Friday, August 19, 2011

Robert D. Skeels on The Mind Of A Bronx Teacher BlogTalkRadio

"We demand equity in our schools!" — Robert D. Skeels

Listen to internet radio with Bronx Teacher on Blog Talk Radio

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I want to thank Bronx Teacher for the opportunity to voice the social justice viewpoint on authentic education reform and to critique the corporate plutocrat's view of reform.

References for some of the topics we discussed during the show.

My first education article was published in 1991.

For Steve Barr's vicious potty mouthed attack on the former UTLA President, see the quote and link at the beginning of this essay.

On the big business of standardized testing and test preparation: Professor Michael Moore: Cornering the education market

On the corporate charter-voucher school real estate bonanza.

For cogent discussion of KIPP's abysmal attrition rates, militarism, and, narrowing of curriculum see this from one of my recent Schools Matter pieces:

That so-called sophisticated study was conducted by none other than the Walton Family Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored Mathematica Policy Research, a pay to play think tank whose studies start from a conclusion and then scramble for possible evidence to support those conclusions. Preliminary reports, like the one Mathematica published on Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools aren't subject to peer review, but that doesn't stop Yglesias from citing it as authoritative. "Preliminary studies" are a favorite of the corporate education reform junta, and Yglesias is no exception.

Fortunately, Professors Gary Miron and Kevin Welner's recent paper on KIPP's attrition fiasco should put to bed any arguments that KIPP's methods get anything right. Scholars like Western Michigan University's Jessica L. Urschel and Nicholas Saxton, and Georgia State University's Brian Lack have also contributed to our understanding of KIPP's many wrongheaded methods and their drastically overstated results. Dr. Jim Horn's frequent writings on KIPP are also a joy, his phrase "cultural sterilization" for how KIPP treats inner city students has become part of my canon of phrases apropos to privatization.

Update on KIPP Attrition: (Added 2011-08-25) On the radio show I mentioned that KIPP's attrition rates are sometimes as high as 40-45 percent. If those figures aren't outrageous enough, there is a KIPP middle school that bleeds between 60-70 percent of it's low achieving students! Teabaggers can attribute KIPP's "success" to "caring teachers, better management, longer hours, etc.," but those of us dealing in reality can point to this shameful example of a "high performing charter." Discredited is the word that comes to mind when I think of anyone holding these factory school models up as something we should emulate.

Charter-voucher schools avoid educating every child, but are somehow credited with success. In other words, success equals skimming, or more to the point, discrimination.

Pilot Study of Charter Schools' Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures Executive Summary

Pilot Study of Charter Schools' Compliance with the Modified Consent Decree and the LAUSD Special Education Policies and Procedures Data Tables

Key Findings:
  • Students with low incidence disabilities attended charters representing 1.11% of the total charter enrollment, while students with low incidence disabilities made up 3.09% of the DO school population of SWD. Based on this, the relative risk ratio for students with low incidence disabilities to be enrolled in charter schools is 0.36, which means that students with low incidence disabilities enrolled at LAUSD charters are significantly under-represented.
  • SWD attending charter schools made up 7.6% of the overall charter student population, while SWD consisted of 11.3% of the overall student population attending DO schools which indicates that SWD are disproportionately under-enrolled at charter schools.
  • During the 2008-2009 school year, 12 of 148 (8.1%) charter schools offered a special day program as an option for serving SWD. In contrast, 87% of DO schools provided this same program option. Collectively, the lack of such programs indicates a disproportionate availability of special education services offered at charters.

Recent post by Dr. Krashen on attitudes towards schools: Opinions about American schools: Experience outweighs rhetoric


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