“A local government may not, when it comes to equal access to education, treat some classes of its citizens different than it treats another class,” says the complaint, filed in March by five plaintiffs organized by the community group Empower D.C.
I attended the Baltimore City Council budget public comment open meeting at City Hall and as usual it was designed to be as user unfriendly as possible. These annual budget meetings are always packed beyond capacity and yet they have them in a small chamber with people entering in shifts. This year they made things worse by only allowing people to speak for 2 minutes.....CAN YOU IMAGINE COMING FOR WHAT WILL BE MOST PEOPLE'S ONLY CHANCE TO ENGAGE THEIR POLITICIANS AND HAVE ONLY 2 MINUTES TO DO IT. You are lucky to be able to present one issue in a robust way. Remember, the point with these public meetings is to simply abide by legislative rules, not to actually hear the people's concerns.
This public session was filled with education supporters which is a good thing. The worrying thing is that they are all attached to a non-profit. There were no parents speaking about issues of funding in the classroom but issues regarding after school programs. Again, this isn't a bad thing, it just shows were the organization lies and it is not with the individual parents who hate what is happening in schools. The reason for the outpouring of education advocates was of course the threats to education funding to balance the budget while cutting property taxes.....which fund education.
I spoke about the deliberate policy to starve government coffers in order to allow private corporate and wealth donors to 'donate' to private non-profits who write education policy and fund education programs that they want.....completely taking away the parent and neighborhood's right to do that for themselves. That is what these policies surrounding tax breaks is all about. This city budget has the mayor cutting property taxes progressively more each year. Remember, property taxes are how schools are funded for the most part and also remember that in Maryland and Baltimore there has been a tremendous loss of property tax collection since the 1970-1980s. This has to do with the policy of giving corporate tax breaks and Homestead tax breaks that overwhelmingly protect the rich from taxes while lowering revenue for schools. Now, everyone would like to see Baltimore property taxes decline....they need to......but you cannot do this at the same time you are giving more and more property tax breaks to corporations and the rich.....YOU STARVE THE GOVERNMENT COFFERS THAT FUND THE SCHOOLS!
Well, this is the plan after all. The goal is to have the same corporations getting property tax breaks like Exelon and UnderArmour the opportunity to buy the right to create public policy THEY WANT by donating to private non-profits money that they will designate fund certain policy and programs. Then, they get to write that donation off their taxes so the city is starved twice of revenue that would go to the schools. What this creates is a highly inequitable funding of schools where some schools receive copious private funding and others are starved......IT VIOLATES ALL EQUAL PROTECTION LAWS.....EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EQUAL ACCESS.....not to mention the ability of citizens to control public policy. So this was my comment. You can imagine how getting all that into 2 minutes is impossible which is why these pols do that. The less said the better when on TV cameras!!!
WE MUST FIGHT AT EVERY CHANCE THIS DIRECTION THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS IN MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE ARE TAKING US.....WITH CORPORATIONS PAYING NO TAXES BUT DONATING TO CREATE THEIR PERSONAL VISION OF PUBLIC POLICY.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!
I thank the author of this piece for the insightful look at disparity in education and the ill affects of teach to the test education reform. My comments may be at odds with her opinion as a whole, but I use it as a good springboard. O'Malley did indeed tie MD to this Race To The Top education reform that requires all of what many parents, teachers, and students find a wrong-headed reform all for funding that should have come with no strings attached. In Baltimore you can go to a supermajority of schools and see curricula described in this article.....teaching to the test and high-stakes achievement pressures. All educators know this is bad policy as it does not engage and develop learning skills and a love of education needed for success in the long run. Quite the opposite and academic studies show this to be the case. It is failed education policy. So why do it? It is policy written by business people interested in making schools about efficiency, production, and data and it completely ignores the human aspects of learning and teaching. It is killing our students and teachers.
As the article points out, there are schools in Baltimore that have escaped this policy and they are in affluent communities. These community schools are thriving because they have kept the democratic, humanities based learning. Roland Park and Mt Washington for example. Why the difference?
In testing-dominated system, real learning comes outside the classroom After school, extracurricular activities offer profound benefits, but usually for the privileged
By Stephanie A. Flores-Koulish and Janell Lewis 1:47 p.m. EDT, May 9, 2013 Baltimore Sun
It's Teacher Appreciation Week, the standardized testing season has mostly ended in the public schools this year — and what have we learned? Parents have learned that their first-graders are developing test anxiety. Teachers have learned that they need to tell parents to accept the fact that these high-stakes tests are not going anywhere. But perhaps most importantly, some of us have learned that some of the best kind of learning happens after school, or once the testing demands have passed.
