Monthly Archives: December 2014
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s updated primary source companion to A People’s History of the United States includes Amber Kudla’s anti-standardized testing graduation speech and Jesse Hagopian’s reflection on the Seattle MAP test boycott.
Since its publication in 2004, Voices of a People’s History of the United States has played a vital role in my classroom—not only revealing the voices of social justice from the past so often choked into lifelessness by the standard issue corporate textbooks, but also inspiring my students to take actions of their own. Over the semesters and over the years, I repeatedly point students towards this collection of primary sources when they want to understand the ideas that helped propel social change: Bartolome De Las Casas’ “The Devastation of the Indies;” Tecumseh’s “Speech to the Osages;” Fredrick Douglass’ “What to the slave is the forth of July;” Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?;” Eugene Deb’s…
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Marian Wang of ProPublica reports on a curious phenomenon in the charter sector: “nonprofit” charters that are run by for-profit corporations.
“A couple of years ago, auditors looked at the books of a charter school in Buffalo, New York, and were taken aback by what they found. Like all charter schools, Buffalo United Charter School is funded with taxpayer dollars.
“The school is also a nonprofit. But as the New York State auditors wrote, Buffalo United was sending ” virtually all of the School’s revenues” directly to a for-profit company hired to handle its day-to-day operations.
“Charter schools often hire companies to handle their accounting and management functions. Sometimes the companies even take the lead in hiring teachers, finding a school building, and handling school finances.
“In the case of Buffalo United, the auditors found that the school board had little idea about exactly how the company – a large…
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Published on Aug 15, 2014
TheRealNews: Award winning journalists James Risen and Phil Donahue discuss the importance of grassroots movements in preserving the basic tenants of democracy at a time of unprecedented attacks on whistle-blowers and journalists.
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REINVENTING THE STANDARDIZED TEST: Pearson has been adjusting its internal focus from print to digital; now the global education giant is out with a study of how that shift can improve testing around the world. “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment” argues that our current standardized tests – many of them, of course, developed by Pearson – aren’t making the grade. They’re not sensitive enough to accurately assess student performance at either the low or the high ends of the scale. They don’t give teachers timely, useful feedback. And they’re too focused on assessing low-level skills, rather than the competencies valued in today’s workplace, such as critical analysis, personal communication and hands-on problem solving. What’s the solution? Pearson touts the power of adaptive technology to customize exams. It’s also high on using computer algorithms to robo-grade student essays. (The report states as a fact that the PARCC consortium…
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