Home > Uncategorized > Catching up on links… with inequity and cost shifts the predominant theme

Catching up on links… with inequity and cost shifts the predominant theme

January 11, 2012

New York schools are falling short of the Race-to-the-Top grant standards according to an article in today’s NYTimes and, if they don’t straighten up and fly according to RTTT guidelines they might have to pay back the money they got. The major problem with implementation: getting all the unions in the state to agree to an evaluation plan that meets the template set forth by the USDOE. The maddening part of RTTT from the outset has been the federal government’s insistence that States and districts impose an evaluation system that has never been demonstrated to improve student performance. The White Paper “Race to the Top: NO” describes this flaw in detail.

Corporations avoid taxes and schools make cuts: An article in Common Dreams describes two recent studies of education funding that come to this bottom line: Corporate state tax avoidance is about $14 billion for one year <=> State education cuts amount to about $12.7 billion for one year. My recent post “Tax Racket” describes the mechanism that makes this kind of thing happen all too often.

In America’s Unlevel Playing Field Paul Krugman of the NYTimes makes a concise argument for the kind of wraparound services described in the White Paper on Metrics and the article I wrote for Education Week eight years ago, A Homeland Security Bill for Education, advocating a coordinated effort by social services agencies analogous to the effort advocated for law enforcement agencies.

Finland is HOT! The Atlantic profiles Finland’s education success in this on-line article my daughter Hannah set me… Here’s the kicker: there is no word for “accountability” in Finnish. The article says: “Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.”

State governments are now paying for training the private sector used to provide as reported in the Sunday NYTimes. This is maddening on two counts: when I was a teenager my father earned a good income providing training to managers and salespersons for DuPont as part of DuPont’s employee training division. His assignment doesn’t exist any more. Training is outsourced. I’m sure this helps DuPont’s bottom line but it eliminates a solid middle class job and eliminates capacity building within the organization. Secondly, the dollars diverted from the community college budget to train Caterpiller employees are dollars that COULD be used to reduce tuitions for all students attending those colleges. The tax racket continues….

Museums and cultural institutions suffer collateral damage as Texas cuts school budgets according to a Saturday NYTimes article. This is not surprising given my recent experience— field trips are “an easy cut” to make even though field trips are among the most memorable experiences students have from their schooling… also, field trips don’t help you get higher test scores and getting those high test scores is important: especially if teacher evaluations will be linked to those test scores!

Nick Kristof’s NYTimes Sunday editorial focuses on an “uncomfortable truth: poverty is difficult to overcome partly because of self-destructive behaviors. Children from poor homes often shine, but others may skip school, abuse narcotics, break the law, and have trouble settling down in a marriage and a job. Then their children may replicate this pattern.” Further reinforcement for the need to coordinate services for youth BEFORE they attend schools.

Beta site reader Lori Langlois of North Country Education Services sent this link to a technology blog post that asserts that technology should not be seen as an enhancement, extension or support for teaching but a cornerstone of classroom instruction. It concludes “…the future of educational technology lies not in regarding it as an add-on or enhancement but as being fundamental to education”. The problem, alas, is that the digital divide is widening with every passing year, and the students attending poor schools or rural schools where internet access is NOT readily available in homes and wide bandwidth is not available in schools cannot compete with those areas that have the infrastructure. FDR gave rural areas electricity: maybe Obama can still give very home bandwidth…. or maybe not…

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