Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Citizen's Encounter With a Charter School

I have on this blog exposed some of the unusual workings of Challenge charter school in Glendale, Arizona. In short, Greg Miller, who until recently, was Chairman of the Arizona State Board of Education. is the owner of Challenge charter school, from which he, his wife and his daughter draw more than $400,000 in salary annually. While this would set off conflict-of-interest alarms in nearly any other state in the Union, in Arizona it is simply business as usual. Last fall, the Arizona Governor decided he wanted to remove Miller from the State Board. Miller apparently could read the handwriting on the wall and he agreed to leave. As he walked out the door, Miller told the press that he agreed to quit if he got some assurances that the charter school he runs would get "political protections that I no longer could provide." He doesn't simply profit from his conflicts of interest, he's actually proud of them.

So when a parent recently contacted me about an incident of unprofessional treatment by the staff of Challenge charter school, I was not surprised. But that parent's experience should stand as a warning to other parents who consider doing business with the company known as Challenge Charter School: Arizona's First Official Core Knowledge School.

The parent speaks:

The other day we had a horrific experience with Wendy and Pam Miller [the principal and board member, and Greg Miller's daughter and wife, respectively] at Challenge Charter School. We had never met them before but we were the first on the list in 2015 for Kindergarten open-enrollment. We completed all subsequent paperwork on-time.

However, last Friday my wife received a patronizing voicemail from Wendy Miller stating that she reviewed our March 2017 updated information form and compared it to our February 2017 updated information form and found a discrepancy. She then continued by saying she was so sorry but that we would need to start from the beginning and complete an entirely new open-enrollment registration packet (if interested) and then be placed in the open-enrollment lottery. Moreover, she said “it’s not our policy to refund your $100 deposit but in this circumstance we will.” This was the least of our concerns. We were blind-sided by receiving this voicemail that had no information about the discrepancy or rationale, and it was the day before yesterday’s scheduled Kindergarten Assessment Boot Camp.

So, yesterday we showed up anyway and signed in at the table in the gym where Wendy Miller was standing. She looked at our daughters name and just stood there. I said “Hi, are you the principal?” and she said "yes, I am, let’s go to my office.” As we were walking from the gym to her office, I explained that we were blind-sided by her voicemail and that I would compare this to being accepted to college and then being told by the dean the day before that your enrollment is not being honored. She replied in a hostile and defensive manner “Don’t you dare be disrespectful to me like that do you understand? I am not going to have this.” So I remained silent and we proceeded to walk into the main office where she stopped at her mom’s office and said “I need back-up.” We proceeded to the conference room and they both basically belittled us over a question about if there was any special needs our child has received. On the February updated information sheet we said "No.” But on the March updated (Wendy called it refreshed form) information sheet we said “Yes, our daughter has received private OT speech therapy [which Wendy Miller in the attached video calls “significant” – we are not sure how she arrived at that considering how we simply wrote that she receives OT speech therapy.] The OT therapy we recently acquired for our daughter was (a) for speech enhancement (not that she has a speech problem) and (b) to help her not be frightened of loud noises (i.e., blender, public toilet flush, etc.). This was allowed by our health insurance so we accepted these services. We never requested special assessment because our daughter does not require it. She was already assessed by her therapist and any special needs therapy or placement was ruled out. But apparently, Wendy and Pam Miller jumped to conclusions and made this off-the-cuff assumption. However, they never initiated a prior dialogue with us about this before jumping to their conclusion which is apparently why they took away our daughter’s space.

They claimed that if there is a mismatch of information between February’s and March’s form then state law and their policy and procedures require that the parents lose their spot and have to complete new registration and be placed into a lottery. You will see from the attached video link that this is nonsense and that they have an ulterior motive (i.e., money/funding, etc). The fact of the matter is that the updated or refreshed information on the forms they require will not necessarily always match. That’s the point of asking a parent to provide updated information (i.e., address change, etc.) Therefore, there’s obviously something else going on here, and there seems to be a lot of "wrongs" happening. You will see in the attached video link (that I recorded on my cell phone) that the mother and daughter contradict one another too and not to mention are unprofessional school administrators (they have no checks and balances and there’s no fear of losing their job so they can behave like this).

