Travels with Tony; Race to Coerce; ALEC as Paramilitary State; Land of Goshen Teaching “science”

Dinosaurs Two-by-Two

Here’s a bit of a news round-up from stories picked off the Doug Martin Wire Service.

The number one story is kind of a jaw-dropper for me out of Goshen, Indiana.  Tim Thiery, the author of this column, is described as “an eighth grade science teacher at Goshen Middle School (a public school)…wrote this for Indiana newspapers.”  (I don’t really know what that last part means, but I’d guess he wrote it to be distributed by a right wing group to willing newspapers that likely print Indiana Policy Review treacle.  Like any of the Schurz Communications papers.  But sadly, too, at possibly the best paper in the state, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  Oh well, perhaps it’s a clever ploy to out the, um, divinely-inspired…Anywho, here’s what Tim has to say about the way “School choice opens options for teachers.”  I’ve excerpted the beginning and end as in the middle Tim offers suspect polls and statistics from Oklahoma and Arizona (“oh no he didn’t!).

The fact is every educational setting is a choice. In creating a profession for the 21st century, teachers across the country have begun to take advantage of environments such as charter schools and virtual schools like never before. This is what school choice in action is all about.

Teachers, you are valuable, as human capital, remember!  Sell yourselves, my sisters and brothers!  Take your show on the road!  Or probably Goshen wishes Tim would.

A tremendous amount of attention has been paid to recruiting, training and retaining highly effective teachers. Studies show that effective teachers are the single most important variable in educating children. However, a system without flexibility and choice means that an effective educator who cannot adhere to the schedule of traditional public school due to family obligations or other personal obligations will likely leave the profession. Today’s options now provide flexibility so that we can keep effective teachers educating students in new and engaging settings.

Tim must take breaks to spread the Word in Ethiopia, don’t you know!

The future of education is choice and technological advancement, and as primary actors in our system, teachers are rising to the occasion.

In that scenario, teachers are expendable, Timmy.  It’s okay, we all are I guess.

Take for instance JuDonne Hemingway, a charter school teacher in Indianapolis. Hemingway, an educator, mother and Teach For America alumna, selected her charter school not only to meet her needs as an individual but to advance her professional goals. Her school allows her a small, collaborative environment free from many of the regulations of a traditional school. While she feels at home, she is also thrilled to be able to have a unique effect in her community. As the system evolves, flexibility and options such as public charter schools are attracting and retaining some of our nation’s best educators.

What Tim I think is saying, finally, is that he does not like teaching evolution.  He is a great teacher but he does not have any interest in teaching if it’s not church doctrine.

You can argue I’m being an ass.  Perhaps.  But this is Tim’s profile at the website for his missionary work:

In June, 2010 he returned to Ethiopia to teach biblical principles of economics, successfully launching at least one small business.  Around his “day job” as a public school science teacher, he continues to work to identify and network resources for sustainable small business developments in Ethiopia.

Tim is teaching “biblical principles of economics” to Ethiopians (we’re back to those 30 shekels again).  He has found his calling and he wants to bring it home to Indiana.  That’s hard to be mean about, right?  Tim’s just trying to help and for all I know he really does great work in both Indiana and Ethiopia.  But let’s put our Creationist cards on the table, Tim.

And, I’ll say it, I am no fan of spreading a religion as a kind of debt paid for medical care.

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Tony Bennett is getting Walmart money for his traveling circus and he’s in bed with Pearson. Karen Francisco, of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, on the latest conflicts of interest and corruptions in the Bennett agenda in her editorial, “More travels with Tony Bennett.

In a Sunday article, I looked at the frequent out-of-state trips Tony Bennett, superintendent of public instruction, has made since last spring to promote controversial education laws approved by the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly.

I began requesting information from the Indiana Department of Education in October. My requests were mostly ignored or rejected. When I appealed directly to Bennett, a handful of records were released the next day. In a note acknowledging that the information was not complete, DOE attorney Andrew Kossack – formerly the state’s public access counselor – stated that “responding to (public records) requests cannot take priority over the Department’s essential functions and duties on behalf of Indiana’s educators and students.”

That’s an interesting assertion given that one premise of my story is that Bennett’s extensive travel impedes his “essential functions and duties on behalf of Indiana’s educators and students.”

