Thursday, October 24, 2013

Citizens for Public Schools presents DIANE RAVITCH

and my iPhone hot spot is working, so we'll do some liveblogging so long as the battery holds out. Posting as we go. We're also floating #cpsravitch as a Twitter hashtag.
Introduction by Ann O'Halloran, president of Citizens for Public Schools who hopes that Governor Patrick and others on Beacon Hill "will take a page from Diane's book--or several pages--and abandon policies that have failed"

Tom Gosnell, president, AFT, who starts out "Go, Red Sox!" and runs through Ravitch's honors and CV (she's a Wellesley alum)
Ravitch notes that Vermont, where she was last night, "didn't even apply for Race to the Top, can you imagine?"
epigram from John Dewey on wanting the best for all children
and the other "that steals the common from the goose"
"somehow the word "reform" has become tainted"
test scores not only the measure of public education, but the outcome of public education
era of getting rid of public education
runs through cities across the country where they are privatizing schools
noting that these are districts with majority children of color: "it's easy to give them away; their parents are powerless"
"about breaking down communities, breaking down neighborhoods, and turning education into a commodity"
NCLB: "can anyone say that no child was left behind?"
they didn't believe it when they passed it; asked Alexander (then Sec Ed) if he believed in 100% proficiency by 2014, "good to have goals" he said
"they never meant it, they didn't believe it in, it was a hoax"
Race to the Top "no part has any evidence or research behind it"
when the race "the strongest get to the top, the weakest fall behind"
"a few winners and a lot of losers"
wrote the book last summer: study that came out that our public schools were a "very grave security threat"
charters, vouchers, the Common Core, and more technology were the recommendations: "Certainly an odd prescription, don't you think?"
 "a lot of organizations that I used to belong to I got kicked off of"
trend lines in reading and math in national assessments: going up from 1971 to the presents
"high school graduation rates are the highest they have been in our history"
90% of adults have a high school diploma (sometimes it takes more than four years; they have diplomas, they are high school graduates)
"biggest closing of the achievement gap occurred during the 1970's and 1980's" due to desegregation, the expansion of early childhood ed, smaller class sizes, and greater opportunities for African-American families
"and for the most part, we have turned away from all of them"
biggest test score gains occurred between 2000 and 2003: before NCLB
the US did terribly on the first international tests every given, but we've surpassed all those nations on every other conceivable; "the test scores meant nothing"
"we've succeeded not because of test scores" but innovation, creativity
"thinking not in the bubble but out of the box"
Japan's economy has been stagnet, and they've had very high test scores:"what do you make of that?"
"they should be who they are, and we should be who we are, and never mind about the test scores"
Genuine crisis in that we are number one in childhood poverty among advanced nations
schools run privately are about risk management
"if you kick out the lower scoring kids, you'll have higher test scores"
technology: "that day hasn't come yet" that everything can be done with computers
25 year construction bond in LA to buy iPads;content and licenses expire in 3 years
"how long do you think it took to take the kids to break the security code? The kids are smart."
virtual academy: "virtual charter schools are the single biggest scam in education today"
kids get a computer; full tuition taken away from the sending district
very high dropout rate, very low graduation rate
proliferate because they're very profitable
K-12 started by the Milken brothers
Pennsylvania has 16 different charter companies

"we have a series of solutions, none of which have anything to do with the real problem"
theory that "our schools are overrun with bad teachers"
"he doesn't use the word 'fire;' he uses the word 'deselect'"
"you just keep firing the bad teachers every year and sooner or later, you're left with only great teachers. That's one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard."
evaluation methods are like throwing darts at a dartboard
"value added measures who was in your classroom, not the teaching"
gifted class: "your test scores won't go up at all"
example from Brooklyn "so by 2 1/100ths of a point, she was a bad teacher"
"To accept that this is real, is total insanity"
reformers beginning to backtrack: teachers really only 10 to 15% of test outcomes

On the Common Core: "I don't know if it's good or it's bad"
recommended field testing but "we don't have time for that"
standards are words on paper; they don't mean anything until they've been tried
"I don't believe in foisting something on the entire country at the same time that has never been tried"
NY parents didn't blame teachers or schools; they blamed the Core and the state
"building a tremendous anti-testing movement--so it's not all bad"

On TFA: hoax "that the very best teachers are those that have just graduated from college and have five weeks of training"
destroy the profession of teaching, because you convince the public that anyone can teach
references the Harvard Crimson editorial 