One of the several contradictions you will notice in the video is when Wendy Miller says she doesn’t care what we wrote as the answer for the question at hand, but then her mother says that she’s already hired last month and essentially doesn’t have the resources for special testing (which, again we never asked for and isn’t necessary, but we weren’t given the opportunity to explain that). Additionally, Pam Miller claims that we weren’t truthful on the form. I then replied by asking her if we were lying and she said "Yes." Remember, this is a kindergarten. We didn’t steal from their office or commit a felony here. There are several other contradictions, aside from them shutting us down from having an intellectually honest conversation. Pam Miller says that this is an open-enrollment school and that no one has a spot until the first day of school. Well, we received a congratulatory letter in the mail saying our daughter’s enrollment had been accepted. Her statement is nonsense because parents have to know if their child has a spot well before the first day so that they can then find other options if denied. You will see additional contradictions, and will see that Wendy Miller tells us that this conversation is over.

I also have an 18-year-old boy (just graduated high school) and a 13-year-old girl (graduating 7th grade next week) in the Deer Valley Unified School District, and I’ve never experienced a crony capitalistic unprofessional school administration, like Challenge Charter School, up until now. It’s actually quiet shocking that this is allowed to continue without third-party inquiry into their inner-workings, especially since they are publically funded.

Video Link: http://www.gvglass.info/video-1.mp4

Shocking and regrettable! And an everyday occurrence in the charter school industry?
Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Is Your Job Robot-Proof?

It doesn’t take much observation of the typical high school curriculum to see that most of what is being taught is a vestige of a long past era. Geometry was essential to the ancient Egyptians, but not to modern Americans. Spelling, handwriting, and even writing itself have little to do with contemporary communication. My wife can’t understand why I still type instant messages instead of speak them into my smart phone.

The future is robots and artificial intelligence. Profit-seeking individuals and corporations demand it. Ford motor company recently ear-marked $1 billion for R&D on robotics, in an industry in which humans are already disappearing from the assembly line.

My father left school at age 14 and started work as an apprentice printer in 1923. He worked as a dues-paying member of the International Typographical Union for nearly 40 years. In the mid-1960s, his union struck against the introduction of computers into the composing room. He never worked another day as a printer. When he retired, the ITU’s pension fund was broke. "Printer" was the first occupation to be wiped out by computers. But it was hardly the last.

Recently, David Brancaccio and Katy Long undertook to catalogue various occupations as either 100% robot-proof (i.e., unlikely to be replaced by computers and AI) or 0% robot-proof. My father’s job was 0%, and it happened so long ago that Brancaccio and Long didn’t even bother to mention it. Here are their two lists:

    0% Automatable (Most Robot-Proof)
  • Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Animal Scientists
  • Animal Trainers
  • Astronomers
  • Athletes and Sports Competitors
  • Clergy
  • Dancers
  • Directors, Religious Activities and Education
  • Historians
  • Mathematical Technicians
  • Models
  • Music Directors and Composers
  • Religious Workers, All Other
  • Roof Bolters, Mining
    100% Automatable (Least Robot-Proof)
  • Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors
  • Dredge Operators
  • Foundry Mold and Coremakers
  • Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products
  • Logging Equipment Operators
  • Machine Feeders and Offbearers
  • Medical Appliance Technicians
  • Motion Picture Projectionists
  • Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians
  • Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
  • Plasterers and Stucco Masons
  • Slaughterers and Meat Packers
We can conclude a couple of things from these lists.

1) The robot-proof jobs have to do with the arts, sports, entertainment, and – shall we say – spiritual pursuits.

2) The jobs replaceable by computers, AI, and robots are the mid-level trades that employ the bulk of the nation’s workforce.

Going beyond the lists to the question of what is the role of public education in job training for the future, one can only conclude that our schools are in big trouble – and not in the way that most people think of trouble. Most of what is being taught is worthless, either for personal development or for life as a wage earner after schooling is done. Virtually all of what is tested for in the current madness of high-stakes paper-and-pencil achievement testing is irrelevant. It won’t prepare you for a job, and it won’t enrich your life for all those hours, days, weeks and years ahead when you are not working.

The transformation of work that is going on all around us is of utmost importance. It will have major implications for a topic that that absolutely paralyzing the thinking of political conservatives everywhere: entitlements. What will become of tens of millions of people who have no way to contribute to the nation’s economy? Will that tiny fraction of the population who can create real value support them, or will they look down their noses at them and ignore them? Few are willing to face the implications of a future of no work without moralizing or yearning for an atavistic era that will never return.

