

 

Obama: Hope and change

 

Democrats: cuddle up to Wall Street some more or they might not give us their money

Health Care

Republicans: Repeal Obamacare

 

Obama: this is ruining my presidency

 

Democrats: perhaps we could rethink single payer maybe someday, kinda, sorta, perhaps—what do you think?

Hope for the Future

Republicans: everything’s good

 

Obama: everything’s good

 

Democrats: everything’s good

Your issue here    

Peace,
Tex Shelters

 

 

 

 


Stop the Race to National Standards and Race to the Top

In Current Events, Education, Election Politics on January 8, 2011 at 20:29

Barack O’Bush has done his darndest to retain the 32 conservative votes he got in 2008, James Garner fans who were angry that McCain used the term “Maverick”. One of his ideas to keep those 32 Republican votes he got in 2008 is to promote the idea of “accountability” in our schools. And by “accountability”, Obama and his Education Secretary Arnie Duncan mean more testing, more uniformity, more charter schools and more punishment for creative teachers that try to help students love learning as autonomous human beings.

Obama’s success has been to outdo Bush’s No Child Left Behind and its race to the bottom with his own Race to the Top (RTTT). Race to the Top is a high stakes contest that pits state against state for a pool of $4 billion dollars to be doled out in two, or perhaps three or more stages depending on whether the funding is renewed.

Here’s how Race to the Top works.

The basic idea is to force state governments to compete for $4.35 billion in federal assistance, with the money going to those states which do the most to promote charter schools, utilize standardized testing, and weaken workplace rules for teachers. Essentially, the scheme sets up a bidding war among the states for desperately needed funds on the basis of an anti-public education agenda that has been promoted for decades by the right wing.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/nov2009/pers-n21.shtml

Pitting schools, districts, states and teachers against one another for measly sums of money won’t promote real educational reform. It will promote rule following and conformity.

From the Race to the Top website http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html :

Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.

And by “educational reform” they mean how well they use tests to grade teachers and how many charter schools they plan to open.

To read about the application process, go here: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-27427.pdf

Link to the Race to the top score card and points system
http://www.edweek.org/media/racetoppointssystem.pdf

Instead of trying to fund the schools that demonstrate a need for funding based on material resources and help student’s need, Obama and Duncan assumed setting up a contest with winners and losers was the best way to get schools and local education agencies (LEAs) to do what Obama and Duncan want. Is competition between schools for dwindling resources the best way to improve schools? Is “racing” for money the best way to improve education, or is it just the best way to enforce compliance to a testing regimen that has failed in the past?

Remember, the states that get the grants are the states that have promised to, “implement merit pay for teachers, adopt national common core standards and assessment and expand charter schools all received higher points on their applications.”
http://www.hawaiireporter.com/hawaii-wins-%E2%80%98race-to-the-top%E2%80%99-funds-in-second-round

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. Both merit pay and charter schools are ways to bust teacher’s unions everywhere, but if you don’t start busting, you don’t get the extra $75 million as Hawaii received when they received the second round of pay outs for running schools the way the feds want them to. Where’s the tea party anger over Race to the Top that wants to create federal mandates and standards for schools that are run locally and by the states.

Many of the things promised on the Hawaii plan are already part of school districts all over the nation. They have to follow a core set of standards. Every school system and state follows a set of standards. But race to the top makes these standards national, as if every student everywhere has the same educational needs or not all standards adequately require math and English skills sufficiently to get them a job. http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/national.htm

You couldn’t trust teachers to follow the standards and they just might use creative non-linear methods to teach material, damn them. You must have some federal agency enforce a core set of standards. As one long time teacher pointed out to me recently, we now have a school superintendent in Arizona that never taught in public schools telling her, a 23 year veteran of Tucson Schools, what to do. He was elected because he is a wealthy Republican, not because he knows a thing about public education. We need laws that only certified teachers can be elected to head the schools in the state.

“Apart from the fact that they’re unnecessary, a key premise of national standards, as the University of Chicago’s Zalman Usiskin observed, is that “our teachers cannot be trusted to make decisions about which curriculum is best for their schools.”  Moreover, uniformity doesn’t just happen – and continue – on its own.  To get everyone to apply the same standards, you need top-down control.”
http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/national.htm

Once again, academics years away from the classroom, and politicians, few of who have experience teaching K-12 or teaching in a poor district or any where else for that matter, have decided what and how we should teach students. In addition, they decided we should compete for education money instead of providing funding as needed. This punitive model of education reinforces the stratification between students and districts.

