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Posts Tagged ‘education’

According to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) public school teachers are paid less than their similarly educated peers. The worst states for teachers are those where the teachers have gone on strike recently. Following West Virginia’s lead, teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma have walked out to protest dramatic cuts to investments in schools, students, and teachers, while teachers in Arizona are considering doing the same.

The new EPI report shows that striking teachers live in states with some of the largest gaps in pay between teachers and similarly educated workers in other professions. For example, while teachers nationally earn 77 cents per every dollar that other college graduates take home in weekly wages, in Arizona, teachers earn just 63 cents on the dollar. Oklahoma teachers take home 67 cents, and West Virginia teachers take home 75 cents on the dollar. And there is no state where teacher wages are equal to or better than those of other college graduates.

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and administrators and small business owners are lining up to voice their discontent because the Minneapolis School District, third largest in Minnesota, is facing a $33 million dollar shortfall, which will result in layoffs of as many as 400 teachers. Why is there a shortfall?

The city of Minneapolis provided $500 million to help fund the building of a private NFL stadium. Your taxpayer money is going to primarily help grow the profits of corporations, developers, millionaires and billionaires, and to hell with anybody who doesn’t have enough money to purchase representation in the political markets.


“The taxpayer-funded US Bank Stadium hosted its first Super Bowl last month, with billionaire real estate tycoon and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expected to reap $200 million from the new stadium each year in personal profits. The city of Minneapolis budgeted a whopping $498 million of taxpayer money to aid in the construction of the stadium, as well as to the destruction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which the new stadium replaced.

Taxpayers also will be chipping in over $7 million a year for operations and management, and do not receive discounts of any kind for funding the new facility.

Supporters of the stadium say that it spikes tourism and spending, which in turn helps the city. Many economists, however, say this spending tends to replace other local entertainment options that otherwise would have been utilized, and that city benefits for a new sports stadium are negligible, perhaps even ultimately harmful.

For a report on the Minneapolis educational crisis, click here

Click here for the EPI report.

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Education-in-Finland-300x279

Finland has the highest performing K-12 students in the world, year after year.

“Finland’s schools weren’t always so successful. In the 1960s, they were middling at best. In 1971, a government commission concluded that, poor as the nation was in natural resources, it had to modernize its economy and could only do so by first improving its schools. To that end, the government agreed to reduce class size, boost teacher pay, and require that, by 1979, all teachers complete a rigorous master’s program.

They also banned all standardized testing, as they figured out this takes too much time and too much money out of learning; and now they only give standardized exams to statistical samples of students to diagnose and assess school progress.”

For every 45 minutes of study, Finish students get 15 minutes of free time recess.

In the United States, recess has been curtailed, and in some cases, eliminated.

The average class size in Finland is 19. Teachers are highly respected, highly paid, and highly unionized. So what can the United States learn from Finland?

Absolutely nothing.

That’s because education reform in the USA has nothing to do with education. It’s all about corporate profits, campaign contributions, government corruption, and ever rising profits for the publishing industries. Public K-12 students are merely victims in the profit production process through which these aims can be achieved.

This is why the US has the most tested students in the world. The more tests they complete, the more profits for the publishing corporations, such as Pearson Limited and McGraw-Hill.

This is why educational test standards are always raised in the United States. The higher the standards, the more students fail to pass. Then they must retake another profitable test over and over again until they move up a grade or pass it. The more students fail these tests, the more profitable they are for the testing industry.

Tests are changed every few years because it’s more profitable than retaining them. When school districts change tests, each district must purchase new testing materials from the publishers. In the United States, students are part of the production process for producing profits, and keeping share prices of the publishing giants rising constantly, quarter after quarter.

So don’t expect any real educational reform in the US anytime soon since real educational reform by definition means lower profits for the publishing corporations, which means less money with which to corrupt government. So don’t expect anything to change in education in the US anytime soon. The corruption of government at all levels is far too massive.

Just look at Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden who betrayed the voters of Oregon on behalf of Monsanto and Wall Street when he co-sponsored Fast Track legislation in the senate for the massive income redistribution scam called the Trans Pacific Partnership which Wyden falsely markets as a trade agreement. Wyden once wrote a constituent who wrote to him to complain about the Common “Very Profitable” Core Standards. Wyden wrote back, “Please rest assured that I will continue to do all I can on the federal level to ensure Oregon students receive the highest quality education….” Wyden’s letter shows he supports the Common Very Profitable Standards, which demonstrates how corrupt he is in all areas in which income is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent. See Wyden’s letter at, http://oregonsaveourschools.blogspot.com/2014/06/sen-ron-wyden-doesnt-get-it-on-common.html .