Though some are resigned to this reality, others across the nation are not complacent. Recently, for example, John Tierney described in The Atlantic how there is a growing wave of activism around standing up against the standardized testing movement.
Still, here in Maryland, school days are filled with tight mandates for teachers and students, leaving them with less time to spend on creative, open-ended activities. Frequently, students come home with worksheets, prepping them for skills-based material that will be tested once a year on a test that does little if anything to improve their learning. Instead, these tests seem intended to determine which schools have students from wealthier families with cultural capital who will score high on these tests, as opposed to the opposite. And the cycle continues.
One of those "good" schools happens to be our school, in Baltimore City — Roland Park Elementary/Middle, where one of us is a parent and the other a teacher. Yet still, a lot of the good stuff is happening after school hours. For example, Ms. Flores-Koulish's daughter's fourth-grade team for a club called Destination Imagination (DI) recently competed on the regional and state levels with great success. Their accomplishments qualified them to compete at the Global Tournament, which is being held in Knoxville, Tenn., this month. DI is the world's largest creative thinking and problem-solving competition. They will be competing against schools from all over the world. The club is parent-led and after school, and it is fortunate that we have the capacity and the time for it.
The school's middle school National Academic League (NAL) team recently competed in the final four of the national tournament. NAL is a quiz bowl league that follows "sports like" rules for students to answer trivia questions in math, science, language arts, and social studies as well as popular culture and current events. There are four rounds of stimulating play, and the students learn a lot from it while having a great time. NAL is led by Ms. Lewis and her teacher colleague, with the games running after school and practices held before school two times a week.
Sometimes, creative learning can actually still creep into the curriculum during the school day, and thankfully, we both see that at Roland Park. For example, fourth-graders recently had an art opening at Evergreen Cafe in the city that demonstrated their understanding of the Baltimore City school construction bill that they studied in social studies and art. Importantly, it was "real" curriculum and not simulated for a standardized assessment. Students could eloquently describe the process of legislative change while it was occurring.
In another example, Ms. Lewis' sixth-grade social studies students found the time to analyze the Disney film "Mulan" after studying Ancient China to determine the ways in which Hollywood alters history to tell a seamless tale and profit from it. These same students also held a fundraiser for Native American charities during an event in which they collaboratively shared their knowledge on posters about the real history of Native Americans in the U.S., from the "Trail of Tears" to the boarding schools, which they learned about in language arts and social studies. No doubt there are other examples. Knowledge of this sort cannot be shown in robust ways on a simple Scantron.
At the recent American Educational Research Association meeting in San Francisco, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to a group of educational researchers, saying, "Ultimately, a great education involves much more than teaching children simply to read, write, add and subtract. It includes teaching them to think and write clearly, and to solve problems and work in teams. It includes teaching children to set goals, to persist in tasks, and to help them navigate the world."
Mr. Duncan needs to travel north and witness these qualities and then think about how we can have more of them, during the school day, for all students — not just the privileged. Teachers, parents, and especially children would find public school that much richer. And that would clearly show teachers the appreciation and respect they deserve this week (and every week).
Stephanie A. Flores-Koulish is an associate professor and director of the Curriculum & Instruction Program in the School of Education at Loyola University Maryland. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Janell Lewis is a sixth-grade teacher at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School.
You can see by this online 'teaching school' in Maryland how cheapened our school system is being made by Third Way corporate pols like O'Malley. These online programs are by their nature providing a platform for educators that will lower quality and be less selective in students/graduates. Know where these online educators will ultimately teach? In charter schools that are being made into businesses. THIS IS MARYLAND FOR YOU.....HOME OF TIERED AND CORPORATE EDUCATION BY GOVERNOR O'MALLEY!
Teaching & Education Degrees in Maryland
More than 35 percent of the people living in Maryland hold bachelor's degrees or higher. If you are interested in joining the ranks of the state's highly-educated, Maryland teaching degrees could be the path for you. Teaching programs in Maryland offer the fundamentals needed to enter this profession. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle school teachers employed in Maryland were some of the highest paid in the nation. The state is home to more than 60 colleges and universities, so you should be able to find many options to fit your needs. If the on-campus experience doesn't supply what you are seeking, you could find an alternative through one of the programs offering online teaching degrees in Maryland -- and even find yourself teaching online as well. Maryland teachers are qualified to teach at online elementary schools and beyond. No matter what method of study you chose, teaching programs in Maryland prepare you for teaching. Your courses should revolve around education philosophies, teaching strategies and how to identify and meet the needs of students. The 175,690 workers in Maryland's state's education, training, and library occupations earned mean annual wages of $56,460 in May of 2009, according to BLS data. Elementary school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $61,000, while middle school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $64,510. Not only do teaching degrees in Maryland offer an opportunity to enter a respected field, they could open the door to a satisfying salary.