Certainly there are bad teachers. And there are underperforming schools. But setting up a contest for schools to compete to see who will acquiesce to the federal government’s idea of what is good for students is more is something out of a reality TV than public policy. RTTT gives extra money to those schools and LEAs (Local Education Agencies) that promise to do what the government tells them to do. Only the schools that most successfully get students to regurgitate answers on a standardized test and thus get the highest scores will get the extra money. Also, the LEAs must promise the most uniformity and match what the federal government considers best.

So now comes “Race to the Top,” which the Obama Administration claims will reward only those states that raise their academic standards, improve teacher quality and expand the reach of charter schools. “This competition will not be based on politics, ideology or the preferences of a particular interest group,” said President Obama on Friday. “Instead, it will be based on a simple principle—whether a state is ready to do what works. We will use the best data available to determine whether a state can meet a few key benchmarks for reform, and states that outperform the rest will be rewarded with a grant.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052970204886304574308442726348678.html

And Obama and those who have wholeheartedly bought the high stakes testing model will tell you what’s best. The problem with this is that academic improvement does not take into account the various systems’ needs and punishes schools with poor populations who have fewer resources to teach to the tests. Also, standardized testing is NOT the best way to gage educational advancement, it only tells us what communities have the money to teach to the test. (See Alfie Kohn’s The Case Against Standardized Testing.)

Alfie Kohn talks about Race to the Top in this interview for Education News:

I see this initiative – which, tellingly, has been spearheaded not by educators but by politicians, corporate executives, and testing companies – as a further tightening of the noose.  It’s an intensification of a top-down, test-driven version of school reform that goes the next step to deprive teachers and local communities of autonomy.  It’s a logical extension of what’s already been done to us:  the prescriptive standards and tests issued from state capitals, Many Children Left Behind, and the ghastly “Race to the Top” (which is like a TV reality show designed to see how far state officials are willing to abase themselves, and how many ludicrous and destructive policies they’ll be willing to adopt, for money).”

http://www.educationnews.org/michael-f-shaughnessy/32471.html

I wrote my comparison of Race to the Top to a reality show before reading this. But Mr. Kohn is absolutely correct in his evaluation of Race to the Top. Whatever happened to improving education for everyone? It’s sad to see that this idea has been driven from our national discourse by models pushed by those that will benefit politically and financially from schools in competition.

Another goal of RTTT is to create a national set of standards. Again, I wonder where the tea party anger is on this one?

Alfie Kohn crushes the idea of national school standards in this Education Week article:

“Are all kids entitled to a great education?  Of course.  But that doesn’t mean all kids should get the same education.  High standards don’t require common standards.  Uniformity is not the same thing as excellence – or equity.  (In fact, one-size-fits-all demands may offer the illusion of fairness, setting back the cause of genuine equity.)  To acknowledge these simple truths is to watch the rationale for national standards – or uniform state standards — collapse into a heap of intellectual rubble.”

Then Mr. Kohn takes on the irrational promotion of competition based educational models for improving our schools,

“…And then there are the policy makers who confuse doing well with beating others.  If you’re determined to evaluate students or schools in relative terms, it helps if they’re all doing the same thing.  But why would we want to turn learning into a competitive sport?”

Education is not a zero sum game. If one school, or class, or student does well, it does not follow that other schools or classes or students can’t do well also. The goal should be improving all schools, not rewarding a few to the detriment of others.

The ultimate goal of national standards is to create a top down model that takes the teacher out of the equation. It is the dumbing down or our education system and a return to the factory model of schools that was widely discredited in the 1960s and 70s. They want national control because they don’t trust teachers (or their unions). And if there are national standards, they have to create national tests and make more money off the sale of test materials.

“The goal clearly isn’t to nourish children’s curiosity, to help them fall in love with reading and thinking, to promote both the ability and the disposition to think critically, or to support a democratic society.  Rather, a prescription for uniform, specific, rigorous standards is made to order for those whose chief concern is to pump up the American economy and make sure that we triumph over people who live in other countries.”

Yes, we want excellent teaching and learning for all — although our emphasis should be less on student achievement (read: test scores) than on students’ achievements.  Offered a list of standards, we should scrutinize each one but also ask who came up with them and for what purpose.  Is there room for discussion and disagreement — and not just by experts — regarding what, and how, we’re teaching and how authentic our criteria are for judging success?  Or is this a matter of “obey or else,” with tests to enforce compliance?