Wyden’s idea of students receiving “the highest quality education” is to increase the profits of the publishing corporations, which is another way of enriching the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. In other words, less recess, more tests, and higher standards, which is another way of saying the senator wants all students to be on a college track, even if they had no desire to be on such a track.

Income redistribution from the 99 to the 1 percent; that’s precisely what Wyden does as much as anybody ever has in the US senate. That’s why he supports standardized testing of public school students, as well as Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/how-finland-keeps-kids-focused/373544/

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The Republicans are proposing helping the already super rich with tax cuts they don’t need, and spending that will only help the super rich., such as the increase in military spending. Currently, the United States spends more on military spending than the next twenty-five largest nations in terms of military spending, and twenty-four of these are US allies. The budget proposal is all about serving a large slice of the 0.01 percent that control the Republican Party, as well as 2/3’s of the Democratic Party. It’s all about redistributing government spending from those in need to those who don’t need anything.

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Don’t let anybody lie to you. The reason why there is more standardized public school testing in the United States than in any other nation is because our government has been corrupted by more and more money and the corporate publishing industry demands more and more testing so they can reach ever higher profits at public expense. That’s also why there’s a call in the national corporate media for higher standards; more students will fail the tests, and they’ll be required to take them over and over again even though the standards and the tests are rigged to insure more and more students fail.

Only in the United States can every kindergarten through twelfth grade public school child be turned into a profit making commodity and have the complete process of doing so be labeled “educational reform,” despite the fact that this process has nothing to do with improving the education of children. In fact, it appears the profit making process has everything to do with eliminating important aspects of education, such as teaching critical thinking, team work, art, theater, automotive classes, wood and metal shops, as well as limiting (or in some cases eliminating) recess for elementary students. Apparently, developing social skills and learning concepts of right and wrong on the playground are not important in K-8 education, and that makes sense because there is no profit to be had for the publishing giants with regard to these extremely important life-enhancing skills. In other words, educational reform in the USA is killing our student’s education because it has nothing to do with educational reforms or educating students. It’s all about making profits at the public expense.

A letter from a teacher is below.

Dear America,

I’m sorry. You entrusted me with your children, and I have failed them. Please know that I had the best of intentions. I didn’t want to leave a child behind. I wanted to help them win this race to the top. You asked me to test them, and I tested them. I gave them choices: A, B, C, D, and sometimes even E. I didn’t just test them though; I spent hours showing them how to test, and I prepared them for that by quizzing them. My quizzes and tests were rigorous, too, just like you asked.

I have to be honest with you, though: my heart wasn’t in it at first. I had this ridiculous idea that art and music and drama and activity breaks would help my students grow. Maybe it was all those years of allowing my students to be creative. To think, I once had my English class produce a full-length play with original music and student-designed sets. I wasted weeks and weeks on that frivolous project. Sure, my students enjoyed it then, and okay, many of them still e-mail me and tell me that was the highlight of their high school experience, but I know now that if I had only had them sit in rows and practice for the ACT, if I had only given them short passages and had them tell me which of the five choices best described the author’s tone, they’d be so much more fulfilled in their lives.

After all, what did they really learn? How to access their imaginations? Developing original thoughts? Teamwork? I may as well have taught them how to file for unemployment.

Last year, our school district did away with our arts education classes. I was stunned along with the other misguided “professionals” with whom I taught. That was before I came to the stark realization that painting and sculpting and drawing might be nice hobbies to have, but they’re certainly not going to help adolescents as they compete for the jobs of the future. Do we really want a bunch of flaky artist-types distracting us? The art teacher is a barista at Starbucks now, which at least allows her to use valuable skills and restore middle-class security. And she makes a great latte.

Click the link below for the rest of the open letter to America.

qz.com-An Open Letter to America from a Public School Teacher

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Only in the United States can every kindergarten through twelfth grade public school child be turned into a profit making commodity and have the complete process of doing so be labeled “educational reform,” despite the fact that this process has nothing to do with improving the education of children. In fact, it appears the profit making process has everything to do with eliminating important aspects of education, such as teaching critical thinking, art, theater, automotive classes, wood and metal shops, as well as limiting (or in some cases eliminating) recess for elementary students. Apparently, developing social skills and learning concepts of right and wrong on the playground are not important in K-8 education, and that makes sense because there is no profit to be had for the publishing giants with regard to these extremely important life-enhancing skills.

On behalf of ever rising profits and ever rising share prices of the corporate publishing giants Pearson Limited, McGraw-Hill and a few others, the United States has turned public kindergarten through high school students into commodities for profit. On behalf of the shareholders of the 1 percent, the corporate press, which is nothing more than a propaganda machine for and of the 1 percent, has dutifully called this educational reform, and brainwashed much of the American public into believing this lie to be true. That is of course, the job of the corporate press; taking obvious lies created by conservative think tanks and other organizations and pundits of the 1 percent, and getting the public to believe these lies to be truth.