This is of course Alonzo's legacy with Baltimore public schools and it was his mission given to him by O'Malley who appointed him at the request of Wall Street's Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins. Running schools as businesses goes against all that is education policy for the past century. It was successful policy that was sidelined by the equally bad policies of removing textbooks from classrooms and allowing calculators in math classes. That was not a teacher's choice....it was policy from the same people giving us this current reform policy!!!
Clear thinking about: Running public schools "like a business"
Submitted by Steven Norton on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 7:08pm Michigan Parents for Schools
One of the things we hear over and over are calls to run our public schools “like a business.” The basic argument is that if schools were run in a more businesslike manner, they would not have the budget problems we are seeing today. It sounds like a simple argument, and that gives it great appeal. The reality is more complex. Let’s take a look at how it plays out in the real world.
Running a school district like a business implies more than just spending carefully and operating in a rational and efficient manner. Many people who make this argument are really asking for schools to do what private sector firms theoretically do: deliver a good product at the lowest possible cost.
But this is where things get sticky: businesses and schools have profoundly different objectives. For a business, the primary goal is profit for the owners; for a school, the primary goal is a quality education. Is it any wonder, then, that the systems they use to meet those objectives would look very different?
Imagine running a company where you had to provide all prospective customers with a high quality product for free, and some other entity determined how much money you would have to make that happen, based on factors that aren’t really connected to your costs. Not so easy.
The primary objective of any private business is to generate a reasonable return on investment to the owners (proprietor or shareholders). This is a financial goal: success is measured in terms of dollars. Everything else – the cost of materials, the quality of the product, the cost of labor – is manipulated in order to generate a sustainable return on investment. (Businesses don’t actually maximize profit; maximizing anything gets harder as you go along. Instead, they aim to generate returns that are “good enough” to be competitive given other alternatives investors might choose and the relative risk of these various investments.)
One critical consequence of this is that the product – whether a good or service – is considered “good enough” if it attracts sufficient buyers to generate a profit and a reasonable amount of growth. The product is not the point of the business: the return on investment is. That return on investment is evaluated in both the short term and the long term, and these different perspectives lead businesses to balance various priorities (profit today versus growth tomorrow, and so on).
For our public schools, however, the product – a quality education – is the point. Where private businesses focus on generating a good financial return, the mission of our public schools is to provide the best education possible given resource constraints. This has a few consequences. The most important is that varying the quality of the product in order to control costs is simply not an option for school systems. In fact, many of the levers private businesses use to control their finances (product quality and price, for instance) are not available to public schools. Demand for their product (the number of children they must serve, the needs of the community for an educated populace) is mostly unrelated to the revenue they have available. This is especially true in Michigan, where local demand has little impact on the per pupil funding districts receive.
Another consequence is the disconnect between the buyers and beneficiaries of the product. If you buy a car, or a microwave, it becomes fairly clear in short order whether you got what you paid for. As a result, a business will not offer a product with features that no one is willing to pay for, but consumers will pay for products that provide direct benefit. But with schools, the “buyers” – the taxpayers of today – will not be able to see the return on their investment for many years. The total impact of a public education won’t be clear until today’s children grow into adults. We may try to measure quality indirectly, using things like standardized tests, but the results of those tests do not guarantee long term success.
In fact, it is this very disconnect that prompted the creation of publicly-financed schools in the first place. This nation was founded in part on the principle that government should be “by the people,” and to do that you need to have an educated citizenry. Unlike other nations at the time, where education was reserved for the select few, the new United States committed to making a basic education available to all. The reason this became a public, rather than private, project is because of what economists call “market failure”: the huge time gap between the purchase and the return effectively discourages most private investment. Moreover, the measure of the benefits is only indirectly financial – it comes in the form of quality of life and effective governance, both things which are hard to measure in dollars.
In short, what public education is all about is making an investment in the future, an investment that for the most part will not bring a return for 20 years or more. The amount we invest – the “cost” of a child’s education – is not driven by impersonal market forces, but by the choices we as a society make about how many resources we will give to our schools. Our willingness to invest depends on our perception of the long term importance of education.
