Will 2011 be the year of fiscal austerity? At the federal level, it’s still not clear: Republicans are demanding draconian spending cuts, but we don’t yet know how far they’re willing to go in a showdown with President Obama. At the state and local level, however, there’s no doubt about it: big spending cuts are coming.
And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.
The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.
The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting and on and on.
Attacks on the teaching profession have escalated over the past two years, says author and education historian Diane Ravitch. She writes that the protests in Wisconsin are the result "of a simmering rage among the nation's teachers," brought on by attempts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores, threats to collective bargaining, widespread teacher firings and other issues. She predicts an increasing number of teacher protests, as such attacks and impending teacher layoffs continue. Click here to access CNN story.
The 2011 Annual Meeting of the Horace Mann League was held on Friday, February 18, 2011. At the Annual Meeting, Dr. Diane Ravitch, author and researcher on education policy, was presented with the League's "Outstanding Friend of Public Education" award.
Following the presentation of the award, Dr. Ravitch gave some opening remarks and then answered prepared questions from the members attending the luncheon.
Diane Ravitch and Julie Underwood.
Dr. Underwood is presenting the "Outstanding Friend of Public Education" award to Dr. Ravitch.
Shared by Dr. Cathy Hardison, Assoc. Dean, College of Education and Psychology, Heritage University
1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship.
If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship, their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.
2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time, even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents.
ALL STUDENTS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL!
3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.
4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 7th, and 10th games.
It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals.If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad football players.
"While 'most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence,' the research found that actually 'we often base our opinions on our beliefs ... and rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions.' These studies help to explain why America seems more and more unable to deal with reality. So many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the 'Do Not Disturb' sign, that they pick and choose only those facts that will serve as building blocks for walling them off from uncomfortable truths."
If doctors were treated like teachersby Joel Shatzty
1. "Charter hospitals" could certify "smart people" as qualified to begin practicing medicine without any prior experience in the field if they had had "some business background."
2. Since a "doctor" can "doctor" anything, a cardiologist would be on staff at a hospital in place of a urologist when there was a shortage of urologists. The cardiologist could "learn on the job." Of course, a general practitioner could be used in the place of any specialist since such a doctor would have "general knowledge" of anything involving medicine.
3. Whenever a doctor gave a patient a prescription, the patient's parents could come to the doctor's office demanding he or she change the prescription since the parents "knew better."
4. Because of a shortage of doctors, Mayor Bloomberg would institute a summer "crash course" in medicine for people who had no background in the field but "liked playing doctor" when they were little. Those who got through the six-week course would then be considered qualified to care for the most severely ill patients since no other doctors would want to do the job.
5. Doctors would qualify for "permanent license" if they showed by their rates of patient survival that they were "improving their scores." In order to do so, doctors would only treat the healthiest patients and refuse to treat the sicker ones to keep their rates of successful treatment high.
6. Many "Charter hospitals" would be established in which unlicensed doctors could practice the latest techniques on their patients, using the funds of public hospitals to subsidize them. Of course, only the healthiest patients, whose relatives cared enough about their condition to place them in a charter hospital would be admitted. Any patient exhibiting signs of serious illness would be immediately discharged and placed in a public hospital.
7. The average longevity of a doctor's career would be considered "normal" if he or she practiced for no more than five years.
8. If a hospital proved to have a poor "patient survival record," it would be closed down and three new hospitals would be created in the same building with nothing to do with each other but with three times as many bureaucrats running them.
9. Any patient who entered a doctor's care when already terminally ill would be expected to make a full recovery -- or the doctor would be considered incompetent.
10. A special program -- "Heal for America" -- would recruit students who graduated from the top colleges in the country but with no background in pre-medicine to "try to make a difference" by being placed in the most severely crowded and understaffed clinics and hospitals so they could know "what it feels like" to be a doctor, if only for a few years.
11. The American Medical Association would be condemned by politicians and health "experts" for "protecting incompetent doctors" on the basis of mortality rates in high-risk neighborhoods and the organization would be disbanded as a "menace to public health."
I (Joel Shatzka) originally posted a similar column in The Examiner almost a year ago (12/09/2009). I'm afraid, if anything, the situation has become even more dire for the teaching profession in the past year. Mayor Bloomberg's plan to publish the "ratings" of teachers in the press -- on the basis of test scores -- is one more example of the public humiliation many of the best New York City teachers have to endure in the interest of "educational reform. "
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FEBRUARY 12, 2011
THE HUFFINGTON POST
Background/Context: Current research on learning, organizational change, and the context of the 21st century yields insight into the needed fundamental reforms in our educational learning environments. Despite these new insights, schooling and school reform in the 21st century continue to be grounded in ideas based on the industrial model of the 20th century. Reform efforts in today’s No Child Left Behind environment reify static ideas about schooling, resulting in organizational entropy. Purpose: In this article, we compare current schooling practices and reform efforts to the mechanistic industrial model and illustrate why this paradigm is no longer sufficient in this “flat world.” Schooling and school reform in the 21st century continue to be approached as if these are a flatworm capable replicating itself. We argue that a new paradigm is needed—one that builds on current knowledge and human resources, one that is created by those who work and live in a school or community—which we have called Indigenous Invention.