Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Matier & Ross - SF Gate

Expand Messages
  • Todd Groves
    Speaking of organizations ruthlessly focused on students, Michelle Rhee, aka bogeywoman, heads a new non-profit called Students First,
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 16, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      Speaking of organizations ruthlessly focused on students, Michelle Rhee, aka bogeywoman, heads a new non-profit called Students First, http://www.studentsfirst.org .

      You can complain about her style and certainly question her ultimate effectiveness, but you can't fault her concern for children. I hope it's universally held in this group.

      Parochialism and cynicism must give way for our kids to succeed. It's gut wrenching to watch high schoolers struggle to pass the CAHSEE, which requires minimal proficiency. Worse, if they don't pass on the first attempt, chances are they won't pass ever. We doom these kids to life on the margins, ultimately blaming them for our communal inadequacies.

      Life skills, remediation, test prep... all have a role, but offer only small gains for the millions spent. Parents who can least afford it turning to expensive learning centers to supplant systemic failures. We must find the resolve to fix this and fix it now.

      The biggest component of US wage inequality is educational attainment. We spend trillions compensating for decades of under-education. We can't maintain the world's highest living standards with these lower levels of education, period. We now see our political class deferring to aging baby boomers instead of our present youthful generation, sure to further exacerbate the troubles faced by young Americans.

      It's not that we don't spend on education. We spend relatively highly by global standards, just like healthcare. It's the way we spend it. American largess and inefficiency keep pushing hard choices to the future over and over again. Dumping more money in this system is neither wise or an option.

      For the most part, WCCUSD problems stem from administrators who are not effective leaders. We have an few unspoken narratives the dominate administrative thinking, yet administrators believe voicing these narratives would be unpopular with active parents. They avoid saying what they really think and try to buy off parents here and there. When we have executives speaking one narrative and acting on another, dissonance is created. They pretend they can impose a vision on the wide flung faculties. Instead, they should be working to build a common appreciation of what is important.

      On the other hand, it's not too difficult for a small number of teachers to shut down any initiative in a short time. This gives an individual pocket veto on anything requiring cooperation. Time and again, needed reforms are negated, sometimes by simple caprice. For example, if the energy spent fighting differentiation went into finding ways to make it happen, our schools would have improved long ago. So what if the district consultant is an idiot, it doesn't necessarily mean he or she is wrong. Contemplate the spirit of the initiative, not its feeble execution.

      Each district interest group has serious incentive to sustain the current system, and, so long as we abdicate our responsibility for solving problems, little incentive to change. We demand others concede first and privilege our interest. With no powerful group protecting students, their interests become subordinated while we justify our own self-serving actions.

      It will be interesting to see what a potently anti-public school congress and Obama Education Department do with the ESEA re-authorization. I don't know how we can keep justifying that locking students into a system that will most likely fail them somehow serves their best interest. By nearly every measure, our schools fail. The piggy bank is empty. Time for a Plan B?

      Todd Groves





      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Groves" <tag1022@...> wrote:
      >
      > Two things the last election reinforced: candidates need to be backed by interests to win; and, school districts have no monied interests prioritizing students. I found all the candidates sincerely driven by their visions of the issues, but the funding came from sources primarily interested in the way WCCUSD spends its money.
      >
      > We need a body ruthlessly pursuing the best interests of students. You can argue PTA performs that function, but it can't take a stand on the politics. Like it or not, Citizens United has opened the door to new possibilities. Why let corporations have all the fun? What about a West County children oriented 501h that can lobby and endorse on behalf of our kids?
      >
      > Todd Groves
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, c slamon <cslamon@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I said that they do not matter that much to me personally. I know that
      > > elections are expensive and it takes money to run a good, solid campaign. As
      > > long as people are following the law and reporting the money, I don't really
      > > care that much.
      > >
      > > But, there are plenty of people on this list though that think that Elaine
      > > Merriweather was elected and that she hardly spent any money. I am just
      > > trying to point out that the teachers union spends A LOT of money on
      > > elections and it is foolish for people to think otherwise. All of those
      > > mailers that we got with Ms. Merriweathers name on them were not free. She
      > > may not have paid for them personally (and so therefore she did not have to
      > > report that) but someone paid for them. That was the only point that I was
      > > trying to make, that the teachers unions spend lots of money getting the
      > > people they want elected. I truly wish Ms. Merriweather the best of luck
      > > and I hope she comes to understand the budget and the issues facing our
      > > district as Audrey Miles did in her four years on the board. There is a
      > > steep learning curve, I have never seen Ms. Merriweather at one board
      > > meeting in the last 5 years that I've gone to board meetings. She has a lot
      > > of homework to do and I hope she uses all the resources available to her to
      > > get up to speed as quickly as possible.
      > >
      > > Chris Slamon
      > >
      > > On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 1:25 PM, Todd Groves <tag1022@> wrote:
      > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Didn't you post a piece a while back saying campaign finances don't matter?
      > > >
      > > > Todd Groves
      > > >
      > > > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com <wccusdtalk%40yahoogroups.com>, c slamon
      > > > <cslamon@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > *Teachers' pets: *Its leaders may not have been at the head table of
      > > > > Gov.-elect *Jerry Brown's <http://www.sfgate.com/jerry-brown/>
      > > > *education
      > > >
      > > > > funding summit Tuesday, but the powerful California Teachers Association
      > > > was
      > > > > certainly on everyone's mind when it came to talk about state spending
      > > > cuts.
      > > > > And with good reason:
      > > > >
      > > > > According to a March 2010 report by the state's Fair Political Practices
      > > > > Commission, the 325,000-member teachers union is by far the single
      > > > biggest
      > > > > contributor of campaign cash in California.
      > > > >
      > > > > In the past 10 years, the union has pumped close to $212 million into
      > > > > helping Democratic candidates and various ballot fights.
      > > > >
      > > > > More recently, the union spent $3.6 million helping elect Brown as
      > > > governor,
      > > > > plus $3.7 million helping elect *Tom Torlakson *as state superintendent
      > > > of
      > > > > public education.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Read more:
      > > > >
      > > > http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/14/BAB81GQJ8B.DTL#ixzz18CtRHCgd
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.