This is where efficiency arguments get tangled up. It’s one thing to reduce duplication and take advantage of economies of scale in our schools. But it’s quite another to extend to schools the logic businesses use to evaluate the cost of production: for a business, production if efficient as long as the product actually sells and costs are sufficiently below revenue. This calculation ignores quality, since different levels of quality command different prices. But what if quality is the only thing that matters? Would wage and benefit cuts – the kinds of tools usually used to reduce costs and increase productivity – really have no effect on the quality of our schools’ “product”?
Products versus services
Another complication raised by the “run schools like a business” argument is that there are many different kinds of private business. Because of Michigan’s manufacturing history, most people who compare schools to business are unconsciously using businesses that make products for the comparison. But there are other kinds of business: service business. Providing an education is arguably more like providing accounting services than making instrument panels.
Let’s think about the characteristics of service businesses. There are some which specialize in work which requires modest skills, commands low wages and thus can be sold at low prices. On the other hand, there are services which require great skill, command high pay and cost a great deal. (Think lawyers, accountants, doctors, for instance.) Moreover, many of those high-skill service providers face a situation rather like our public schools: the quality of their work is not immediately self-evident. The quality of a doctor’s work may not be apparent until a patient has been healthy for years; the quality of an accountant’s work may not be clear until you are subjected to an audit.
In all these cases, reputation is key and it takes time to build. Your current client may not be immediately sure that your work was done well, but when the quality is tested, they are in a position to recommend you (or not) to other, new clients. In other words, the time horizon of people who run these kinds of service businesses is quite long; think of all the firms named after partners who are long dead. Investing in quality today is a reasonable business strategy if your future business depends less on your price than on your reputation for quality. This is particularly true if you provide a service where low quality has especially serious consequences.
For schools, the long term perspective is the same. Handed an educational mission by their communities, they must invest in the long term. Children will spend twelve to thirteen years in their care, and quality – or lack of it – is cumulative. Short-term cuts that reduce quality have amplified long-term effects. (It’s hard to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, and even if you can, you’ve done a disservice to a whole cohort of children.)
Many people recognize that teaching children is a high-skill, high qualification job which should be reasonably well compensated if you want a high-quality service. Others, however, are stuck thinking of teachers more like manufacturing workers, where education requirements are modest, individuals are easily replaced, and short term layoffs don’t really have much effect on next year’s production.
Schools as a public project
Private business can teach a lot to the public sector, including our schools. Organizations which are constantly under pressure to innovate and economize on resources will have developed techniques and tools to use available resources as efficiently as possible. Those methods and tools can be useful in any large organization, regardless of how it is owned.
But the public sector, including our schools, cannot operate according to the logic of private business, nor should we try to make them do so. Every private business is driven to generate a profit that can be distributed to owners, and all decisions about the operations of the business are subordinated to that goal. Whether a high-quality product is sold for a high price, or a lower-quality product is sold for a lower price, each business tries to find the right balance between costs and revenues for the particular part of the market they are trying to serve.
The public sector, in contrast, is charged with providing goods and services that benefit the public as a whole. Higher quality, if possible, is always better. And the return on the investment of taxpayer funds is not immediate, and may not even be financial. But the benefits do accrue to all of us, now and in the future.
The public sector, including our schools, is the tool that we the people use to make sure our government “of the people” is also “for the people.” The job of the public sector is to attend to those tasks which affect the quality of life of citizens but might not attract sufficient private investment. At our direction, the public sector provides the infrastructure – everything from roads and airports to laws and schools – which allows the private sector to function effectively. When we the people direct that a quality education be provided to all without restriction, we do so because: we know that a democracy functions best when all citizens can intelligently participate in governing; we know that each mind not developed to its full potential is a dead-weight loss to society; and we know that the best way to ensure prosperity and happiness for each of us is to do our best to ensure it for all.
Our schools, in other words, are our common vehicle for investing in the future – for all of us. That investment should be made wisely, and the “investors” (all of us) have a right to participate in how that investment is directed and to ensure it is being used well. But we also have a responsibility to remember why we created public schools in the first place and to invest accordingly – with an eye to the future of our whole community.
REMEMBER, IT IS NOT ONLY PROPERTY TAX THAT CITY COUNCIL AND THE GOVERNOR ARE DIVERTING FROM GOVERNMENT COFFERS THAT WOULD BE DESIGNED FOR SCHOOLS.....IT IS ALL OF GAMBLING PROCEEDS THAT WE WERE SOLD ON AS PRO-EDUCATION.
