The REAL left public policy stance is not only to organize busted teachers and professors-----but to stop the dismantling of our professional class employed in public institutions aimed at educating WE THE PEOPLE.
It was the Clinton Administration which started this attack on our public schools----he is the face of today's university professors being just a network of temporary adjuncts having no connection to teaching students to be citizens. They are now too busy being FEARFUL of not having a job. That is why our college campuses are tied to Clinton global neo-liberalism----and not protecting a Bernie Sanders left social Democratic platform.
Knowing Clinton did this to our university professors how could the AFT ----our public K-12 teacher's union support a Hillary? The answer is national labor union leaders are not working for our US labor---they are partnered with global Wall Street....
The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back
Can a budding labor movement improve the lives of non-tenured faculty—and, in the process, fix higher education?
Representative Keith Ellison at a demonstration in support of an adjunct-professor union at Macalester College. Jamie Long
- Elizabeth Segran
- Apr 28, 2014
Mary-Faith Cerasoli has been reduced to “sleeping in her car, showering at college athletic centers and applying for food stamps,” The New York Times recently reported. Is she unemployed? No, in fact, she is a college professor— but an adjunct one, meaning she is hired on a short-term contract with no possibility of tenure.
A spate of research about the contingent academic workforce indicates that Cerasoli’s circumstances are not exceptional. This month, a report by the American Association of University Professors showed that adjuncts now constitute 76.4 percent of U.S. faculty across all institutional types, from liberal-arts colleges to research universities to community colleges. A study released by the U.S. House of Representatives in January reveals that the majority of these adjuncts live below the poverty line.
Over spring break, Cerasoli publicly protested her working conditions on the steps of New York Department of Education wearing a vest emblazoned with the words “Homeless Prof” on it. Her efforts dovetail with a national labor movement in which thousands of adjuncts are fighting for change within the higher-education system. In the short-term, adjuncts are demanding a living wage, but they are also proposing long-term solutions to structural problems ailing universities. Many argue that the dependence on contingent labor is part of a larger pattern of corporatizing the university, which they believe is harming not just professors and students, but society more broadly.
“While there are micro-tragedies in the lives of individual adjuncts, there is also a macro, systemic problem unfolding,” said Adrianna Kezar, co-founder of the Delphi Project which examines how the changing faculty affects student success. Her data consistently shows that students who take more classes with adjuncts are more likely to drop out.
“Students aren’t getting what they pay for or, if they are, it is because adjuncts themselves are subsidizing their education.”Kezar told me that this high attrition rate has nothing to do with the quality of instruction adjuncts provide; it is entirely a function of the compromised working conditions adjuncts face. Tenure-track professors have a wealth of career-development tools at their disposal; in contrast, Kezar says, universities do not give adjuncts the basic resources they need to properly teach their courses, such as sample syllabi or learning objectives. Since most departments hire adjuncts at the last minute, they are often inadequately prepared to enter the classroom. Universities do not provide adjuncts with office space, making it difficult for them to meet with students outside class. To make matters worse, many adjuncts teach at several colleges to make ends meet: Commuting—sometimes between great distances—further reduces the time they can devote to individual students.
Despite challenging working conditions, many adjuncts continue to meet with students and perform other time-consuming tasks they are not compensated for, such as writing recommendation letters or attending departmental meetings. “Students aren’t getting what they pay for or, if they are, it is because adjuncts themselves are subsidizing their education,” Maria Maisto, president of the adjunct activist group New Faculty Majority, told me. “Adjuncts are donating their time; they are providing it out of pocket.”
The presence of adjuncts also affects the quality of education in subtler ways. The tenure system was originally designed to foster academic freedom by allowing professors to voice unpopular opinions without the fear of being fired: in contrast, adjuncts can have their contracts terminated without a grievance process. Maisto told me that many adjuncts are afraid to challenge their students in class because poor student evaluations could cost them their jobs. “College is no longer creating a critically-thinking citizenry who can participate actively in a democracy,” she said.
Emily Van Duyne, an adjunct professor in New Jersey, told me she finds it uncomfortable to teach her students about issues like the American Civil Rights Movement when she feels unable to change her own unjust working conditions. “It feels very strange asking students to hone their critical thinking skills about an oppressive culture and the ways you can respond effectively, when you are teaching out of a broken system,” she told me.
The adjunct crisis also restricts the research output of American universities. For adjuncts scrambling between multiple short-term, poorly paid teaching jobs, producing scholarship is a luxury they cannot afford. “We have lost an entire generation of scholarship because of this,” Debra Leigh Scott, an adjunct activist and documentary filmmaker, told me. “Adjunct contracts not only drive professors into poverty, it makes it next to impossible for them to do the kind of scholarship they have trained an average of ten years to do.” Scott suggests that the loss of academic scholarship has ripple effects throughout society, since fewer scholars are contributing to national discussions on issues like the ethics of business and the value of the humanities. “If you lose these expert voices then who is really left speaking?” she asks. “You get the pundits on either side, but there is not a lot of depth to the conversations being held. There has been a dumbing down of discourse across all platforms.”
How did it come to this? Jeffrey Selingo, author of College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students, argues that the shift towards contingent labor occurred because university administrators began to focus on enhancing the student experience outside—rather than inside—the classroom. “We moved away from a faculty-centric university to one focused on serving students,” he told me. “To attract students, universities need amenities to keep up in an arms race with other institutions,” he says. Instead of being an institution of public good, the university began to look more and more like a business in which the student was the customer.