Is your job robot-proof? The answer for the vast majority of the U.S. workforce is regrettably, "No."

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What Goes Around Comes Around: Voucher Scammers Get Scammed

Republicans in the Arizona legislature recently passed a significant expansion of the "Empowerment Scholarship" program -- a thinly disguised voucher program adopted years ago and slightly expanded in each subsequent year.

Originally intended only for special needs students, it was broadened to include children of military serving in Iraq & Afghanistan, and then children living on Indian reservations. The cynical intent is obvious.

The latest incarnation of the program will expand the program by 5,000 students per year until a cap of 30,000 is reached.

Even Republicans were reluctant to support the expansion, probably because of persistent non-support of vouchers among the voting public. The latest PDK Gallup poll continues to show more than 60% of parents opposed.

Big lobby pressure to expand the program came from the local Goldwater Institute. When a compromise on the 5,000 per year expansion was reached, the reluctant Republicans fell in line.

But as soon as the bill was signed by AZ governor Ducey, Goldwater CEO Darcy Olsen sent emails to the Institute's donors and friends stating that soon they would achieve a lifting of all limits. Republicans in the legislature felt betrayed, as they obviously were.

So deception, mendacity, and treachery are the order of the day in the nation's #1 legislature for school choice.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Arizona's Neo-Vouchers: The Camel is in the Tent

NEPC's Kevin Welner called them "neo-vouchers": tax credits and "scholarships" that attempt to hide their intent behind deceitful labels.

On Thursday night, April 6, 2017, a Republican dominated Arizona Legislature passed a significant expansion of a voucher program that has been in effect since 2011. Governor Ducey, founder of the ice cream parlor chain Cold Stone Creamery, promised to sign the bill into law.

The Empowerment Scholarships -- vouchers by another name -- were originally available only to a highly limited number of students: those with special needs; children of military personnel stationed in areas of conflict, and a few others. But in classic camel's-nose-under-the-tent fashion, each year the Legislature pushed the limits a little broader: students on Indian reservations, for example. The "scholarships" may be redeemed at private schools, religious or otherwise. Recent research has established that the vouchers are going primarily to upper-middle class families.

The bill that will soon become Arizona law will gradually expand the program to all sorts of students until a cap of 30,000 is reached in a few years. But expect the boundaries to expand further as an emboldened Legislature introduces future bills.

With a sizable portion of its students being Hispanic and a sizable portion of its taxpayers being White retirees, look to Arizona to be the leader in the destruction of the public school system.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fed's "Gold Standard" Produces Fool's Gold

As a new administration moves into the US Department of Education, the opportunity arises to review and assess the Department's past practices. A recent publication goes to the heart of how US DOE has been attempting to influence public education. Unfortunately, in an effort to justify millions of dollars spent on research and development, bureaucrats pushed a favorite instructional program that teachers flatly rejected.

The Gold Standard

There is a widespread belief that the best way to improve education is to get practitioners to adopt practices that "scientific" methods have proven to be effective. These increasingly sophisticated methods are required by top research journals and for federal government improvement initiatives such as Investing in Innovation (i3) Initiative to fund further research or dissemination efforts. The US DOE established the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) to identify the scientific gold-standards and apply them to certify for practitioners which programs "work." The Fed's "gold standard" is the Randomized Comparative Trial (RCT). In addition, there have been periodic implementations of US DOE policies that require practitioners to use government funds only for practices that the US DOE has certified to be effective.

However, an important new article published by Education Policy Analysis Archives, concludes that these gold-standard methods misrepresent the actual effectiveness of interventions and thereby mislead practitioners by advocating or requiring their use. The article is entitled “The Failure of the U.S. Education Research Establishment to Identify Effective Practices: Beware Effective Practices Policies.”

The Fool's Gold

Earlier published work by the author, Professor Stanley Pogrow of San Francisco State University, found that the most research validated program, Success for All, was not actually effective. Quite the contrary! Pogrow goes further and analyzes why these gold-standard methods can not be relied on to guide educators to more effective practice.