The standards movement, sad to say, morphed long ago into a push for standardization.  The last thing we need is more of the same.
http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/national.htm

So, we can cede our responsibility over teacher to a national authority that seems more concerned with creating drones out of teachers and students. We can tell students that show interesting in topics out side the core standards that they are out of luck. We can tell them that education isn’t really for their good, it is for the benefit of our nation, in reality our corporations, and that they better learn what we tell them to learn. We can set national core standards and ignore teachers’ creativity and local educational goals and the interests of the children and do exactly what the national government dictates. Isn’t this what the Soviet’s did in their schools. Do we really want to emulate that statist model? Again, where is the tea party on this?

It’s good to have standards. But let’s not standardize education for all students everywhere. If we do, more students will be lost because the curriculum will not meet their individual needs, interests or match the culture and economy of the place and time they live in.

More articles by Mr. Kohn:
http://www.educationnews.org/michael-f-shaughnessy/32471.html
http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/welleducated.htm

The best thing to do is reject national standards and Race to the Top at every school board meeting, every town hall, every PTA meeting and every classroom.

Give Education Secretary Arne Duncan the boot, petition:
http://www.petitiononline.com/2010abcd/petition.html

Race to Nowhere, a new documentary film

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461 TTY/TDD
Comments: 202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

Congressional switchboard 800-828-0498

Just ask for the office of your Senator or Representative

House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/house/house_comments.shtml

Senate: http://www.senate.gov/

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Memo from the Desk of John Boehner: A SheltersLeaks Production

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Election Politics on December 3, 2010 at 18:35

Just released are the patriotic priorities of the John Boehner House. Thank God we have Republicans looking out for the interests of the only class that matter, the Billionaires.

Dear Republican Colleges. We now have a 47-seat majority in the Senate and control the house. It is time for the final solution. It is time to push our agenda for a new, older America. What follows is our agenda for the next millennium, until the apacolypse.

1. End all taxes for those making over $250,000. The paupers should have to pay for the privilege of having us in their country. Or should I say, the paupers should have to pay MORE for that privilege. By giving more wealth to the well off, the nation will be a better place to live in. Reading the history of King George the Third, Marie Antoinette, The Shah of Iran and the Czar Nicholas I and the Romanov family clarifies that having a wealthy class makes you great nation. Why would we want to spoil it by making them (us) pay our share?

2. Destroy the Obama presidency. Obama’s caution on ending on don’t ask; don’t tell, his damn unwillingness cede his thrown to the more patriotic Sarah Palin, his extension the Afghan war, his continuation of the Bush torture and spying regimen, have all shown what a communist he is. The Democratic Obama is a danger to all future Republican presidencies mostly for one reason; he’s running his presidency like a Republican. Now what is a Republican president supposed to do?

3. End Big Government as we know it. It worked under Reagan, and look how the government shrank under GW Bush. http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0906b.asp

4. Forced Fertilization camps. Certainly, Republican legislatures in many states have made it harder for young women to terminate an unwanted group of cells that are taking over her body. That is a good start. But we need a national law to protect white babies, of which there are too few. So, we will propose a fertilization camp somewhere in the Bible belt (Oklahoma City or Waco?), where families can send their daughters, who are born in sin, to have their babies. And if they aren’t pregnant when they get there, we’ll take care of that. The contract for building the camp will go to Haliburton under the name “Fertilization Unlimited Camps of the United States” or F.U.C.U.S.

5. Tax Cuts for Backyard Oil Drilling Communists at the E.P.A. want to give tax credits for the unproven (just like global warming and evolution are unproven) technologies of solar and wind power. What we know is what we do best, oil. So, we will pass the Backyard Lease And Home Beautifying Loan Allowable Help bill, or B.L.A.H.B.L.A.H.

6. A Gun in Every Pot. Nazis in Congress and the White House think guns should be registered, licensed and kept out of the hands of criminals. Keeping guns from criminals is the first step in keeping guns from law abiding citizens. If you ban guns from criminals, only criminals will have guns. Thus, we need to make sure that guns are more readily available.

For starters, we should install gun vending machines on subways and in the bathrooms of truck stops. Guns should also be for sale at sporting events right next to the beer stands. And vending licenses around city’s parks for gun sale, like Lincoln Park across from the White House, Central Park in New York and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, will make us all safer.

7. End Obamacare. Our allies in the health care industry benefit from this law that will force everyone to get health care, but it doesn’t go far enough. Really, where are the death panels we were promised?