Selingo points out that university administration costs have ballooned over the last two decades, as universities hired non-faculty staff to run the growing list of campus amenities. Given these skyrocketing expenses, administrators felt pressure to cut costs. “As professors started to retire, administrators realized that if they did not hire tenure-track professors, they could have more flexibility with their workforce,” explains Selingo. At the same time, graduate schools were churning out large numbers of Ph.D.s willing to teach single courses for a few thousand dollars, so hiring adjuncts seemed like a simple solution.
Maisto argues that in the midst of these changes administrators lost sight of the university’s mission. “This adjunct crisis did not happen because of some grand, nefarious plot,” she told me. “It has to do with the reactive character of university leadership who got caught up in short-term thinking rather than intentional, long-term strategic planning.” Yet, Maisto and other activists believe that it is not too late to change the system.
For many adjuncts, the first step is to fight for better compensation and benefits. Apart from improving their quality of life, adjuncts believe increased wages will more accurately reflect their value and give them more influence within the university.
Adjuncts have been increasingly turning to labor unions for guidance on how to deploy collective bargaining strategies to exert force on the administration. Marie Dormuth, an adjunct at The New School, told me that seeking help from the United Auto Workers was crucial to her union’s success in the face of an administration that forcefully fought back. However, since adjuncts are transient members of the campus, it is often hard for them to find one another, let alone organize. Organizations like Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union, are developing strategies to help adjuncts organize regionally. “So many adjuncts are traveling from campus to campus, so it makes sense to think of the whole metropolitan area as a place of organizing rather than just one university,” Malini Cadambi, an Adjunct Action campaign director, told me.
As they fight for change, Kezar recommends that unions suggest alternative hiring models rather than pushing for more tenured positions. She believes that there is a middle ground between the tenured and adjunct roles, such as longer-term salaried contracts with benefits—a norm in many other industries. “Many administrators cannot see an alternative that is viable for institutions in financial difficulties, especially in the context of no public support for higher education,” she said. Kezar also advocates for universities to do more to equip non-tenure track faculty to do their jobs better by providing more professional development resources.
Some activists argue that part of the solution involves more government funding for higher education. “We need to re-establish the model of free or very inexpensive public universities,” Scott said. By turning the university back into an institution of public good, she believes it will be possible to focus on teaching and cut unnecessary expenditure. “We can discuss how to create faculty ownership and faculty governance again,” she said. Selingo agrees that public funding is a good idea but asserts that it will come with expectations. “States that give more money are going to demand something in return: It is not just a blank check,” he told me. “They will want to enroll students that represent the state and expect that these universities retain these students, graduate them within four years and give them high quality degrees.” That may not sound so bad, but it does represent a loss of freedom for the universities.
Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, says that tackling the adjunct crisis requires the support of middle administrators.* Through her work with the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, a collective of higher education associations that addresses deteriorating faculty working conditions, Feal and others seek to educate administrators, legislators and boards of trustees about working conditions on campuses. “We need to show them that adjunctification is a problem and not a solution,” Feal told me. “They need to choose not to be complicit in a system that abuses adjuncts.” She also argues that we must educate accreditors about how adjunctification lowers the quality of higher education by making it hard for adjuncts—who can be among the best teachers on campus—to engage with students effectively. If administrators are faced with the possibility of lower rankings because of the proportion of adjuncts on their faculty, Feal believes they will change their hiring practices. “Accreditors could change this game overnight,” Feal said.
Organizations like TEACH FOR AMERICA have as a goal breaking down K-12 education professionalism just as Clinton did with our university professors. Who could HOLD POWER ACCOUNTABLE? A tenured university professor. Who does not dare HOLD POWER ACCOUNTABLE----a part-time university adjunct earning poverty wages.
Inside Higher Education is a Bill Gates global education privatization media outlet-----it never asks the right questions----it promotes all the policies tied to global ONE WORLD ONE GLOBAL COMMON CORE CURRICULA via global online tele-education in classrooms in all Foreign Economic Zones----THAT'S A GOOD HUMAN CAPITAL!
Instead of our university professors having Doctorates-----we are now worried if they have TEACHING CERTIFICATES. This of course is not true of global IVY LEAGUES----it is what the 99% of Americans will be exposed to as K-career college vocational training as education.
Others appeared skeptical, with one person writing: "Is there perhaps a Society of Indentured Servants as well? Complete with certification. Pay money and someone will count and certify the number of holes in your head."
Will Adjuncts Pay to Be Certified?
New business announces plan to charge $395 for a process that could assure teaching quality to prospective employers.
August 7, 2008
Led by a long-time adjunct and former University of Phoenix administrator, a new business announced plans Wednesday to offer certification to adjuncts. The idea is to provide training on teaching and then to test adjuncts on that training before providing a certificate that could be used to impress would-be employers. One more thing: The program costs $395, and renewals cost $75 a year.
Whether the business will take off remains to be seen. But the Society of Certified Adjunct Faculty Educators says that participants in beta testing said that they found the program helpful, and that officials at several colleges have already expressed interest in using the certificates -- even perhaps paying for adjuncts to participate or indicating that they prefer candidates with certification.
When many adjuncts start teaching, "they don't know what they are doing.... They are going into it blindly," said Rochelle Santopoalo, the president and founder of the company. Santopoalo is an adjunct at Phoenix and at Benedictine University, and she has worked off and on as an adjunct for 21 years. Formerly she was academic affairs manager for Phoenix's Chicago campus, and in that capacity, she sat in on numerous classes, leading to her conviction that training is essential for part-timers. "I saw hundreds of faculty, teaching all kinds of courses," she said.
