SOS March In Your State! It's Not Too Late To Participate!!


(Crossposted) TFT Has Something To Tell You About Students First: Updated

This was originally posted at my students?first blog.

Michelle Rhee's Students First Facebook page, like Education Nation before it (prompting my Miseducation Nation response), has stopped allowing people to post on their wall. It seems to have happened at around 2pm Pacific on Monday, July 25, 2011.

This tactic is popular with folks who are trying to get their lies believed. They need to obfuscate, cheat and squash any and all dissent, especially dissent with facts to back it up.

Students First is in the business of convincing the public that poverty is a choice and can be overcome. Well, to be fair, they say that since poverty is such a huge problem they have decided to focus on the one factor in a school they know they can get popular support for--teacher bashing. They admit poverty is a much larger problem, and they go on to admit that it's too big for them, so they will focus on teachers, or something.

They are confused. They have no good reason for ignoring poverty as they claim to want to put students first.


Poverty's effects account for 60-90% of factors negatively impacting a child's ability to learn. Teachers and schools have effects that account for the other 10-40% (most researchers agree that the low number --10% -- is the more accurate measure of the effects. Ninety percent of factors fall outside of school. Rhee want to focus on the 10%, and she want one billion dollars to do it).

If it weren't so dishonest it would be funny.

Update: Here is the proof that my assumption about SF being responsible for cutting off access to posting to their page was on purpose and not a glitch as they first claimed--a claim which has been scrubbed and replaced with the truth:

1) Here we have two comments where the missing SF claim of a glitch used to be. SF's original claim, that is was a glitch, was transposed by Sahila:
"StudentsFirst is not responsible for the removal of wall posting privileges, nor do we sensor any material that is not deemed abusive or profane. Unfortunately, Facebook is experiencing technical difficulties across the platform. We are working on having the issue resolved, thank you for your patience."
It used to be between the 2 comments you see below, but it was removed.

2) Here we have the new comment from SF saying they did it, not FB, and they offer no explanation of the removal of their first comment that was a lie.

So, they lied, and were caught. And Michelle Rhee wants you to trust her. She lied. Again. Again? Yes, again. She lied about her students' scores as a teacher, she lied about all those screwed up teachers she fired as Chancellor (remember they were rehired at huge expense?), she lies about the negative effects of LIFO and tenure, and she lies about the root causes and solutions to poor school performance by our most vulnerable kids.

Why does anyone trust her? Oh, they don't. She's a tool of the Oligarchy, and trust has nothing to do with it.


A Poem About Me

The poem below was sent to me by a parent of a former student, found during a semi-regular clean-up.

It made me feel good, but it also shows how the test seemed to permeate everything.

This student, who is now on her way to middle school, is an incredible kid. In second grade she wrote this; she did this often, actually, as she put up with everyone around her who just weren't as bright. I think very bright kids like this one find ways to keep themselves busy and engaged in a classroom full of varying abilities.

One thing I made sure to do due for this poet -- a math whiz as well as poet -- was to have a few different choices of math homework for her, and her classmates, to choose from. I had a range of difficulty available, and allowed all my students to walk by the offerings and pick whichever one they wanted. I set it up by telling them there was no pressure to do any particular homework, but if they pick one that was a bit hard for them they would learn more--too hard though and they'll just get mad. I always had one homework sheet with simple addition and subtraction problems, but with multi-digit numbers; adding two 10-digit numbers makes the weaker mathematicians feel like they can do hard work, plus it helps them with place value, the typical sticking point for young kids struggling with simple addition and subtraction.

This allowed all the kids to take some ownership of their learning, and gave everyone the satisfaction of, usually, being able to complete the math homework on their own and therefore each kid knew what they could do and what they needed help on.  I always allowed the kids to look at each others homework and the answer sheet together if they chose. Kids that understand concepts laying on the rug with those that didn't all learning together, with no pressure, was a wonderful site. I could walk around and see everyone being both learner and teacher.

I do miss a classroom. I don't know if I could even do the things I used to do 3 short years ago, given how the reform movement has ruined teacher autonomy. I was corralled back then!

Remember, this poem was probably written in about 3 seconds, I assume. (I also assume Gravity was being explained because it came up in the story I was reading and someone asked a question about it. Knowing me, I stopped reading so we could discuss Gravity, as the gravity of the need to learn about gravity was gratuitous.)
My second grade teacher is funny.
Reading a book to us most afternoons.

Singing we are while he plays his guitar.
Understanding and being right most of the time.
Gravity -- explaining.
Everything on the test, mostly, is what he taught us.
Right! Very, very right!
Making us work very hard.
A very good teacher.
Nice and funny.
Three things I am proud of: she called me funny, she mentioned me playing guitar, and she seemed proud to work hard. I call that success.

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