8. National Day to Celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birthday. This needs no explanation.

9. Start a new war in Iran (perhaps on Reagan’s Birthday). We could use Wikileaks for this. Fake a press release in Iranian or Muslim, or whatever language they speak in Iranibad, saying that they are planning to attack the United States. Ignore it for a while, then when Sarah Palin is President, blow up Dallas Cowboy’s stadium. Palin can announce it was terrorists from Saudi Arabia, but they have funding from and shelter in Iran where they planned the attacks. And there you have it, a new and patriotic war.

10. Get our paws on Social Security. Our banking friends, and stock broker Congressional Members, have yet to find a way to get our hands on that Social Security trust so we can make money off of it. So, if we tell people that the stock market always goes up (like housing), the idiotic American people will believe it and we can exploit what little they have left.

11. End all public schooling. Schools should be run by corporations what will teach children what is essential to function in America: greed and fear. Schools today teach hope, opportunity, and in the worst cases critical thinking. Our No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top programs aren’t destroying schools and minds fast enough. We need to privatize schools now before the public catches on.

12. End earmarks and balance the budget. No, just kidding.

More later. Congrats on your election you pretty things.

John “The Speaker” Boehner

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Texas School Books Don’t Go Far Enough

In Education, Entertainment on November 11, 2010 at 18:11

In May this year, the Texas school board passed their ten-year revisions to their public school textbooks. The new standards are the most God fearing, anti-science, pro-conservative revisions in history, but they don’t go far enough.

The Texas school board is trying to bring God back to this Godless nation. One way they can do this is by bringing more Jesus into the textbooks. Old textbooks would tell us that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion and protects us against government institutionalization of a state religion. As freedom loving Joseph Lieberman and former Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell both said, “…the Constitution guarantees from of religion, not freedom FROM religion.” (link 1) (link B)

There is no freedom from religion in this God fearing nation, and we will make sure that you aren’t free from religion, ever, especially in school. Religion is pamphagous in our nation, and resistance is futile.

So, we must shoe horn the truth into our textbooks that this nation was founded as a Christian nation, and no other religion should be allowed.

First, we need to replace the Bill of Rights with the Ten Commandments in all history textbooks. As every sane person knows, the Bill of Rights is unconstitutional. And other than the Second Amendment that enforces gun ownership, and the Tenth Amendment giving states rights, the Bill of Rights only protects liberals who commit crimes. We don’t want criminal protections in America. As everyone knows, being accused of a crime means you are guilty. So we don’t need the 4th through 8th Amendments and all the legal excuses liberals call protections.

Moreover, the Tenth Amendment allows us to do Gods bidding: cut Medicaid state by state, ban legally protected health procedures state by state, and lets the states decide on whether to have slaves or not. We will protect the Tenth Amendment with our Second Amendment rights to threaten people with our Second Amendment rights. (link)

On another religious note, we must put a statement in all textbooks that Islam is an evil religion that attacks innocent people and that Christianity has never been used as an excuse to kill anyone who didn’t deserved to be killed. And, all math was created by white Europeans and East Indians, Arabs, Mayans, the Chinese and other cultures had nothing to do with anything we do even if we do use Arabic numbers and French words.

While the Texas textbooks resuscitate the image of Joseph McCarthy, the God fearing socialist hunter, we need to start hunting and black-listing all non-Christians. One way to get the ball rolling it to put more information about all the sin committed by socialists like Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, who as we know was a communist spy.

We need to get rid of any mention of rights movements led by the devil’s henchmen: terrorist Mexican Cesar Chavez, Anti-war America hater Dr. King, Revolutionary Thomas Jefferson, Man Hating Cady Stanton and Julia Ward Howe, Muslim Malcolm-X, Indian Heathen Russell Means and many other socialists. What did these folks ever do for America anyway?

What we need to do is take the “rights” out of history texts and just talk about the right, like Ronald Reagan, our savior.