The curriculum for certification is focused on 10 "core competencies," on which participants would be tested. The competencies include: staying current in one's discipline, the ability to "construct and deliver course content aligning objectives, methodology and evaluation that supports the learning objectives," using "appropriate teaching strategies that active engage students," the ability to work with diverse student populations, the ability to use technology to support classroom objectives, and so forth.
Santopoalo said she thought many adjuncts would welcome the training, and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills through certification. In an era when some adjuncts complain about lacking health insurance, will they pay $395 for certification?
"We debated that [the price] may be too high, but colleagues I ran this by said it was modest and too low," Santopoalo said. "From a professional development standpoint, what you get for that price is a lot. People blow that money on so many other things for which they don't get real value," Santopoalo said. "I don't think it's an exorbitant amount of money. We are looking for the people who are really invested and see themselves teaching for some time."
She also said that as colleges see the value of certification, they may pick up the tab.
Whether the service will take off remains to be seen.
Desna Wallin, a University of Georgia professor who is the editor of Adjunct Faculty in Community Colleges: An Academic Administrator’s Guide to Recruiting, Supporting, and Retaining Great Teachers, said that certification "may appeal as a short-cut to colleges seeking qualified adjuncts." But she doubted that much time would be saved, as colleges will still want to check out those they are about to put in classrooms. Further, she said that if certification catches on and those seeking it must pay for it, "it would be another financial burden on already underpaid adjuncts."
Keith Hoeller, chair of the Adjunct Faculty Committee of the Washington State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, said he was bothered by the premise of the new business. "The assumption behind certifying adjuncts appears to be that adjuncts are somehow lacking in both knowledge and teaching skills to do an effective job in the classroom. I do not agree with this assumption, and I have seen no evidence to support it," he said.
Since both new adjuncts and new tenure-track professors emerge from the same graduate programs, either with or without training for the classroom, he said it was wrong to assume the adjuncts "are somehow inferior to full-time tenure stream faculty," adding that the new business "appears to be trying to fill a need that does not exist."
The new business prompted discussion Wednesday on an e-mail list for adjuncts. One person suggested that the concept could be positive for adjuncts -- especially if some sort of training (paid for by someone else) led to increased pay. Others appeared skeptical, with one person writing: "Is there perhaps a Society of Indentured Servants as well? Complete with certification. Pay money and someone will count and certify the number of holes in your head."
For these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA privatization and corporatization of our public universities now having the goal of simply imploding our state and local universities from the US TREASURY bond debt----we have research and policy telling us that these policies of breaking down our teachers ----from ending tenure to bringing business employees in as teachers IS FAILING OUR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. Yes, tenured professors need to spend more time in LECTURE HALLS-----WITH STUDENTS and their questions----
THE POINT IS THIS: THESE SAME TENURE POLICIES ARE NOW BEING PUSHED AS THE REASON TO STOP TEACHER TENURE IN OUR K-12 PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
So, how will our K-12 classroom teachers feel free to install information in our lessons relevant to our communities----our status as citizens if they are constantly being rotated in and out----brought from across the nation---all with standardized lessons of Common Core telling them exactly what to say and what information to give.
When a college contracts ‘adjunctivitis,’ it’s the students who lose
BY Joseph Fruscione July 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM EST
Adjunct activists are petitioning the Department of Labor about their working conditions. Photo by Flickr user Bill Selak.
Editor’s Note: Adjuncts now make up more than 70 percent of all college and university faculty, often juggling a course load at multiple universities, earning an average of $2,500 per course. And now they want the Department of Labor to know.
Joseph Fruscione is familiar with that lifestyle. After 15 years as an adjunct at three Washington, DC-area universities, he left academia this past semester to pursue a career as a freelance writer and editor – and activist. He’s part of the adjunct movement that is petitioning the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division about what they say amounts to “wage theft” when they are only paid for the hours they spend in the classroom and not for the research, prep and student-counseling that go into being a good professor.
Fruscione appears in Making Sen$e’s story about older college professors squeezing younger ones out of tenure-track positions, and we caught up with him again in 2014 for our story on “adjunctivitis.” One of the adjuncts in that story, Loyola Marymount’s Arik Greenberg shared his story with Making Sen$e readers (“How one professor’s American dream turned into the American nightmare”), as did another former adjunct, now race car driver, Ingrid Steffensen (“Two loves: An adjunct’s journey from the classroom to the racetrack”). And the protests of homeless adjunct Mary-Faith Cerasoli this spring sparked a social media movement that we documented on this page.
In the column below, adapted and expanded from his own blog, Fruscione updates readers on the adjunct movement and explains why students, parents, alumnus, and anyone concerned with America’s future, should be listening to adjuncts’ concerns about the state of higher education.
— Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor
Soon, American college students will be returning to campus — or perhaps arriving at one for the first time. Students and their parents may not know, however, that they’re arriving on what a New York Times headline from February called “the new college campus.” Virtually gone are the days when a majority of professors were full-time and tenured (or at least tenure-eligible), which gave students a remarkable amount of stability, educational continuity and mentorship opportunities. Nowadays, such professors are the minority of college educators.