Voters will have to decide if his trips are a benefit or detriment to Indiana students, but they should know just how many trips he has taken. After repeated requests, Kossack emailed 31 pages of documents to me at 4:03 p.m. on Friday, when he was aware the story was scheduled for publication on Sunday. The information was generally useless, given that the travel authorization forms released do not necessarily reflect the costs incurred by taxpayers or by the foundations or interest groups picking up the tab.

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Obama Administration earns high marks for bureaucratic brilliance.  As you can imagine, that’s not a good thing.  In this New York Times piece, “In Race to the Top, the Dirty Work Is Left to Those on the Bottom,” it is made clear that this nightmare program was designed to bankrupt states and implement, or rather, infect like a virus, “education reform” without spending any federal money.

Even if you think the Obama administration’s signature education program, Race to the Top, will not help a single child in America learn more, you have to admire its bureaucratic magnificence.

First, it has had a major effect — reaching into most public schools in America — while costing the Obama administration next to nothing.

The Education Department will spend about $5 billion on the program, and even if you’re thinking, hey, I could use $5 billion, consider this: New York won the largest federal grant, $700 million over the next four years. In that time, roughly $230 billion will be spent on public education in the state. By adding just one-third of one percent to state coffers, the feds get to implement their version of education reform.

That includes rating teachers and principals by their students’ scores on state tests; using those ratings to dismiss teachers with low scores and to pay bonuses to high scorers; and reducing local control of education.

Second, the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, and his education scientists do not have to do the dirty work. For teachers in subject areas and grades that do not have state tests (music, art, technology, kindergarten through third grade) or do not have enough state tests to measure growth (every high school subject), it is the state’s responsibility to create a system of alternative ratings.

The states are now being required to come up with “testable” measures for “success” in Arts instruction.

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ALEC’s police patrol and other monstrosities: This story of how ALEC directs local police to bar citizens and journalists from access to their events offers simply a “this is how it is” narrative as regards the managers of your world.   This, from Phoenix, natch, but really the US of Anywhere; no wonder journalists don’t actually do any reporting–they’re all denied or detained.

This brings us to the interesting arrangement between PPD [Phoenix Police Department], [Westin] Kierland [Resort] and ALEC.

A few days before the conference, ALEC Senior Director of Membership and Meetings Chas Cirame sent out an advisory to conference attendees stating that, due to planned protests at the event, ALEC would be hiring additional security personnel to protect conference attendees. Cirame advised attendees to wear their ALEC identification badges at all times at the resort.

I had been on the lookout for additional security to see what firm of private spooks ALEC would employ. I had no idea ALEC had actually rented themselves real cops.

As was explained by Black during my eviction: all of these PPD officers on the Westin’s grounds–uniformed and armed–were actually off-duty and being paid, as one cop put it, “really well,” to help ALEC and Westin keep undesirables out of the hair of conference attendees.

These were true ‘rent-a-cops’– the best money could buy.

It MUST be clear that this is not some “conspiracy” theory of liberal media.  Your public, elected, state and even local municipal representatives are paid for by the corporations who fund ALEC’s network of organizations.  These are “private” functions where your public officials go to vacation and be told what to do, how to do it, when to do it.  Recently we profiled local Indiana ALEC star David Wolkins.  As local and as much a “good ol’ boy” as you can get in Indiana.  Owned by ALEC.

It takes a mind of willful ignorance and placid acceptance to imagine that what is good for WalMart, Bill Gates, the Bradley Foundation, the Friedman Foundation, the Kochs, and on and on and on, is good for you, good for your town, your city, your state, your nation.  What these organizations do is funnel money and control upwards to the very, very few men who own all the nation’s wealth.

Again, why, WHY, believe a single thing they say is sincere.  UNLESS they say something like “All that we do ensures you stay poor and desperate with a modicum of comfort so that you don’t want to jeopardize your life; we do this because we can, because we like being Lords; we don’t have single care in the world for anything that you prize, unless you prize us.”  THEN you can believe they’re sincere.

I am now utterly convinced that the ONLY option is complete and utter disobedience and disentanglement from the very ways of life that contribute to this.  YOU MUST START with your home–your town.  Your city council, your school board.  These same corporations that fund war policy and media propaganda and Apple iDistractions are involved in all the “reform” movements in education.

To Stop them you must simply say no to every single thing they propose and be prepared to fight.

 

Photo Credit: katesheets

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