And finally, the Texas school board has standards that attack science for the heathen devil worship it is. Science is the devil’s creation, used to hide the word of God behind verifiable facts. (link) For example, all grade school textbooks will question global warming, thanks to recent vote. (link)

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.” (link) (linklet)

The Texas State Board of Education board members believe that there is an over-representation of minorities in textbooks. Most of these members are strongly conservative and believe that the separation of minorities should be done away with.
(link)

Two more links about the greatness of the new ignorance.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-cuts-thomas-jefferson-out-of-its-textbooks/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031700560.html?nav=hcmodulel

And remember, the United States never made any mistakes. How do I know? It’s not in the history textbooks.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Tex Shelters’ completely valid short IQ Test

In Education on September 29, 2010 at 16:50

Formal testing for intelligence started back in 1904 when psychologist Alfred Binet was hired by the French government to create a test to determine which children were below average ability in order to get them specialized education. The scale Binet created was quickly put to use as a tool not to discriminate between different abilities but as a tool used to discriminate against immigrants, blacks, and social outcasts.

“H.H. Goddard was the first person to make Binet’s scale popular in America. However, Goddard distorted Binet’s scale and relied on it to identify the allegedly intellectually defective people in the country; he even relied on his preconceived notions to label these individuals “feeble-minded” and “morons” from the Greek word meaning foolish. All people whose actions went against moral behavior were designated “morons.” These people included criminals, alcoholics, and prostitutes…

Most of these people failed the test, and Goddard believed it was due to their lack of intelligence. However, many of these people never went to school, and few could speak English.

http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/hcr/2001/nonfiction/testbias.htm

Not only were tests given in English for non-English speaking immigrants, the test included questions about U.S. sports not played in Europe (or elsewhere in the world), and consisted of U.S. objects not found elsewhere. Imagine going to Russia and taking a test with pictures of famous Russian landmarks only in Russian. You too would be deemed “feeble-minded”.

And the invalid test results were used to support the twisted logic of eugenics,

Lewis M. Terman also perverted Binet’s scale…Terman’s goal was to test everyone and then sort them into roles he conceived as suitable for their level of intelligence. Terman believed that society must first eliminate the feeble-minded and those people whose intelligence was too low for them to be able to lead an effective life.
http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/hcr/2001/nonfiction/testbias.htm

For more on the current cultural bias of IQ and other standardized tests, go here.

http://www.fairtest.org/facts/whatwron.htm

Now, on to the Tex Shelters Standardized Aptitude Test (TSSAT).  It’s a completely valid IQ test, as valid as the others. You cannot use a dictionary, a calculator nor the Internet to look up the answers. Answers follow.

Tex Shelters IQ Test

  1. Two politicians travel toward Washington, D.C. by train. Senator Jim DeMint travels from South Carolina after meeting with his fellow servicemen to gain support for Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell and Vice President Biden takes the train from Delaware after meeting with Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Who arrives in Washington, D.C. first if DeMint’s train travels at an average speed of 55 mph and Biden’s train travels at an average speed of 40 mph (taking into account the various stops in the NE for Biden’s train)?
  2. Name two reasons to be against the New York City “Mosque at Ground Zero.”
  3. Finish this sentence: The Republicans are the Party of “NO”, the Democrats are the party of _________.”
  4. What city was selected as the most liberal in 2008?
  5. How do we know the mainstream media is liberal?
    1. Keith Olbermann
    2. The owners are all wealthy corporations that constantly consider the plight of the America people over their profit margin.
    3. The lack of pro-apocalyptic radio and television programming
    4. Sex and drugs and Rock and Roll and other immoral behavior on television proves that television is liberal because only liberals like those things and thus they are pandering to liberal tastes, not trying to sell more advertising.
    5. Bill O’Reilly told me on the mainstream media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlNj8nbtwG8
    6. None of above.
  6. We all know that Iran is a dangerous threat to us. What country is the most dangerous threat to our American way of life?
  7. Name the most liberal stance to be avoided.
    1. Abortions within the first 23 weeks for raped women or when women would die if they bring a child to term.
    2. Background checks for gun ownership in an effort to weed out the criminals from buying guns or selling them to other criminals.
    3. Installing solar panels on your house.
    4. Believing in evolution.
    5. Being a liberal.
  8. Define “stimulus”?
  9. Mind is to thought as Republican is to____________.

10.  Which word doesn’t fit with the others:

  1. Business
  2. Apple
  3. Person
  4. Partnership
  5. Caterpillar

11.  What is the difference between a bomb attack by drone or a bomb attack by car?

12.  Why did John Lennon write, “I am the Walrus”?

13.  Who is more moral, an atheist or a believer in God?

14.  51 is to Republican as 60 is to ____________.

15.  Why is standardized testing a poor way to evaluate students?

  1. It tests facts not knowledge.
  2. It tests memorization not thinking.
  3. It tests how well students test and not the knowledge or understanding they possess of the material.
  4. It tests cultural knowledge and not academic ability.
  5. All of the above.