In their place are ever-increasing ranks of adjunct professors — some part-time, some full-time, all effectively impermanent. This true new faculty majority comprises almost 75 percent of professors at both private and public institutions. Adjuncts’ contingent, precarious situation is directly linked to the ever-rising cost of tuition that students and their parents will be paying off — perhaps for decades. To be an adjunct professor means several troubling things:
- Most are not paid a living wage (the national average is $2,500 per course)
- Some lack office space and access to computer and library services
- Many have contracts lasting only one semester
- Many have to teach at multiple schools and/or hold part-time jobs
- Many lack basic faculty rights and freedoms (such as the ability to protest unfair working conditions)
- Many have no voice in their colleges’ governance committees
- Most have no means of promotion or advancement
- All are non–tenure track, meaning that they lack the job security, stability, academic freedom, and other rights that define tenured and tenure-track faculty status
American higher education has changed — rapidly, dramatically and problematically. A recent report from the American Association of University Professors provides (among other things) three very troubling statistics. From the mid-1970s to 2011, hiring of full-time tenure-track faculty rose 23 percent; of part-time faculty, 286 percent; of full-time non-faculty professionals, 369 percent.
“Full-time part-timing has become the norm on this ‘new’ — but not better — campus.”Out of context, a 286 percent bump in hiring university teachers would hit the sweet spot. Regardless of grade level, students need plenty of experienced, accessible teachers. In context, though, 286 percent hits a sour note. In roughly 40 years, the two biggest jumps in university hiring have been the ones that help students least: adjunct faculty and (even more nettlesome) senior administrators in the form of provosts, vice-provosts, deans, associate deans, and many others who don’t teach. The drastic increase in adjunct faculty means fewer office hours available for student counseling and mentoring relationships, as well as less job stability for these contingent professors. Most adjuncts have no health, retirement, or other benefits and cannot afford to “retire” from teaching. (Ever.) Full-time part-timing has become the norm on this “new” — but not better — campus.
That’s why we — a group of 10 current and former professors — are sending a petition to David Weil, the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor, to investigate faculty working conditions, mistreatment of adjunct professors and student learning conditions in higher education. So far, the over 2,300 (and counting) people who’ve signed our petition hope things will change. Anyone can sign and share this petition — you don’t have to be a current or former professor, student, tuition-paying parent, or university employee. You simply have to care about the state of the American college and university.
“Students and parents, especially, should know more about how the colleges they’re attending or paying for their child(ren) to attend really work.”Given Weil’s background as a professor and his expertise in labor and economics, we know this petition will resonate with him — and hopefully spur meaningful change. A fellow activist, Ann Kottner, came up with the idea and wrote the first draft. (Ann recently blogged about the petition for Scientific American.) From there, strong collaboration among current adjuncts, a tenured professor, a dean, and others was key to getting the petition out quickly, clearly and effectively.
But we aren’t the only ones willing and able to speak about how much higher education has changed; there are many voices in many different movements around education, labor, academic freedom, and related issues. Students and parents, especially, should know more about how the colleges they’re attending or paying for their child(ren) to attend really work.
We’re thrilled that the petition is going strong. We exceeded 2,000 signatures faster than any of us thought possible a week ago — helped along, in part, by those who’ve tirelessly shared (and reshared) it on social media. But we don’t want this petition to be one of those things you sign, share, and wonder about later.
So what’s next? Why do all these signatures matter?
Ultimately, we want the petition to initiate an investigation into what many of us know: American higher education is broken, and students are being hurt by it, almost irreparably so. We don’t need another overpaid provost or (as some tweeters have termed it) “deanlet” to talk about a “strategic plan,” “vision for the 21st century,” or “flipped classrooms” while never teaching a class. As one of my petition co-writers noted earlier this year, we need fairly paid, fairly treated professors for our students. We also need equitable, stable working conditions for university faculty and staff. We need strong, stable learning conditions for university students.
Adjunct faculty make on average $25,000 a year, according to recent data, while dealing with job instability, poor office conditions, assaults on free speech, unfair dismissals, and other issues that ultimately hamper student learning. As we stress in the petition:
Unlike full-time tenured faculty, the meager pay of contingent faculty often covers only eight months of the year. Summer contracts are hard to come by, generally being the privilege of tenured faculty to earn extra compensation, and the pay periods for those contracts too frequently leave contingent faculty teaching for a month or more with no pay check at all.
In the shorter term, our plan is to hand-deliver the petition to Weil (and, if we’re fortunate, get the attention of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions). Adjunct professors, students and parents need the might and resources of a government department on our side. The movement has had an ally in Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and other Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, whose report on adjunct labor conditions provided what Miller called “an alarming snapshot” of the issue. But we’re already familiar with those conditions; we now need action.
Let’s be clear: this is not a group of current and former academics asking for more money to do less work, for universal tenure, or for anything else to evade teaching responsibilities. A professor’s job, first and foremost, is to teach. This is ultimately about improving student learning conditions in the 21st century by, in part, improving and stabilizing faculty working conditions. In asking the Department of Labor to investigate the troubling state of American higher education, we want Weil and others to help improve the environment for all faculty, students and staff on our campuses.
University administrations need to know that all is not well in their kingdoms, and education — not additional bureaucracy or corporatization — needs to be the primary mission of our schools.
“University administrations need to know that all is not well in their kingdoms, and education — not additional bureaucracy or corporatization — needs to be the primary mission of our schools.”Think, for a moment, about a few things:
Colleges pay enormous salaries to their upper-level administrators while cutting faculty salaries by dismantling tenure and moving faculty to piecemeal adjunct positions — all while citing “pending cuts” and “budgetary realities” that somehow only affect faculty and students.
Colleges keep treating their students like customers, their faculty like cheap and renewable labor, and their leaders like CEOs — none of which propel student learning nearly as much as necessary in the 21st century.
Such fracturing (or “adjunctification”) of college teachers keeps hurting students because professors have limited time to hold office hours, often have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and must further subdivide their attention between additional students, campuses and income streams.