The Need For a New Standard

Key problems with the Randomized Comparative Trial include (1) the RCT almost never tells you how the experimental students actually performed, (2) that the difference between groups that researchers use to consider a program to be effective is typically so small that it is “difficult to detect” in the real world, and (3) statistically manipulating the data to the point that the numbers that are being compared are mathematical abstractions that have no real world meaning—and then trying to make them intelligible with hypothetical extrapolations such the difference favoring the experimental students is the equivalent of increasing results from the 50th to the 58th percentile, or an additional month of learning. The problem is that we do not know if the experimental students actually scored at the 58th or 28th percentile. So in the end, we end up not knowing how students in the intervention actually performed, and any benefits that are found are highly exaggerated.

Pogrow also shows that the notion that science requires the use of RCTs is wrong. Even the medical profession, which does use gold-standard experimental techniques to test the effectiveness of medicines, uses much simpler scientific methods without controlled experiments in other areas of clinical practice such as obstetrics and improving health care delivery in complex organizations such as hospitals. The latter methods, called “improvement science,” appear more relevant to identifying scalable effective practices in the complex settings of schools.

The “rigorous” gold-standard WWC-type method derived from the traditions of the psychology lab are also creating misleading results for clinical practice in psychology and psychiatry. There is increasing criticism of the practicality and applicability of the RCT for guiding professional practice in all complex organizations.

Dr. Pogrow concludes that current federal initiatives to disseminate programs “proven to be effective” are of little value, and that a recent call to establish a new round of expanded “Effective Practices Policies” is a dangerous and unwarranted intrusions into local decision-making. He urges the profession to resist seductive calls and bureaucratic pressure from the US DOE to adopt such policies. His message for the Feds and his colleagues in the professoriate is to (1) suspend the activities of the What Works Clearinghouse and i3 dissemination efforts, and to (2) develop methods that can certify which interventions consistently produce clearly observable benefits in real world context. The latter requires an expanded conception of what science is and how we teach applied research methods.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Arizona Republicans Want to Prohibit Teaching Social Justice

Just like freedom of speech, everybody thinks there should be academic freedom until a teacher does something they don’t agree with. Such is the case with Representatives Thorpe and Finchem of the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Thorpe and Finchem have introduced HB 2120 that prohibits schools and colleges receiving state monies from teaching “social justice” or any other thing that would lead to “division” among the races or ethnic groups. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the State Board of Education would be given the power to determine if a school was in violation of the bill’s prohibitions. Schools found in violation of the law – if the bill were to win support – may be fined 10% of their state allocation. In the case of a large school district, community college, or any of the three state universities, that would amount to a lot of money – like, millions.

It’s hard to see such bills as anything other than raw meat thrown to the base; but in the case of Arizona, stupider things than passing such bills have happened.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Conflicts of Interest in Arizona -- They Don't Exist

Greg Miller, until recently, was Chairman of the Arizona State Board of Education. The fact that Miller also owns a charter school in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, from which he, his wife and his daughter draw more than $400,000 in salary annually is nothing special in the state of Arizona. You see, Arizona really doesn't believe in conflicts of interest. By state law, all that one must do is publicly record one's conflicts -- nothing else. No blind trusts, no selling or handing over assets to trustees, none of that. Just say that you own a dairy and that your state office buys a million dollars of milk from your dairy every year, and you are clean.

Last fall the Arizona Governor decided he wanted to remove Miller from the State Board. Miller apparently could read the handwriting on the wall and he agreed to leave. As he walked out the door, Miller told the press that he agreed to quit if he could control the wording of the press release, the timing of the announcement and got some assurances that the charter school he runs would get "political protections that I no longer could provide."

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. Miller used his position as Chair of the State Board of Education not just to promote privatization of the public school system, but also to protect his own stake in the privatization campaign, his family's Challenge Charter School.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

GOP Platform on Education

The Republican convention in Cleveland has -- no surprise -- brought forth its platform today. The sections referring to K-12 education also contain no surprises. They follow:
We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.

Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation.

We call for removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families, and restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation that close the opportunity door to all but a favored few. We will continue our fight for school choice until all parents can find good, safe schools for their children.

Education: A Chance for Every Child
Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity. That is why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces from outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have done immense damage. The federal government should not be a partner in that effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education. At the heart of the American Experiment lies the greatest political expression of human dignity: The self- evident truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations. We reject a one- size-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our long- standing opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it. Their education reform movement calls for choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of local control of our schools and it wisely sees consumer rights in education — choice — as the most important driving force for renewing education. It rejects excessive testing and “teaching to the test” and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs. Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education in which all students can reach their potential.