Remember, I am scaling this and that is what counts.

Please also take the Chitlin Test before looking at the answers. One clue to the answers to the Chitlin test  is that it was written in 1969.

Chitlin Test short version
http://wilderdom.com/personality/intelligenceChitlingTestShort.html

Answers
http://wilderdom.com/personality/intelligenceChitlingTestShortAnswers.html

Now the Answers and the scale to the Tex Shelters Valid IQ Test for Geniuses

1. This question has no valid answer. Republican Jim DeMint was never in the military thus he can’t talk to “fellow servicemen”, and Joe Biden already beat Republican Christine O’Donnell in an election and would never talk to her privately. Beside, Biden is an elite who now rides a helicopter.

2.  1) It’s not a mosque, and 2) it’s not at ground zero.

3. Best answer is to leave it blank because Democrats don’t stand for much. However, the words cowards, wimps, nothing, maybe, or “it depends on what the latest poll says” are all acceptable answers.

4. Detroit, Mi. Their liberal sin in Detroit coupled with their unionists, hip swinging Motown music and (black) mayoral fornications explain why these sinners have a bad economy. Sin led them to economic ruin. (link)

5. I know you libtards think it’s F. That’s because you are libtard. But the real answer is E. If Bill O’Reilly said it, so it’s got to be true.

6. The United States of America.

7. E. Of course, even leftists know that being a liberal is the one thing liberals must avoid in order not to be liberal.

8. According to Christine O’Donnell, stimulus is something you shouldn’t do to the economy or yourself. She’s not touching.

She’s the female Republican Paul Krugman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7qDABDvXtk&feature=related

9. Deficits. Minds can’t help but create thoughts and Republicans can’t help but create deficits. Now you might say, “but what about Obama’s deficit?” Well, he’s only had two years to screw it up, and Clinton reduced the debt and ended with a surplus. Clinton was a Democrat. (link)

10. Person, because it is the only word that doesn’t refer to a corporation. A corporation is a business, or it could be a partnership, and Apple and Caterpillar are corporations. But a corporation is not a person.

11. One patriotically kills terrorists, as far as we know, from safe distance; the other is placed in a civilian area by coward terrorists who want to kill patriots.

12. Lennon wrote “I am the Walrus” as a response to professors in England who used The Beatles’ songs and lyrics for analysis in literature classes.  “Analyze this!” he must have been saying. Plus, Lennon was an illiterate commie pot smoking hippie. He must have been in an acid haze or having a bad trip hopped up on smack when he wrote that. I know nothing about that.

13. It depends on your religion. What, you expected me to say it depends on the person? Muslims are the most immoral, followed by Agnostics, Atheists (at least they take a stand, unlike agnostics), Buddhists, Others, Jews (unless you are a Zionist warmonger kill Arabs and Muslims). Catholics are okay as long as they leave the Pope out of our debates. Evangelical apocalyptic cults based on the Old Testament are the best.

14. Democrat. It only took 51 votes for most of the bills to get through the Senate when President Bush was in office. Now due to the filibuster and the Republican fear to debate issues, it takes 60 votes for the Democrats to pass most things in the Senate. Thus, 51 is to Republican as 60 is to Democrat.

15. E—All of the Above of course.

Scale based on number correct. Remember, all decisions are final.

0-5: Feeble minded, definitely a libtard. Get sterilized right away.
6-10: Moron. Put down your Michael Moore book NOW and stop playing with yourself.
11-15: Marginal, probably Libertarian.
16-20: Smartish, definitely Tea Party material.
21-25: Genius, Tea Party leader with a great future.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Push Back Against Value Added Evaluations, Arne Duncan and the LA Times

In Current Events, Education on September 7, 2010 at 02:27

High stakes testing promoted by the Bush and now the Obama administration is hurting teachers, minorities, and schools without improving education in America. The only one who benefits from this scheme is the test-makers such as McGraw-Hill who stand to make millions if every state uses their value-added tests (VAT). Value added tests would be used in conjunction with Obama’s new “Race to the Top” model of education. What the value added test does is compare the students from one year to the next on reading, math and writing tests to evaluate if they make advancement. Then it grades the teachers on this one test on a scale from very ineffective to very effective.

That one test was the sole criteria for the recent judging of teachers under the value-added method (VAM). VAM doesn’t take into account changes in curriculum from year to year or changes in students’ lives, biology, or economy when evaluating their change in scores.