So whether you’re a student, parent, professor, alumnus, or anyone else connected to a university, you should be troubled by these developments. When more and more universities spend time and resources hiring senior administrators and raising tuition, they devalue teaching and teachers, as well as create strained learning conditions for the most important demographic of any school: students. Such massive financial disparities and casualization of educational labor do a lot of things, but helping students be the writers, thinkers and researchers we need them to be in the 21st century isn’t one of them.
We touch on some of this in the petition:
At the same time that faculty jobs have become the equivalent of Walmart employment, the numbers, pay, and perks of administrative jobs have increased at nearly twice the rate as full-time, tenure-track faculty hires. For example, the City University of New York, a once tuition-free public system, is currently paying $18,000/month for its new chancellor’s apartment — the annual equivalent of salaries for twelve part-time adjunct faculty. At George Washington University, several senior administrators make over $1 million annually at a school whose tuition is among the highest in the nation, and several other provosts and deans make high six figures as well. Not surprisingly, these kinds of administrator wages often correlate with high student debt and low adjunct faculty wages.
Read, if you can stomach it, this fine piece by Lawrence Wittner on the growing economic divide on our campuses. For Wittner, “[Administrators’] rapidly-rising income reflects, in part, the fact that the boards of trustees of most higher educational institutions are dominated by businessmen, who, naturally, are accustomed to the outlandish incomes and perks of the corporate world.” Moreover, “The extraordinary growth in the number of administrators can be explained partially by the fact that bureaucrats tend to multiply. Thus, a top administrator, such as the campus president, likes to have subordinate administrators doing his or her work. In turn, the subordinates like to have additional administrators working for them.”
When we talk about “extraordinary growth” on a college campus, we should be talking about expanded educational resources, learning facilities for students and stable full-time hires for faculty — not yet another upper-level administrator making a corporate-equivalent salary.
More lower-level administrative hires — such as counselors and advisers — can greatly help students. Hiring another senior vice associate “deanlet” (or whatever titles they’re using now) instead of a full-time teacher, though, seems to help no one — certainly not students and their teachers. When schools run their budgets dry because they’ve added so many senior administrators that “market realities” or “pending budget cuts” only allow hiring adjuncts on semester-by-semester contracts, no one — save perhaps the admins making high six figures — benefits. No one.
We also address such massive hiring disparities in the petition:
The momentous but gradual change over the last 30 years in the proportion of full-time, tenured, and tenure-track professors to contingent professors has reversed itself. Now, approximately 76% of college professors are contingent labor, predominantly hired on a semester-by-semester contract and making an average of $2500 per 3-credit course. The average yearly income of an adjunct professor hovers in the same range as minimum-wage fast food and retail workers, with many of the same labor problems: lack of job security, inability to find enough working hours to support themselves, lack of health or retirement benefits, periodic unemployment, and outright wage theft.
We — former and current professors, undergraduate and graduate students, parents, and all university workers — need to be proactive and vocal on our campuses and social media. We’re not talking about issues affecting a relatively small, privileged, and “low stress” class of professors. We’re talking about a pattern of mistreatment affecting well over a million university faculty — and many more students — on campuses across the country.
“Let’s not forget that the university labor problem, ultimately, will determine our students’ and our nation’s educational futures.”Let’s not forget that the university labor problem, ultimately, will determine our students’ and our nation’s educational futures. If the new norm on campus is contingent professors with short-term contracts, subpar compensation, and minimal job security, the new norm for students will be unsustainable at best, and destructive at worst. None of us is advocating that all professors should be making six figures, driving luxury cars, teaching only occasionally, and otherwise living it up. Most professors are dedicated to the labor-intensive work of teaching, regardless of our fields, levels of experience, and numbers of students.
Yes, some part-time professors fit the original model for an adjunct professor: an experienced professional who teaches a class in his or her area of expertise. Such work can be fulfilling — a full-time lawyer or journalist (or whatever) can be a useful resource for students. If this true part-time teaching were the rule rather than the exception, we wouldn’t have needed this petition. But since the rule is essentially full-time part-timing for 70-plus percent of professors, less stability for part and full-time faculty, and mounting financial inequalities on our campuses, we are petitioning David Weil and the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate higher education — not for the sake of a chosen few professors, but for the sake of students.
California under REAGAN led the busting of our strong public universities and has since led in installing all that is global neo-liberal corporate education. Here we see as usual for global Wall Street----they are busting our K-12 teaching profession to save the poor students. Be sure it is the Wall Street Baltimore Development 'labor and justice' organizations across the nation bringing underserved communities out against teacher tenure in our K-12.
These few decades of Clinton defunding and dismantling our public K-12----schools losing resources---losing staffing----losing funds to pay teachers has of course lowered standards for city schools. It occurred because of CLINTON----so OBAMA could say WE NEED TO PRIVATIZE TO HELP THOSE CITY STUDENTS. Clinton was as well the one ending Welfare and the same time creating massive unemployment by sending US corporations overseas----creating the long-term unemployment and deep poverty ----AND THIS IS WHY CITY CLASSROOMS HAVE STUDENTS NOT PREPARED OR ATTENTIVE. Knowing first hand for example what Baltimore's teachers these few decades have had to handle with all thes e CLINTO/BUSH/OBAMA-----we know most of our Baltimore public school teachers did the best most people could do ----and yet in the march to end public education and teaching----Baltimore has axed most of these very teachers who related to and had the patience and understanding to garner attention---to enhance learning skills----while today BAltimore's classrooms are filled with Teach for America---VISTAs ---any part-time business adjunct----while all research says AS EVERYONE KNEW IT WOULD---that student achievement is getting worse----if not remaining the same----
BECAUSE ALL OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS NEEDED WAS FUNDING, RESOURCES, STAFFING, AND THE COMMUNITIES, PARENTS, STUDENTS, AND TEACHERS WOULD HAVE DONE FINE ON THEIR OWN.