We applaud America’s great teachers, who should be protected against frivolous lawsuits and should be able to take reasonable actions to maintain discipline and order in the classroom. Administrators need flexibility to innovate and to hold accountable all those responsible for student performance. A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high school districts.

Rigid tenure systems should be replaced with a merit-based approach in order to attract the best talent to the classroom. All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.

Academic Excellence for All
Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education in which all students can reach their potential. Republicans are leading the effort to create it. Since 1965, the federal government, through more than 100 programs in the Department of Education, has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with little substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates. The United States spends an average of more than $12,000 per pupil per year in public schools, for a total of more than $620 billion. That represents more than 4 percent of GDP devoted to K-12 education in 2011-2012. Of that amount, federal spending amounted to more than $57 billion. Clearly, if money were the solution, our schools would be problem-free. More money alone does not necessarily equal better performance. After years of trial and error, we know the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement: Choice in education; building on the basics; STEM subjects and phonics; career and technical education; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, it must be a key element in our efforts to provide every child equal access and opportunity. We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers.

Choice in Education
We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits. Empowering families to access the learning environments that will best help their children to realize their full potential is one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time. A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status. We propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them.

In sum, on the one hand enormous amounts of money are being spent for K-12 public education with overall results that do not justify that spending level. On the other hand, the common experience of families, teachers, and administrators forms the basis of what does work in education. In Congress and in the states, Republicans are bridging the gap between those two realities. Congressional Republicans are leading the way forward with major reform legislation advancing the concept of block grants and repealing numerous federal regulations which have interfered with state and local control of public schools. Their Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act — modernizing workforce programs, repealing mandates, and advancing employment for persons with disabilities — is now law. Their legislation to require transparency in unfunded mandates imposed upon our schools is advancing. Their D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program should be expanded as a model for the rest of the country. We deplore the efforts of Congressional Democrats and the current President to eliminate this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions.

To ensure that all students have access to the mainstream of American life, we support the English First approach and oppose divisive programs that limit students’ ability to advance in American society. We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs. The federal government has pushed states to collect and share vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data. Much of this data is collected without parental consent or notice. This is wholly incompatible with the American Experiment and our inalienable rights.

We urge state education officials to promote the hiring of qualified veterans as teachers in our public schools. Their proven abilities and life experiences will make them more successful instructors and role models for students than would any teaching certification.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Bill Gates Won't Be Raising Chickens

When asked recently how the poor can lift themselves out of poverty, Bill Gates answered that they should raise chickens. And then preceded to explain why raising chickens is a nifty way to survive the crushing hand of poverty for the world's billions of abject poor.

Anyone who has traveled through the American Southeast -- Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama -- will see hundreds, no thousands, of deserted chicken coops. They were built by people desperately trying to rise out of poverty and who signed contracts with the Tyson corporation to raise chickens. But the contract had some provisions in it. They had to buy their eggs from Tyson, and the feed, and when the chickens were ready for market, Tyson was to be the only market. Tyson named their prices from start to finish; and when disease or disaster wiped out a crop, as it often inevitably did, the chicken farmer went broke and the coops were abandoned. Sure, Bill Gates, just raise chickens.

Gates, one will recall, is the man who once said that if you are born poor, it is not your fault, but if you die poor, it is your fault. This man is monumentally insensitive and he thinks he has the answers to the world's problems.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Education Week: Fair and Balanced

Education Week, the erstwhile serious outlet for news about public education, has taken a turn.

Today, Ed Week published a puff piece extolling the virtues of charter schools. One must read to the very bottom to see that the writing of the article was funded by the Walton Foundation — yes, the Wal*Mart family. Education Week, which used to be a somewhat "fair and balanced" outlet for education news has recently been accepting big gifts from the likes of Bill Gates Foundation, the Walton foundation, and others who promote, technology, privatization, and anti-union views.

Ever since the Gates Foundation bestowed its gift of $100,000 on Ed Week, there seems to be an increase of articles on the benefits of online teaching and learning.

Ed Week may be in the process of selling its objectivity to the big bidders. Will it become the Fox News of the education news world?

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
~            
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
~            
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.