Sunday, November 17, 2013

Check Out Some of Arne's Homies from The Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization Education Department

Minister of Ed Reform Arne Duncan Counts as High as He Can Go with One Hand

While alluding to the Minister of Ed Reform's shockingly stupid remarks yesterday I really didn't have enough to get any traction with them but as with any moron, a little time and a decent piece of rope and you've got yourself a story. Seems Arneth Duncan was having one of those rarified air conversations with, well, with guys you and I aren't important enough to have conversations with. In this case it was, deep breath here folks, the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization Education Department. Oh that one, yeah. Well I am going to leave Arneth's incredibly fortunate remarks for so may other folks to tear into. He is a dolt, a doofus and from most beltwags will tell you he mainly came to D.C. as something between a heavy bag and a tackling dummy to keep Obama's hoop skills up. He is neither the best nor the brightest but a dunce with an uncorrected speech impediment most folks get taken care of as kids. Sorry to be so brutal but fuck him.  Who you may ask are these Olympians of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization? Oh they're quite a crew let as I discovered with nothing more than about a half dozen horrifying google searches. We'll start close to home with  
  • New York's delegate who is none other than our own Lil John King, Meryl Tisch's lapdog and the stooge of the corporate privatization movement pushing Pearson's, Cuomo's, Gates' and Murdoch's interests while doing his damnedest to destroy public education and de-professionalize a profession he hid from in charter schools for 2 years less than the minimum requirement to take the position he was given by Tisch and Co.  John King was baffled to receive letters from parents concerned that their kids' school work was not age appropriate and was making their kids hate school. He explained to a stunned audience in Saratoga that when he is brought a lousy bottle of wine he doesn't ask the waiter to get him a better one, he just drinks it. Likewise, if he were served flank steak with whip marks from the jockey still visible he wouldn't raise a fuss, he'd simply get to chewing. This kind of invertebrate is what passes for leadership in an Oligarchy like the flatulent, wheezing New York State Regents. Any schmuck who won't say shite with a mouthful and is willing to go out night after night and be pilloried by angry parents, teachers and citizens is the right guy for the job. King has demonstrated he stands with Cuomo and Big Business and has no interest in the good of New York's students or its teachers or parents.

  • Next door in New Jersey dwells another test fetishist named Chris Cerf. Cerf, using classic reformese Schlock and Awe attempts to terrorize Jerseyeans into buying his agenda of test, test and test again claiming as "reformers" alway do the need to be "globally competitive" and "college and career ready." A retired Jersey teacher Frank Breslin puts it this way: Teaching only the basics is the rankest of follies, since one would be taught only to crawl, but never to run; be given only the building blocks, but no idea of what to do with them; be able to survive, but not know the things worth surviving for.Yet this is precisely what is occurring in New Jersey today. Chris Cerf, commissioner of education, in essence is saying: “Away with everything except tests and preparing for them! What isn’t tested isn’t important and needn’t be taught! And to make sure that teachers teach to the test, they’ll be graded on how their students perform!” Hmmm, sound familiar to anyone New Yorkers?

  • In Pennsylvania the chief is a woman named Carolyn Dumaresq. She replaced another candidate who hadn't been on the job terribly long before having to stand down prematurely as it were. A guy named William Harner came and went with no explanation, or so it seemed. In a paper called The Dallas Post we get the worm's eye view of how Dumaresq came to be Governor Corbett's point girl for ed reform : 

Whaddya think of my grape smugglers? 

It should have been William Harner, not Dumaresq, giving the briefing. Just a few weeks ago, it was Harner serving as acting secretary, with everyone expecting him to get the post full time. He even showed up when Bear Creek Community Charter School held a press conference announcing a big federal loan for a new building. But Harner resigned abruptly Aug. 26 and fell off the political face of the Earth. What happened? No one’s saying. But Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau’s Angela Couloumbis reported Aug. 27 that three sources, under condition of anonimity, said that during his time running the Cumberland Valley School District Harner sent a male administrator an email “allegedly asking him how he looked in a Speedo bathing suit.” Couloumbis reports that the administrator was on vacation and filed a complaint later.  Hate when that happens huh? 