Based on testimony that one to three percent of California teachers are likely “grossly ineffective”—thousands of people, who mostly teach at low-income schools—he reasoned that current tenure policies “impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.”
The goal of course is to end any ability of US workers to have lifetime careers-----the instability harms both the students and families in denying any ability to feel job security.
Will California's Ruling Against Teacher Tenure Change Schools?
A judge said the state discriminates against poor and minority students by protecting the jobs of ineffective instructors. What will this mean for education?
- Dana Goldstein
- Jun 11, 2014
On Tuesday, a California superior-court judge ruled that the state’s teacher tenure system discriminates against kids from low-income families. Based on testimony that one to three percent of California teachers are likely “grossly ineffective”—thousands of people, who mostly teach at low-income schools—he reasoned that current tenure policies “impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.” The ruling, in Vergara v. California, has the potential to overturn five state laws governing how long it takes for a teacher to earn tenure; the legal maneuvers necessary to remove a tenured teacher; and which teachers are laid off first in the event of budget cuts or school closings.
Tenure has existed in K-12 public education since 1909, when “good-government” reformers borrowed the concept from Germany. The idea spread quickly from New Jersey to New York to Chicago and then across the country. During the Progressive Era, both teachers unions and school-accountability hawks embraced the policy, which prevented teaching jobs from being given out as favors by political bosses. If it was legally difficult to fire a good teacher, she couldn’t be replaced by the alderman’s unqualified sister-in-law.
Tenure remains common in schools around the world, but since 2009, two-thirds of American states have weakened their teacher-tenure laws in response to President Obama’s Race to the Top program. California, where Governor Jerry Brown is far more sympathetic to the teachers unions than most governors, was not among them. The Vergara ruling is an especially big blow to unions on typically sympathetic turf.
Judge Rolf Treu’s decision will not take effect while the California Teachers Association mounts an appeal. Depending on the outcome of that effort, his ruling may or may not ever impact the lives of California teachers. But the ruling’s rhetoric is stern and memorable stuff, borrowed directly from the playbook of the Silicon Valley philanthropists and deep-pocketed advocacy groups that bankrolled Vergara. Citing familiar economic research showing that great teachers increase their students’ annual earnings by 1.3 percent, Judge Treu wrote that “grossly ineffective teachers substantially undermine the ability of [a] child to succeed in school. … The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.” Ending tenure and other seniority protections for teachers, he ruled, would protect the civil rights of California’s poor children to “basic equality in public education.”
Is the premise of Treu’s ruling correct? Will axing tenure and seniority lead directly to better test scores and higher lifetime earnings for poor kids?
Here’s where the judge is right: It is difficult—actually, close to impossible—to argue that California’s teacher-tenure system makes sense. Research shows that most first-year teachers are mediocre at best. But good teachers tend to make huge jumps in effectiveness by the end of their second year on the job, and those improvements are often visible through classroom observation and students’ rising test scores. Yet California evaluates teachers for tenure in March of their second year of work, before two full years of student-teacher data are available.
This means that under current California law, principals are forced to make high-stakes decisions about teachers without enough evidence. This disadvantages students, who might get stuck with sub-par instructors, but it also hurts teachers, who aren’t given enough time to prove their skill. Once a teacher earns tenure, it can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars—and countless administrative and legal man-hours—for a district to permanently remove him from his job. And in the event of budget cuts or school closings, California law mandates that the least experienced teachers be laid off first, even if they are more effective than their older colleagues, a policy known as “LIFO,” or “Last In, First Out.”
California is an outlier. Only 12 states have formal laws on the books mandating LIFO. Nationally, teachers work an average of 3.1 years before they become eligible for tenure. Not even teachers support the idea of tenure after less than two years on the job. A 2012 survey of 10,000 teachers found that, on average, they believed it was reasonable to work 5.4 years before being evaluated for tenure. As Treu noted in his ruling, the arguments in Vergara revealed remarkable consensus between the prosecution and defense on the fact that California’s tenure policies are far from best practices.
But here’s where Judge Reulf’s theory is faulty: Getting rid of these bad laws may do little to systemically raise student achievement. For high-poverty schools, hiring is at least as big of a challenge as firing, and the Vergara decision does nothing to make it easier for the most struggling schools to attract or retain the best teacher candidates.
Too few of the best teachers are willing to work in the country’s most racially isolated and poorest neighborhoods.
From 2009 to 2011, the federal government offered 1,500 effective teachers in 10 major cities—including Los Angeles—a $20,000 bonus to transfer to an open job at a higher poverty school with lower test scores. In the world of public education, $20,000 is a major financial incentive. All these teachers were already employed by urban districts with diverse student populations; they weren’t scared of working with poor, non-white children. Yet less than a quarter of the eligible teachers chose to apply for the bonuses. Most did not want to teach in the schools that were the most deeply segregated by race and class and faced major pressure to raise test scores.
Principals have known about this problem for ages. In Chicago, economist Brian Jacob found that when the city’s school district made it easier for principals to fire teachers, nearly 40 percent of principals, including many at the worst performing, poorest schools, fired no teachers at all. Why? For one thing, firing a coworker is unpleasant. It takes more than a policy change to overturn the culture of public education, which values collegiality and continuous improvement over swift accountability. That culture is not a wholly bad thing—with so many teachers avoiding the poorest schools, principals have little choice but to work with their existing staffs to help them get better at their jobs.
