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Posts Tagged ‘public education’

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One of those older folks on Facebook, who calls himself Jimmy Rat, ridiculed Bernie Sanders supporters for wanting free college education on one of his posts. That guy got schooled.

Rat showed a photo of a military recruiting station, and called upon Sanders supporters to sign up and get their free education there. Then somebody pointed out that he wasn’t looking for a free education, but an affordable one, like Rat’s generation had. Then Jimmy Rat retorted with some ultra bull shit, and that triggered an interesting and well thought out response from the other guy, who only wants the same deal that Jimmy Rat and his generation had back in the day.

That guy buried Jimmy Rat with an avalanche of statistics and facts. He showed the annual tuition for Yale in 1970 was $2500, compared to $45,000 nowadays. He also showed the minimum wage in 1970 could purchase many more things than the minimum wage can today. There are a few things this person didn’t mention.

In 1970, 61 percent of US adults were located right there in the middle class. Nowadays, less than 50 percent of adults are in the middle class. In 1970, the 1 percent took home only 8 percent of the total annual income produced in the United States compared to 37 percent today. Those figures are intertwined with each other, because the rich have used the federal government to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. So those two figures are the primary reasons why Jimmy Rat’s generation had it so much better than today.

Then Jimmy’s generation made all the wrong choices, according to the respondent, and the result is the sole reason why US higher education costs so much more today than in 1970, why the social security trust fund will lose its surplus by 2041, why corruption is rampant in both major political parties, and so much more.

Check out the entire exchange on Facebook below.

 

Lazy bastards

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US standardized testing is all about redistributing tax dollars to the shareholders and CEOs of publishing giants, such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill. I’ve been saying the obvious for two decades. Now comedy central has caught on to this scam with John Oliver. Quite naturally, the corporate propaganda machine doesn’t want you to know this, so they never use their investigative skills to figure this out.

Oliver, however, takes it a step further. He points out that billions of dollars a year are being thrown to the testing giants, and they have failed in their objectives, and should be given the boot. Since No Child Left Behind turned schools from educational institutions to test prep school, average test scores for students have slightly dipped lower vis-a-vis their international brethren, and the achievement gap between students of European descent and African descent has not been reduced.

In other words, it’s all about the money, because if it was about educating children, then the standardized tests would be given the boot. US students can be made to take up to 113 tests from kindergarten to twelfth grade, not counting make up examinations. Students are forced to take tests until they pass them, so one test might be taken five times during the k-12 education of any child. In other words, Oliver is correct to say students can be made to take up to 113 tests, but that number goes up significantly if children fail tests.

That’s why educational standards are constantly raised time after time. The more tests students fail, the more profitable it is for the testing corporations. The latest attack on children in public education, Common Core testing, is the perfect example of this.

Finland has the highest test scores in the world, and its school children are the least tested.

The testing mania is about government corruption, and money gone wild in politics, and it, like virtually all US government corruption, began with the Reagan tax cuts. That’s when the testing mania began.

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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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Since George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (which was the business plan of McGraw-Hill, the McGraw’s being family friends with the Bush’s) was passed in 2002, testing in the United States has skyrocketed, because it’s profitable for the private publishing corporations. Before NCLB, under Bill Clinton’s Improving America’s Schools Act, the federal government  required students to take six tests total — a reading and math test in elementary, middle and high school. Under NCLB, in order to receive federal funding, schools are required to make students take 14 tests total — a reading and math test from grades 3-8 and once in high school, plus a science test in elementary, middle and high school. But some districts require even more tests.

Barack Obama’s $500 million competitive grant program Race to the Top, enacted in 2009, chiefly inspired school districts to give more tests. Amidst the recession, state budgets were hit hard, and government officials were willing to do whatever they could to receive money. Now, at least 25 states mandate one formal assessment test in kindergarten. Race to the Top’s 2011 Early Learning Challenge awarded schools that could prove their students’ “readiness” to begin school — meaning how well four-year-olds did on “entry assessments.”

In order to execute these policies that significantly expanded testing, school districts needed test providers. This, in turn, made some educational corporations very rich. Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to prevent the misuse of standardized testing, said he is inclined to blame politicians, rather than corporations, for the testing boom.

He said, “In a capitalist society, if there’s a market, somebody will figure out how to serve it. But the corporations reinforce the stupidity of the bad policies of politicians.”

Pearson is the largest corporation serving this testing market. Pearson is the world’s largest education company and book publisher, bringing in more than $9 billion annually.

Check out the complete story below.

8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests–Alternet.org

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