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Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools gave this talk at the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice conference held in Seattle on October 1, 2010.
Look again at the issues the corporate reformers have made prominent features of school reform efforts in every state: rapid expansion of charters, closing low performing schools, more testing, elimination of tenure and seniority for teachers, and test-based teacher evaluation. If every one of these policies was fully implemented in every state tomorrow, it would do absolutely nothing to close academic achievement gaps, increase high school graduation rates, or expand access to college. There is no evidence tying any of these proposals to better outcomes for large numbers of kids over time. The greatest gains in reducing gaps in achievement and opportunity have been made during those periods where concentrated poverty has been dispersed through efforts at integration or economic growth for the black middle class and other communities, or where significant new investments in school funding have been made.
To understand what that means to these children and to our country, watch Frontline : Poor Kids
This process -- a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process -- is called "oligarchy."
The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
Woody Guthrie, arguably the most revered forerunner of the Greenwich Village scene had a sign taped to his guitar during his time in World War II that read, “This machine kills fascists.” And when he returned to the states when the war was over he decided that the sign was still relevant.
“People would ask him… ‘Hey Woody, Hitler’s dead, why don’t you take the sign off? And he would reply ‘Well this fascism comes around whenever the rich people get the generals to do what they want."
ALEC Exposed-The Privatization of Public Schools:
And more about the Koch brothers and their dad: kochexposed.org
Charter School Scandals
Charter School Scams and Scamsters
Class Size Matters:
Common Core Standards:
Democrats for Education Reform
Teach for America:
Confessions of a Bad Teacher: John Owens
Death of the Liberal Class: Chris Hedges
Dollarocracy: Robert Waterman McChesney
Reign of Error: Diane Ravitch
The Operators: Michael Hastings: Want to know where over 50% of each tax dollar is going? Read this book.
The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry
"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine
"Game of Thrones" by George Martin
In the queue:
"March" by Geraldine Brooks
"No Place to Hide" by Glenn Greenwald
"Any time hedge fund managers...when they walk into the inner city areas and start talking about poor children's education, it's not because they want kids to read and write, it's because they know that the federal government spends $600B on education and they want it and they're going to get it."
"There is something grotesque about the fact that education reform is being led not by educators but by financiers and speculators and billionaires."