Students and testing are necessary pieces of the profit making motive, just like any other manufactured product. Manufacture a car tire without the existence of cars wouldn’t make anybody a dime. Tires and cars profitably go together like hands in gloves, bodies in clothes, hats on your heads. Nobody would manufacture gloves, clothes or hats if there were no hands, heads or bodies because no profits could be had if the two didn’t go together. The same is true of state and federally mandated testing of K-12 students.

Manufacturing tests are profitless without students to be tested, and so, quite naturally, the corporate propaganda machine engineered over a period of years a campaign to convince the American public of the need to test students more and more, until the tests were legislatively adopted, first at the state levels, and then at the federal level.

No mention was ever made by that mighty propaganda machine that Finland has the highest test scores in the world, and students there are the least tested on Earth. No mention was made of significant differences between the education of students in the USA and Finland, such as Finish boys and girls begin first grade one year later than their American counterparts because that’s when boys brains are sufficiently developed to handle first grade materials.

Beginning first grade a year later than is currently the case in the USA, not so coincidentally, would call for less testing, which would be called educational reform if adopted elsewhere, but not here. This idea would never be adopted because it would mean less profits, and to keep the share prices of the publishing giants rising requires more and more profits, which means more and more testing.

Several public grade school teachers have complained to me that the profit motive standards called Common Core are not “developmentally appropriate” for their students. In other words, for example, these new tests are geared for fifth grade students, but are being taken by third grade students. This requires many students to retake the tests over and over again until they pass the tests or move up a grade. That’s precisely the point of common core testing, as well as previous mandated standardized testing.

Having children retake the test over and over again means more and more profits for the publishing giants, so naturally, there will be a clarion call by pundits of the 1 percent to require students to reach for higher and higher standards, as if 95 percent of all high school student are going to use calculus after high school in a job. That might be true for a small fraction of high school graduates who move on to college, but it’s not true for the vast majority of high school and college graduates.

The one thing that becomes obvious is that educational reform in the United States is nothing more than a scam to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the form of higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and mounting dividends. The 99 percent pays the price of this scam in lost tax revenue that goes to schools for testing, time away from other forms of education, such as art, as well as mounting stress on students, parents, teachers and administrators to meet higher and higher profits for the testing corporations via a corporate conduit of propaganda called higher standards.

If you want real educational reform, simply look to Finland and adopt some of that nation’s practices. However, the propaganda machine of the 1 percent will scream loud and clear that such notions will ruin education in the USA, but they will not mention that adopting such practices will only push the profit motive out of public education, which would be a tragedy for the 1 percent, but create great joy and better education for everybody else.

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But how is the profit in university education compared to perpetual war? Guess what is most profitable to the 1 percent. And guess who your government works for? Hint. It isn’t you.

By the way, student loans are purchased by Wall Street investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs. The banks use the loans to issue bonds, which they then sell to rich investors, hedge funds, etc… for large, risk free, government guaranteed profits.

When you make your student loan payments, much of that payment goes to the bondholders. That’s precisely why congress and the president allowed the interest rates for student loans to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent last year. It made the bonds backed by the loans more financially attractive to rich investors. That’s also why the government does not increase grants to needy students. To do so would mean less loans for Wall Street to purchase.

Of course, war is even more profitable to the 1 percent than student loans. However, war and student loans are both big income redistribution conduits through which money travels from the 99 to the 1 percent. And, of course, some of those profits travel back to US politicians in one form or another. So you can see that your elected representatives have absolutely no incentive to do the right thing, and the thing they can do, by providing free tuition at American colleges and universities. To do so would destroy one conduit of redistributing your income to the 1 percent.

That’s what the corrupt US government, and its corrupt representatives are paid to do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it. They’re not stupid little boys and girls. They’re merely corrupted by the money of the 1 percent.

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The war against the middle class officially began during the reign of President Ronald Reagan, and also because of his policies. I’m suggesting that he was a part of this war, but his actions clearly allowed the war to commence.

His trade policies, deregulation scams, and tax cuts for the rich gave the 1 percent the money and power to purchase legislation that bleeds income and wealth from the 99 percent and redistributes it to the 1 percent. This gave the 1 percent the power to purchase the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which President Bill Clinton signed into law. Nowadays, the monopolized information we receive because of this act is often filled with misinformation, including the claim of no health hazards from GMOs, and the public school testing mania, both of which are nothing more than income redistribution scams.

Reaganomics has led us to the economic disaster in which we are living, and virtually every other economic ills that beset our nation.

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