And the state of California, once a leader in education, have started to use the VAT in the schools in the mistaken belief that more tests will improve schools. Moreover, the LA Times in all their wisdom have decided to publish the results.

“LAUSD educators who have spent years creating classroom environments that challenge and engage students suddenly woke up one morning to find themselves stamped “ineffective” or “effective” based solely on their students’ standardized test scores.” (link)

Yes, teachers’ names with their evaluation were published without consultation with the teachers. The “ineffective” teachers were found guilty without a trial. Sure, the LA Times sent out letter to tell the teachers that their names with their evaluations would be posted in the paper, but the teachers were not given a chance to refuse the publication or defend their teaching.

While the LA Times says the publication of the teachers names was to help parents with school age children, it’s an excuse used to justify their decision. Any parent who wants to know about a teachers’ evaluation can call the schools or see the administration of the schools to find out information about a teacher. The scores didn’t have to be printed for the world to read in the Times.

I call for a boycott of the LA Times from now until they apologize for printing teachers names with a “ineffective” or “effective” label on such a dubious basis: standardized test scores and a culturally mismatched test over a limited amount of time, without warning.

Please sign the petition.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/boycottlatimes/

The Deadline is September 14 when there is a planned march on the LA Times.

Writer Sikivu Hutchinson is dangerous because she supports critical thinking in the classroom and clearly states that testing is not the only, nor is it the best, way to evaluate teaching. (link)

Time and again studies from such organizations as Californians’ for Justice, Harvard Civil Right’s Project and UCLA’s Institute for Democracy have demonstrated the danger of relying upon standardized tests as the sole criteria for student achievement and teacher effectiveness. The strongest determinant of whether a teacher’s practice is effective is how well they develop culturally respectful relationships with students, create a caring yet rigorous atmosphere for critical inquiry and critical literacy, connect with students’ home cultures, and employ multiple teaching strategies such as instructional conversation, sparing use of lecture, extensive group work and creative and expository writing. (link)

This type of critical thinking is only going to create students with thinking skills that might grow up and start third parties, create alternative energy plants, cure cancer, at the very least write some original and entertaining music. And that’s dangerous.

She adds that VAT hurts students of color more often than others:

…the Obama administration’s fetishistic emphasis on test scores as the major barometer of teacher effectiveness, a linchpin of its “Race to the Top” initiative, is especially insidious for students of color. For example, the disproportionate suspension of African American students is a national epidemic that has been exacerbated by the NCLB high stakes testing regime. Disengaged from school curricula in which they are not meaningfully reflected, African American students have become ensnared in a public school disciplinary apparatus that fuels the nation’s prison complex.

Black students are disproportionally expelled for minor infractions of schools rules and drop out at much higher rates than whites and other minorities.

The value-added sham won’t help parents and communities of color struggling to achieve educational equity for youth who have already been intuitively assigned a jail cell by a public school culture marching in lockstep with the teach to the test ethos.

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackfemlens.org and a senior fellow with the Institute for Humanist Studies.

The American Conservative online version writes that Robert Buddin’s study for the Rand Corporation on teacher effectiveness has little value.

“By design, the Buddin study only measures changes in student performance over one year.” (link)

Freshman in a high school statistics class know you can’t get verifiable information in a one-off student test with a small sample set.

Value-added evaluations will create a need for more tests and thus increase test sales and make McGraw-Hill more money.

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education supports the release of teacher data from the VAM study. Yet again, the Obama administration stands against individual rights as he has by continuing with Bush’s Patriot Act.

Mr. Duncan has run a $4 billion school-improvement competition — known as the “Race to the Top” — that led many states to change education laws to reflect his prescriptions. In May 2010, his department is distributing $3.5 billion for the overhaul of thousands of failing schools, and Mr. Duncan has been frequently to Capitol Hill to outline plans for a rewriting of the main federal law on public schools. (link)

Secretary Duncan is another one of Obama’s Chicago cronies that received a secretary position having little experience in the field, in this case education. Paul Street writes a scathing editorial highlighting Duncan’s love of charter schools, neo-liberalism and union busting. This type of ideologue should not be in the highest education office in the land. (link)

What Duncan did as head of Chicago schools is illuminating. He took credit for turning the schools around when they did turn around even according to the standards he promotes with “Race to the Top”.