The lesson here is that California’s tenure policies may be insensible, but they aren’t the only, or even the primary, driver of the teacher-quality gap between the state’s middle-class and low-income schools. The larger problem is that too few of the best teachers are willing to work long-term in the country’s most racially isolated and poorest neighborhoods. There are lots of reasons why, ranging from plain old racism and classism to the higher principal turnover that turns poor schools into chaotic workplaces that mature teachers avoid. The schools with the most poverty are also more likely to focus on standardized test prep, which teachers dislike. Plus, teachers tend to live in middle-class neighborhoods and may not want a long commute.
Educational equality is about more than teacher-seniority rules: It is about making the schools that serve poor children more attractive places for the smartest, most ambitious people to spend their careers. To do that, those schools need excellent, stable principals who inspire confidence in great teachers. They need rich curricula that stimulate both adults and children. And ideally, their student bodies should be more socioeconomically integrated so schools are less overwhelmed by the social challenges of poverty. Of course, all that is a tall policy order; much more difficult, it turns out, than overturning tenure laws.
Indeed=====the 5% to the 1% are the ones leading this privatization as they shout how bad US public schools are---public school policies are---they already have or are starting to build for-profit K-12s -----with global neo-liberal goals.
WE THE PEOPLE MUST HAVE STRONG PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO REBUILD OUR STATUS AS CITIZEN WITH A QUALITY OF LIFE.
A rotation of citizens worked too hard-----under too many demands does not bode well for anything other than global education corporation profit-maximization.
'It proposes, as an urgently necessary national project, to replace them with a school system governed by metrics, choice, incentive compensation, and personnel reductions. It is roughly the same prescription that activist investors would apply to an industrial corporation of the same vintage as the education system. And this is no coincidence: many of the leaders of education reform are activist investors. The proselytizing and structure-building proclivities of the social reformers of a century ago are nowhere to be seen in education reform'.
How Michelle Rhee Misled Education Reform
A memoir illustrates what's wrong with her brand of school reform
By Nicholas Lemann
May 20, 2013
The other day I picked up a copy of The Adventures of Augie March. I hadn’t remembered that Saul Bellow, writing in the early 1950s, when he was not yet forty, about Chicago in the 1920s, had been in full sympathy with the urban poor, as he definitely was not later in his career. There is a hilarious bit in the early pages in which Grandma Lausch, the March family’s boarder and a master at avoiding bills, including the rent she owes the Marches, expertly intimidates Lubin, the neighborhood welfare caseworker who comes for regular home visits wearing an ill-fitting suit: “He had a harassed patience with her of ‘deliver me from such clients,’ though he tried to appear master of the situation.”
Today’s education-reform movement has something of the venerable dynamic of American social improvement about it. We no longer have caseworkers who inspect poor people’s apartments in person, but we definitely have members of the same ethnic group as the very poor, doing better but not all that much better than their clients, charged with the often exasperating job of performing the functions of betterment: the mainly black teachers at all-black, all-poor public schools, for example. Another category of character in the drama, often just offstage, comprises the well-meaning patricians who designed the system—social work and settlement houses a century ago, charter schools and accountability regimes today—who feel some mixture of moral outrage about “conditions,” swelling pride in the selflessness of their intentions, and frustration over being so often unappreciated by the objects of their largesse.
Like all significant causes, education reform bears the mark of its time. These days we trust markets and mistrust institutions, especially of the state, so education reform proposes to take apart the main structures of schooling in America—a network of districted public schools and a unionized teaching corps. It proposes, as an urgently necessary national project, to replace them with a school system governed by metrics, choice, incentive compensation, and personnel reductions. It is roughly the same prescription that activist investors would apply to an industrial corporation of the same vintage as the education system. And this is no coincidence: many of the leaders of education reform are activist investors. The proselytizing and structure-building proclivities of the social reformers of a century ago are nowhere to be seen in education reform.
In the late aughts, Michelle Rhee, during her brief run as chancellor of the Washington, D. C. school system, became the face of the education-reform movement: a young, tough, impassioned, camera-ready crusader who encapsulated the appeal of the movement for those who find it appealing, and its horrors for those who don’t. As in the case of Lubin and Grandma Lausch, the people she was in business to help did not appreciate her as much as they were supposed to. As Rhee freely acknowledges in her memoir and manifesto, the activities that she understood to be on behalf of poor black people in Washington caused her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, to be unseated by Washington’s black voters, barely three years into her term. That meant she lost her job, too. Rhee regrouped and founded a national organization called StudentsFirst, which lobbies for school reform in state legislatures. Her book is meant more to advertise the new phase of her career than to revisit the old one.
Rhee was born in 1969 and grew up mainly in Toledo, the child of Korean immigrants; by her account, she got her social concern from her father and her run-you-over personality from her mother. She describes a year she spent back in Korea as a child, in a large classroom in which every student was numerically ranked against the others every day, as a season in paradise, because it taught her “that it was not only okay but essential to compete.” (Later on she grouses that her daughters have too many soccer medals and trophies even though “they suck at soccer,” which is an example of the way in which “we’ve gone soft as a nation.”) After college she joined Teach for America, which placed her in an inner-city elementary school in Baltimore, and then she enrolled in the Kennedy School at Harvard. Rhee makes a big impression on people. One of them was Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, who asked her to start a new organization that would supply school districts with new teachers in numbers beyond what Teach for America itself (whose magic in the elite universities where it recruits comes from its being highly selective) could generate. Rhee called that organization the New Teacher Project.
