The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

Today in my Educational Policy Analysis class we had to choose between three films to watch- as critical viewers – ofcourse ( the professor emphasized)

The options were:

– Waiting for Superman
– Won’t Back Down (fictional account of a parent trigger movement)
– The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

Here’s the film the class did not win the majority vote- it depicts the other side of the reform debate.

Ideological Warfare : Ravitch v.s Kopp

The trend in the past day showcases events which highlight actions of activist collectives and individuals from a Long Island Principal retiring with an impassioned plea to his community to organize against high stakes -testing to the upcoming “Occupy the DOE” protest in D.C next month.  I have been seeing a trend now- that we have highlighted in class the very memes that have defined the opposite sides of the ideological spectrum of education reform Kopp to Ravitch  to the Recovery School District to the”Hessian” model of common sense school reform.

In the post,  The Big Lie about New Orleans exposed Mercedes Schneider focuses on the exploits and consequences of the  RSD – Schneider critiques one of the contributing factors to the movement and argues that it has been exploited by state officials with the term”miracle school”- this provides a great segway to a 2011 clip from Aspen Institute that has the face of each side debate.

Diane posits that  TFA paints an “incomplete picture” when it offers its systemic panacea while the revolving door of teachers who completed traditional teaching tracks through Catholic or State Universities are “deeply demoralized”. She refers to how education is regarded in Finland- a competitive high-retention field that brings about student achievement results without binging on testing. Wendy continues to sell her platform using memes like “transformational” and “what we have learned in 20 years” repetitively while Diane says she would support KIPP overhauling an entire urban district to answer one the central questions in this debate

“Are the high test scores charters post due to practices of “creaming” or skimming ?   Is the student body  educated in a charter and a district school similar?

The frustration is evident in Diane’s face as her question falls on deaf ears- Wendy reframes the discussion and does not address her point directly.

“What is the purpose of education?” What is the schools role in addressing poverty and inequality?

Below is the Aspen Video

What Does Real Reform Require?


Value-Added & the case of the not so private blog comment

In case you happened to be searching for the Common Core Standards – (ok fine you probably weren’t but in any case) here is a link -apparently they are not a mere click away . A colleague of mine could not readily access them after a cognizant search from the homepage, as soon as she expressed  this obstacles on our class blog someone from a an organization that supports the Common Core replied with the link and plugged the initiative- and that how we learned the lesson of “ourclassblogisnotprivateisthereevensuchathingasSECURITY?”

Consensus was reached with one question “Who would like to keep the class blog public?” not a single hand was raised- privacy town here we come. Some people felt uncomfortable as they has expressed views that would not be so kosher if they brought it back to their political coalition filled workplace-

  • Common Core Standards for Math – this is a good segway into exploring are these standards from the Fed constitutional
  • Value – Added Model – a new ( circe 2/3 years ago) buzz word- we touched on it in class a lot especially as it relates to Rick Hess’ tough-minded accountability , competition based free market model of school reform- supposedly equals the playing field between schools for both principals and faculty. (We analyzed his arguments in Common Sense School Reform in class today)

This is new for me so I will be delving a bit deeper into this as well as how it relates to NCLB and Race to the Top- that is what my group presentation will be on in class- stay tuned as I popcorn out some ideas as I think through the presentation plan.

Occupy the Common Core Coalition

I have been trying to keep up with Ravitch’s posts , sometimes she updates up to 5 posts a day, trends and interesting links to other articles for more research.

An article I read tonight: Whoo Hoo! Occupy the Schools  is not the most convincing argument against the Common Core but nonetheless has valuable insights into the funding allocations from the major players.

Meanwhile, Ravitch dismisses the legitimacy of the Common Core on the grounds that it’s very creation & implementation will not rest on empirical data derived from longitudinal studies. A Supreme Court Opinion not based on a precedent or taking a groundwork from previous rationales, dissenting opinions etc. –  is uncommon at the very least so how can we perform a structural overhaul without a foundation model?  Additionally, the lack of a public input is another deal breaker.

She reflects-

“Maybe the standards will be great. Maybe they will be a disaster. Maybe they will improve achievement. Maybe they will widen the achievement gaps between haves and have-nots. Maybe they will cause the children who now struggle to give up altogether. Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?… They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states.”

Which argument builds a better case Diane Ravitch’s vehement opposition to the Common Core or Susan Ohanian’s Occupy the Schools article? What do you think?