Read More: (link 1) (link 2)

California Watch speaks against the LA Times list of Teachers Names

Researchers I talked with tell me that if this had been an academic study, the researchers would never have been given permission under human subject research guidelines to disclose the names of teachers.

Jennifer Imazeki, an economist at San Diego State University, wrote on John Fensterwald’s The Educated Guess:  “Regardless of how one feels about value-added, as a researcher, I’ve been shocked at the public disclosure of teachers’ names. Most researchers have to sign their lives away in confidentiality agreements if they want to use student-level data with individual identifiers. How in the world did the Times get their hands on this data without such an agreement?” (link)

Listen to the KPFK report on “value-added teaching” here:

Of course if you test more often, you will become better at testing. Thus, practiced students’ test scores increase. That doesn’t make students smarter.  It is yet another fallacy in the process of standardized tests.

Dan Goldhaber, one of the authors of the study, has ties through his work at the Center on Reinventing Public Education McGraw-Hill, the makers of the tests.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education, where Goldhaber worked on the study, is the outfit that hired the Rand Corporation to participate in the study using McGraw-Hill tests.

The American Conservative, not a hot bed of union support, says this method has little value in improving education.

In the meantime, teachers without Patton-esque motivational skills are going to get blamed for failing students.  Let’s give them a break.  In the long term, they’re probably not doing any worse than their colleagues. (link)

Why do teachers come under such heavy scrutiny and job pressure when CEO’s of major banks can ruin the economy and their companies and get paid huge bonuses and politicians that do nothing but obstruct laws or pass laws that are huge giveaways to special interests continue to get pay raises?

First, VAT is being promoted in an attempt to bust the teachers’ unions, one of the last unions with real political clout left in the United States. Secretary Duncan dislikes unions and supports union busting charter schools.

VAT is also part of the anti-intellectual climate in this nation. Teaching literacy and independent thought is a lot more expensive than teaching students to regurgitate facts on a test. There is also disrespect in this nation for the teaching profession.

Unless one has been a teacher in the K-12 system, it is hard to comprehend how difficult the job is. This ignorance leads Congress and states to pass laws to keep teachers on a tight leash. Teachers have to be kept on track (in line) with standardized testing and as much of their time filled with standardized curriculum. Teachers’ years of training, experience, curriculum building and study are devalued in this value-added model. No lawyer, doctor or Congressmen would allow themselves to be judged by such a narrow standard as Obama’s White House, Congress, and others ignorant of the teaching profession want to do with the VAM approach.

They must believe that if we don’t control teachers, they might go crazy and create hands on projects or give assignments where there are many valid approaches and strategies that might lead to a successful resolution.

No, the one size fits all model with a test for hundreds of thousand or millions of students in the same grade all over the nation is the best model because we know there is no variation in student populations based on geography, economic status, race, gender or upbringing. If we test them all the same, we can get rid of the troublesome teachers and students that don’t fit within our societies narrowly defined educational box. Conformity is best and will crush all creativity.

Thus, we won’t have another troublesome Eugene Deb, Howard Zinn, Medea Benjamin, Cornel West or Noam Chomsky running around. The only problem is that we have to find a way in this system to still nurture the next Ayn Rand. I’m open to suggestions.

Better yet, let’s just send them all the Kaplan for testing and cut out the middleman, the troublesome teachers. Then we can send them to Kaplan University.

Experts are Against the VAT, why is the White House for it?

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) convened experts in the field of education, expertise being what the current policy-makers lack, who came to the conclusion that “Any sound evaluation will necessarily involve a balancing of many factors that provide a more accurate view of what teachers in fact do in the classroom and how that contributes to student learning.” To put it simply, test scores shouldn’t be the only way to evaluate teachers.

It is important to evaluate workers, especially those that work with our kids. Therefore, we need to find measures that make a difference and aren’t destructively punitive. Using tests that cost millions of dollars is inefficient and expensive. Plus, there is no evidence to show that more testing means better teaching and more educated students, especially in the long run. Testing should be a small part of the evaluation process for teachers if used at all.

The LA Times Names the Names and Outs teachers based on Marginally significant data
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-value-20100815,0,258862,full.story

Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers from the EPI

Read the report
http://www.epi.org/page/-/pdf/bp278.pdf

Read how the test fails students

Sign the Petition and boycott the LA Times. Send the link to your friends in California and LA!

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/boycottlatimes/

Write Obama to stop this travesty

President Obama
CO/ The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500-0004
or phone: (202) 456-1414

Or send note online:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Yours,
Tex Shelters