  • In Illinois, the delegate with whom Arneth was cracking wise on Soccer MILFS is a fellow named Dr. Christopher Koch. The good doctor is another headliner but it's not anything to do with his mastery learning facility or his pedagogical chops. No, the Doc likes to take trips and he especially likes taking them when Pearson Inc is footing the tab. Here's a snippet from a letter written to Govenor Quinn by a retired Superintendent demanding Koch be sent packing : The New York Times (January 3, 2012) reports that: “Christopher Koch, state superintendent of education in Illinois – which has $138 million in contracts with Pearson [the nation’s largest education publisher] – went to China, Brazil and Finland with the [Pearson] foundation.  The only Pearson compensation he listed on state ethics forms was the cost of the flight to China, $4,271 for business class.  Asked why hotels, meals and the other flights were not documented, a spokesman for Dr. Koch, Matt Vanover, said , “What we’re looking at is a litmus test; they just want to make sure he’s not traveling first class.”   He continues ... Do we really think we are going to learn a lot from countries such as China or Brazil about how to “improve” our educational systems?  Having been to China myself, I would question that rationale.  And even if we thought we might learn from Finland or Brazil, if it is that important, then the Illinois State Board of Education should pick up the tab.  And if we are sharing with those countries all the great things we are doing, then those countries should pay the freight.  It’s crystal clear to any objective observer that these trips were neither necessary, not important for the people of Illinois, nor more than a “free” way for Dr. Koch to travel the world with money laundered through a foundation associated with a company with which Illinois has a huge contract for services.  Plus, the funds were further brokered through an organization in which Dr. Koch had a high-level position...  Second, Dr. Koch should report his full expenses, or should we not expect such high-profile officials to be accountable at the same level that we hold our students, teachers and administrators. And finally : Third, our compulsion to test, test, and test our students and evaluate teachers based upon standardized test results has gone so far beyond reasonable, and is so pedagogically unsound, that it is crystal clear to me that policy making at the highest level has more to do with business economics and political ideology that teaching and learning.  Dr. Koch’s willingness to accept such travel perks certainly reinforces many educators’ beliefs that our educational policies are less about what is in the best interest of students and more about what is in the best interest of business. It almost seems like a pattern here though doesn't it... 

  • Our final stop in Michigan shines the educational spotlight on a guy named Michael Flanagan. There it is, that name again... Among Flanagan's dubious accomplishments are his rabid support of charter schools, a botched attempt to game the Obama administration on some educash and possibly the most bizarre and twisted story I have come across in a while involving a Teacher of the Year. No, it's not the lady who got fired over test scores the next year and it may be even more perverse. Here's how it happened : In May of this year, Gary Abud, a science teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School, was chosen as Michigan’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a teacher who has only been at it for six years. Well-respected by both his students and his coworkers, Mr. Abud was a worthy choice.

Teacher of the Year  Gary Abud Used by ALEC and Koch Bros to Attack His Own Union

To reward him for his outstanding achievement, the anti-union corporatist Mackinac Center — an ALEC and State Policy Network affiliate funded, in part, by the Koch brothers — did a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out how much money Mr. Abud makes. Once they found out, they proceeded to use him along with details about his salary to promote passage of House Bill 4625, a bill I call the “‘Teach to the Test’ Teacher Pay Act”. Are you with me so far ? Stick around it gets worse.... In a post on their blog “Capitol Confidential”, the Mackinac Center wrote that Mr. Abud “made $56,876 in 2012-13, which is about $21,000 less a year than the district’s average salary of $77,969 a year.” Why does he make less than average? They falsely answer the question in the title of their post: “Union Salary Schedule Ensures State ‘Teacher of the Year’ Earns Near Bottom In Pay”, implying that this income disparity is the sole result of unions holding back good teachers rather than the fact that he’s only been teaching for 6 years. Michelle Rhee’s anti-teacher group StudentsFirst, which promotes for-profit charter schools as the answer to all of our education system problems, picked up the ball and ran with it, sending out a deceptive email to their mailing list claiming, as did the Mackinac Center, that this problem would be solved by the passage of HB 4625, a claim which is flagrantly false. In spite of the tripe the Kochs, ALEC and Rheeject tried to cram down his throat here is a piece of what Mr. Albud had to say on the topic of this law and his own situation: There are some very misleading statements out there surrounding this legislation, including in the articles written that use my name and “story.” While I often try to see the best in things, I can certainly say that I oppose this legislation. Wow. 

I guess now that we've had a quick look around at a few of the upstanding members of this august group with whom Arneth Duncan shared his penetrating insights on White Flight and their Plight, it makes sense that there didn't happen to be a transcript handy. Sadly for Dopey Duncan however, someone from Daily Kos happened to be getting it all down as it dribbled from his lips. This is the caliber of people who go and sit with the Minister of Ed Reform and listen to his bollocks. Can you say you're surprised? Just say you'll do something about it, it's all any of us can do. 

1 comment:

  1. Should note former NY Commissioner. David Steiner, enjoyed his Pearson junkets right before he signed a $32M contract with the firm. In return for that $32M we got the story about the pineapple racing the hare. The contract should be looked at closely to determine if any language in it permits Pearson to use reading passages from their Common Core materials in their Common Core Assessments. This spring they put reading passages from their teaching materials in the assessment assuring students in districts that used Pearson materials were well rehearsed for the assessments. Oh, this year Pearson made teachers sign an affidavit indicating they would make no public comment about the assessments--under threat of losing their certification. It is a lot easier to shut up complaining educators than it is to make up good assessments. Pathetic!