On merit pay: reformers: not a new idea
belief that teachers are hiding their best lessons until they get paid more "and then they say, 'aha! Now I'm REALLY going to teach!'"

ignoring poverty is the most insidious of the hoaxes
"what we should instead be talking about is restructuring the tax code"
"to say that poverty is just an excuse is cruel and inhumane"

hearing often "from your own Boston Globe" that charters and vouchers will save poor kids
"I've been hearing this for twenty years and it hasn't happened, but...there's always tomorrow" [to laughter]
"they like to call themselves public when they get the money, but then when they get into trouble, suddenly they aren't public anymore"
several examples around the country "how many times do you need to hear this until you say 'charter schools are not public schools'?"
Moody's finding that charters "are literally sucking the life out of public education"
consider who is most likely to lift the cap on charters when you vote

vouchers: never has been a state in the US that have voted in favor of vouchers; 17 states have them, always enacted by legislatures
Milwaukee: poor kids in public schools and voucher schools did the same
Milwaukee is one of the lowest performing systems
"the Governor, Scott Walker, is so impressed that he wants more people to have even more people can be in failing voucher schools"

closing schools does not address needs of children; it decimates communities
close 50 public schools in Chicago: Emmanuel who closed more schools at once than any other person in history

"if kids can't pass the test, make it harder"
solve the problem through big data: "don't have to go into schools to close it"
editorial board going into local school "and their eyes were opened, because they used their eyes!"
NCTQ on ed schools: "they never actually visited an ed school; they just looked at the reading list"
"what is the NCTQ? was created to destroy ed schools, and it's doing a damn good job!"
inBloom: created by the Gates Foundation "as is almost everything else these days"
400 different data points
"Now, do you want your child's personal data accessible by Rupert Murdoch?"
 "what kind of a world is this?"

"I think there comes a time when you just have to say, 'I can't let this happen. I will not let this happen to my child!'" [to applause]

test scores represent "opportunity to learn, not capacity to learn"
use of testing: children whose lives have been destroyed by testing
"I think there are people out there who really don't like children"

the idea that school choice is the "civil rights issue of our time...that you're not a citizen, you're a consumer"
responsibility for the public good
police, fire "even if you don't ever need it"
"even if they have no children at all, it is their civic obligation to support public education; it's part of the commons"
heading towards having a dual system: one publicly-funded system, can expel as it wants, and the other is dumping ground: "That's wrong and we can't go that way"

 achievement gap on the first day of school, and it starts long before school
recommendations: high quality pre-natal care "it's got everything to do with education"
US is tied with Somalia in the quality and access to prenatal care
131 in 184 nations in making sure our children are born healthy; "that's shameful"
early childhood ed
small class sizes
"a full and rich curriculum for ALL children": "all children should have physical education every day...I don't want any public official to lecture about childhood obesity unless they're prepared to advocate for gym every day"
medical care
if Bill Gates actually wanted to do something useful for public education, he would fund a medical clinic at every school
"every school should have a school nurse every day"
summer programs
to those who say we can't afford it: "we could just skip the next war; we could afford it!"
democratic control of schools: "no one mayor is wise run the schools...schools should be control by election"
charter schools should work in collaboration with public schools to meet the needs of children "charters should meet the needs for the children who are struggling"

the most important thing we can do is work on childhood poverty "there's something terribly wrong here"
"a great distraction from the great inequality that's become a cancer on our

"In Massachusetts, you could do something about it: raise the minimum raise"
strengthen the profession: "should not be a place for dilatantes and amateurs"
"principals should be master teachers themselves..."
"and only in America would you hire people who are not educators to run public's ridiculous"

tests used diagnostically: "only to help children learn better...not valid to use tests as carrots and sticks, it distorts their purpose"
best tests happen right after the teaching took place to see if the kids got it
and I am about to lose my battery...
"schools that are struggling need timely help" 
"if the school is closed, the LEADERSHIP has failed"
"the purpose of education is not to raise our children to ever higher test scores, but to prepare them for citizenship" 
responsible to choose good leaders and to sit on a jury: "when you're in the docket, you want to look over at them, and know that they will make a good decision"
"not about test scores; it's about wisdom"
"They will lose; they are not on the right side of history"

"Parents are saying, 'Not with my child, you won't'"
roundup of good news from across the nation on parents opting out, school boards staying elected (rather than appointed), resistance spreading.
Forecast that spring of 2014 will be the biggest opt out year yet.

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