Saturday Cartoon Fun: New Year Edition

Disaster Capitalism And Charter Schools

I have been away, and now I am back. Looks like I didn't miss too much. This piece, however, is long and necessary:
Katrina had presented an opportunity for what Naomi Klein refers to as “disaster capitalism”; “Within nineteen months,” writes Klein, “New Orleans’ public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.” (The Shock Doctrine, 5) The hurricane was the ideal opportunity to replace the public schools with a new system of charter schools which would serve as the model for a broader movement across America. Danny Weil, author of Charter School Movement, argues that this shows “how public school systems in their entirety are being targeted for sweeping conservative change in the form of a contractualized charter school experiment that is the most radical of its kind in the nation.”


Surely You Read It

I am on a little vacation in Portland with the Frustrated Son visiting the Frustrated Mother and her new Frustrated Boyfriend!  It's very nice for mom to have someone she feels good with, and the boyfriend is very lucky--and he knows it!  Good for both of them.

I read the Nick Anderson piece in the WaPo about Arne Duncan's failure in Chicago.  Did you?  Maybe you should!

Basically, while CEO of Chicago public schools Arne did not perform miracles.  In fact he may have done damage of the sort he is doing now.  Get critical citizens, media!

The Re-Segregation Is Almost Complete; Viva Revolution!!

Jim Horn over at Schools Matter is concerned about the re-segregation the charter movement (and by extension, due to the inability of the press to report anything real, the great, unwashed masses and our elected officials) seems to embrace.  We They are sowing the seeds of revolution--a revolution that they will be on the losing end of; the Have-nots have more people now than ever.
This new corporate system of penal pedagogy, enabled by spineless and corrupt pols who don't [give] a shit about the poor, or the children of the poor, represents the squalid end of the path of least resistance for a society blinded by greed, the culmination of a generational malignant neglect of the principles of justice and social justice, thus assuring the acquiescence to a policy of segregation, containment, and constant surveillance that is worse than segregation during Jim Crow. At least then the black teachers in the apartheid schools were professionals who had the children's best interest in mind, rather than the de-certified ragtime corps of white female corporate missionaries intent upon a few years of do-gooderism before law school or breeding.

Unless this corporatization of American urban education is turned back by a society that now seems intent upon ignoring it, we will have successfully planted the certain seeds of violent revolution, or worse, the kind of terrorism that, heretofore, we have had to look abroad to war against. Any economic system that, in the end, must feed upon its own children to survive, is doomed, as it should be. Just as any political system that enables such atrocities to occur surely deserves the same end.


Heck Of A Job...

JibJab 2009

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Cutting Off Noses To Spite Faces

Sent to the Pioneer Press (Twin Cities, MN)

One of the strategies Carver Elementary is using to increase its unsatisfactory test scores ("A school on the edge," Dec. 28) is "vocabulary study." Research consistently shows that by far the best way to boost vocabulary is through wide, self-selected reading. Picking up words by reading is faster than word study and gives children more complete knowledge of words. Wide reading, in fact, has a positive influence on nearly every subject taught in school.

Wide self-selected reading requires access to lots of books. For many children, especially children of poverty (38% of the Carver student population receives free or reduced price lunch), the school library is the major source of reading material. Study after study confirms that school library quality and the presence of a credentialed librarian are positively related to growth in literacy.

Carver Elementary is in a district that let all their elementary school librarians go four years ago. Now one middle school librarian is also responsible for three elementary schools. Firing the librarian and then instituting vocabulary study is like stealing all your money and then giving you a bus token to get home with.

Tori Jensen
President Elect, Minnesota Educational Media Organization

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Original article at: http://www.twincities.com/ci_14070492?source=email
And then there's this from Berkeley, CA:
Berkeley High School is considering eliminating science labs and the five science teachers who teach them because science labs were largely classes for white students.
America: land of the free (from thought) and home of the brave (or blind).


Robert Reich Blames Wall Street; Still

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people's money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street's exuberance.
Go read it. We are screwed.

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