Can you imagine using taxpayer money to train employees for businesses? Neither can I and yet Third Way corporate democrats are throwing the kitchen sink at businesses to maximize profits using public taxpayer money and student tuition to augment the costs of doing business!
This is towards what the state and city revenue coming from gambling will go. It won't hit K-12, it will be used to boost business profits on the backs of people. A community college is now a public job training program. What about all those casino unions all having apprenticeships that have the unions and businesses paying for on-the-job training as has been the norm for almost a century? YOU CAN'T MAXIMIZE CORPORATE PROFITS THAT WAY SAYS O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE, corporate pols to the end.
This is ridiculous folks. We have government coffers starved of tax revenue and corporations 'donating' money to non-profits that write public policy like this. Simply vote these corporate democrats out of office and run and vote for labor and justice next elections!!!!
AACC Casino Dealer School bets on growing needs at Maryland Live
By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun 8:03 p.m. EDT, May 9, 2013
The course is "Introduction to Casino Gambling," but upon entering the classroom, one might be tempted to place a bet at the roulette wheel, the craps table or any of the other table game layouts.
As he stared at the roulette wheel, Christopher Lamb of Elkridge, a student who has taken one week of the Anne Arundel Community College course, could scarcely contain his excitement at the thought of working in a casino.
"It is an amazing game, just on gambling and chance, and who knows where the ball is going to land? I just find that really incredible, the ball spinning in the wheel and placing your bets on the ball," he said.
Lamb is enrolled in casino dealer courses offered by AACC's Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. Current classes began May 6. Maryland Live financed and ran an earlier AACC-certificated dealer school from January to March to train some of the 1,200 employees the casino needed when table games opened April 11.
The dealer school is housed at Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie. Many of the students have their sights on employment at Maryland Live, and the dealer school brochure points to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics that predict that employment for dealers will grow by 17 percent by 2020. Maryland Live supervisors lead training in the classes, which are conducted at least four days a week and four hours a day. Some run through October.
"The partnership between the college and Maryland Live actually preceded the casino building," said Mary Ellen Mason, director of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. "We were approached by casino management to do a student-led project in which our purchasing and cost-control students developed and tested recipes for their buffet restaurant. And they didn't have facilities to do that."
Mason said AACC also provided culinary facilities for the casino's final Suisse chef testing for candidates. The current dealer school has transitioned to Anne Arundel Community College as open-enrollment classes that are no longer paid for by Maryland Live.
Dealer school offers such courses as "Introduction to Craps," "Casino Blackjack Dealer" and "Casino Mini Baccarat Dealer." Mason said the school created three noncredit courses last year.
"Being a new industry to the state, there weren't a lot of trained workers available for them," Mason said, "so it gave the college an opportunity to provide that training that allowed individuals within the county and surrounding counties to get whatever training is necessary to pursue long-term careers in a new and growing industry within the state."
She spoke just moments before the start of the "Introduction to Casino" course. The class teaches casino organization, handling money, counting odds, and working with cards and chips.
"A lot of [the students] understand the service industry and know how to meet and greet guests," said Paul Sheppard, an adjunct instructor at HCAT and a shift manager at Maryland Live. "Things that are tough are shuffling the cards, cutting of the [chips]."
Sheppard gathered up a large stack of $5 chips to show how he would give them to patrons seated around the table. Breaking down the stack to give each patron five chips, he lowered the stack with his fingers to the table and released four at a time in a matter of seconds, as if he were placing cherries atop chocolate sundaes.
"They also have to learn the element of picking [chips]," he said. "If you say, 'Three red,' dealers have to look at you and pick up the chips without looking at the chips. Everyone can cut chips after a while, but to do it neatly and effectively, it takes at least a year."
AACC student Wayne Jones of Randallstown said he has visited Maryland Live on several occasions. He has played the table games and slots, but said he has also "observed those working at the facility, to get a feel for the environment of the gaming industry."
"Having been retired for the past three years and recognizing that gaming in Maryland is growing, friends of mine that have entered into the gaming industry had encouraged me to seek training as a dealer," Jones said.
Lamb enrolled after a stint at Howard Community College, where he was working toward a degree in elementary education. But he ultimately lost interest in teaching. After playing for the first time in a cruise ship casino, he discovered what he hopes to make a career.
"I gave it some thought," he said, "and I found it more interesting than I ever thought it would be."
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-ar-aacc-casino-20130508,0,479499.story#ixzz2SuPyooe2