Archive for the ‘schools’ Category

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John Adams’ body lies a moulderin

April 30, 2007

The founding fathers were great advocates of public libraries. Chris Hayes has a sobering observation on how the Zeitgeist has changed in 230 years. (h/t Henry on Crooked Timber.)

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New Orleans sinks public schools

February 25, 2007

Universally educating our children in public schools is a tradition invented by Americans, and the little red schoolhouse is as much a Norman Rockwell icon as apple pie. Yet somehow, beginning with Ronald Reagan, Republicans have decided that eliminating this long egalitarian tradition is “conservative”.  Few tactics have been too low in their crusade to crush the public school system, and replace it with parochials and charters. But under cover of the chaos and desperation in New Orleans, the Louisiana lege has plumbed new depths.

From mahablog via The Agonist, we learn how nakedly they have set public schools up to fail

When New Orleans went under, one thing that occured is that the State took over the school system. When it reopened the schools it turned a large number into charter schools. More than half of its 54 schools are now charter schools. The idea is to use the crisis to have a massive experiment which proves once and for all (contrary to every other experiment) that Charter schools are better than public schools.  <>

<>In order to make sure this is the case a number of things were done.

First all teachers were fired, then the Charter schools rehired the ones they wanted. Most of the rest left the State. Only after this had occured did the non-charter schools start advertising for new teachers. And even today, when ads for teachers are put out, the fine print indicates that certified teachers will teach in charter schools, and non-certified teachers will teach in the non-charter schools.

Secondly, unlike the non-charter schools, charter schools were allowed to cap enrollment and turn away students. So they have been cherry picking the best students and maintaining a good teacher/student ratio…

It goes on from there. The whole thing’s worth the read, but probably only after downing a precautionary tablet or two of Pepto-Bismol.

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Teachers’ organization finds a truth inconvenient

November 27, 2006

The producer of An Inconvenient Truth offered to distribute 50,000 copies of the DVD to schools for free. The National Science Teacher’s Association refused to accept the gift.

Why? Because it might jeopardize the funds Big Oil regularly pumps into science curricula. See, this is why the private sector is where you should always turn for things like education. Unlike that nasty gummint, the private sector is altruistic, and wholly free of any agenda. Especially from those icky liberal agendas, like telling kids stuff that scientists know.

Poor Al Gore. He shoulda made sure to have lots of product placement for Coca Cola in the film, then maybe he and his producer could have snuck a little science into our science classes.

[Update: in view of a NSTA press release pointed out by commenter “anonymous”, the first para should have said “offered 50,000 free copies of the DVD to NSTA for distribution”. The sticking point appears to have been the distributing, rather than the acceptance of the gift.]