The Masters of Mankind want us to become the “stupid nation,” in the interests of their short-term gain — damn the consequences. ~ Chomsky
Whether public education contributes to the Common Good depends, of course, on what kind of education it is, to whom it is available, and what we take to be the Common Good. There’s no need to tarry on the fact that these are highly contested matters, have been throughout history, and continue to be so today.
One of the great achievements of American democracy has been the introduction of mass public education, from children to advanced research universities. And in some respects that leadership position has been maintained. Unfortunately, not all. Public education is under serious attack, one component of the attack on any rational and humane concept of the Common Good, sometimes in ways that are not only shocking, but also spell disaster for the species.
All of this falls within the general assault on the population in the past generation, the so-called “neoliberal era.” I’ll return to these matters, of great significance and import.
Sometimes the attacks on education and on the Common Good are very closely linked. One current illustration is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” that is being proposed to legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth. This act mandates “balanced” teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms.”
Read more here…
A complaint was filed against a Kentucky teacher for writing the message on her class whiteboard
The mother of a student in Kentucky filed a complaint with the Education Professional Standards Board after her teacher wrote ”You can’t be a Democrat & go to heaven” on the classroom whiteboard.
Kendra Baker, a teacher at South Laurel County High School, wrote the message, reportedly a comment by another student, shortly after the election.
From the Lexington Herald-Leader, Mary Gilbert, who filed the complaint, had a daughter in Baker’s psychology class:
“I feel like she was bullied by a teacher,” Gilbert said of her daughter.
Gilbert said she filed a complaint against Baker with the state Education Professional Standards Board, which issues credentials to teachers.
“She wrote it on her own, and she wanted to write it on the board. She realized it was inappropriate,” Superintendent Doug Bennett said in a statement on Monday, the Herald-Leader reports.
It appears that Florida governor Rick Scott is in deep with special interests in his state…
Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) — buoyed by legislators who received hundreds of thousands of dollars of special interest cash — signed into law legislation that would dramatically expand access to school vouchers, which funnel taxpayer dollars into private schools. Scott is doing this despite proposing nearly $3 billion in cutsto public education, meaning that he is essentially transferring money from public education to private education.
On the same day that Scott signed into law his latest attack on public education, Gus Garcia-Roberts of the Miami New Times published a story looking at the case of InterAmerican Christian Academy, a private school located in Doral, Florida. Garcia-Roberts amazingly enrolled at the school and earned a diploma after only eight days of schoolwork and $399:
It began with a poster on a streetlight in downtown Miami: “High School Diploma. (305) 716-0909.” I dialed, and a chipper female voice answered, “Hello. High school.” Eight days and $399 in cash later, at the school’s Doral “campus” — a cramped third-floor office next door to US Lubricant LLC and across the hall from a hair extensions company — I was grinning widely, accepting a framed diploma and an official transcript sporting a 3.41 GPA.
Wall Street Journal - Facebook Founder Zuckerberg to Establish Foundation to Help Newark Schools
Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.
Newark spends about $22,000 a year on each of its 40,000 pupils, but only about half of its students graduate. Of those who do, only one-fifth go on to four-year colleges. More than 85% of the Newark students at community colleges need remedial help in math and English.
The state took control of the troubled Newark system in the 1990s, and this month Gov. Chris Christie informed the city’s superintendent that his contract wouldn’t be renewed after June 2011. Mr. Christie has vowed to implement forceful changes, portending an agenda that includes stronger teacher evaluations and merit pay.
Mr. Zuckerberg is setting up a foundation with $100 million of Facebook’s closely held stock to be used to improve education in America, with the primary goal of helping Newark.
Mr. Zuckerberg has had a long-standing interest in education, particularly teachers’ low salaries, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Over the last year, he had a series of meetings with people involved in education and developed a relationship with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Continue reading…