In her account of her years in Teach for America, the lesson Rhee wants to impart is that success in the classroom takes time to achieve and depends mainly on discipline and toughness. In her first year she failed miserably: she was a nervous wreck who couldn’t control her classroom. But on the first day of her second year, she writes, she took a new approach: “I wore my game face. No smiles, no joy; I was all thin lips and flinty glares.” She describes making her students line up and walk into the classroom four times, until they had achieved a state of perfect order. “My mistake the first year was trying to be warm and friendly with the students, thinking that my kids needed love and compassion. What I knew going into my second year was that what my children needed and craved was rigid structure, certainty, and stability.” Once we get past the glorification of the drill-sergeant approach to life, which with Rhee always takes a while, we learn that it also helped that she was guided by other teachers into using different and more effective (more hard-ass and less progressive, naturally) reading and math curricula, and mastering the best ways to use them.
But as soon as she becomes head of an organization, and a voice in public debates, and (perhaps most importantly) a regular fund-raiser among the very rich and their foundations, Rhee’s story begins to change into one in which everything wrong with public education is attributable to the malign influence of the teachers’ unions. Rhee is a major self-dramatizer. As naturally appealing to her as is the idea that more order, structure, discipline, and competition is the answer to all problems, even more appealing is the picture of herself as a righteously angry and fearless crusader who has the guts to stand up to entrenched power. She is always the little guy, and whoever she is fighting is always rich, powerful, and elite—and if, as her life progresses, her posse becomes Oprah Winfrey, Theodore Forstmann, and the Gates Foundation lined up against beleaguered school superintendents and presidents of union chapters, the irony of that situation has no tonal effect on her narrative. Again and again she gives us scenes of herself being warned that she cannot do what is plainly the right thing, because it is too risky, too difficult, too threatening to the unions, too likely to bring on horrific and unfair personal attacks—but the way she’s made, there’s nothing she can do but ignore the warnings and plow valiantly ahead.
Rhee’s story begins to change into one in which everything wrong with public education is attributable to the malign influence of the teachers’ unions. Rhee’s confrontations, especially with Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, brought her to the attention of new patrons, chief among them Joel Klein, then the New York schools chancellor. When Fenty was elected mayor of Washington, he decided that he needed his own Joel Klein, and Klein, among others, steered him to Rhee. As Rhee observes, Washington in the 1950s became the first black-majority American city, but on Fenty’s watch it was on its way to becoming white-majority again, as middle-class blacks decamped to the suburbs and middle-class whites moved back into the city. This meant that white public schools were overcrowded and many black public schools were half-empty. But the black schools were often just about all their neighborhoods had left, as institutions and as employers, so they
engendered fierce loyalty.
Rhee is not one for exquisite sensitivity. She closed schools, fired teachers, and (though she assures us that “I had never sought the limelight”) became famous. She was on the covers of Time (holding a broom) and Newsweek, and was one of the stars of Waiting for Superman. It is usually a fundamental rule of politics that a department head isn’t supposed to do anything to make her boss unpopular or to upstage him. Rhee did not follow this rule. She has a special scorn for “politics” and often praises Fenty for not considering it when making decisions, but this is both un-self-aware (Rhee’s policies were very good politics in white Washington) and impractical. We live in a democracy, so officials have to contend with public opinion and with groups organized to promote their own interests. Many American politicians over the last generation, including all of the last five presidents, have been able to push education policies in the same realm as Rhee’s in a way that kept their coalitions together. That is what Rhee and Fenty were unusually bad at doing, and Rhee’s insistence that “politics” is a terrible thing that only her opponents practice was surely a big part of the reason why.
StudentsFirst, Rhee’s post-Washington organization, lobbies state legislatures around the country to pass education-reform measures. Although it began in a series of meetings in Washington among the influential friends Rhee had made as chancellor--the names she drops in telling of its founding include Rahm Emanuel, Eli Broad, the Aspen Institute, the Hoover Institution, and McKinsey, and her initial requests for philanthropic funding are at the $100 million level—she insists that it is a grassroots organization, “a movement of everyday people.” What this really means is that StudentsFirst has used the latest top-of-the-line Internet-marketing technology to generate a notional membership of more than a million. They do not pay dues and they are not organized into local chapters that hold regular meetings, but when there is an important vote in a state capitol, StudentsFirst can generate turnout to demonstrate that it is engaged in a grand battle between powerless parents and rich unions.
StudentsFirst represents the next step in the journey Rhee has been taking all along. All policy and no operations, it frames education reform exclusively in anti-union terms, and ramps up the rhetoric even higher than it was during Rhee’s chancellorship in Washington. (“No more mediocrity. It’s killing us.”) Rhee actually does know what life is like in a public school, but she either openly or implicitly removes from the discussion of improving schools any issue that cannot be addressed by twisting the dial of educational labor-management relations in the direction of management. She gives us little or no discussion of pedagogical technique, a hot research topic these days, or of curriculum, another hot topic owing to the advent of the Common Core standards, or of funding levels, or class size, or teacher training, or surrounding schools with social services (which is the secret sauce of Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone), or of the burden placed on the system by the expensive growth of special-education programs.
Rhee simply isn’t interested in reasoning forward from evidence to conclusions: conclusions are where she starts, which means that her book cannot be trusted as an analysis of what is wrong with public schools, when and why it went wrong, and what might improve the situation. The only topics worth discussing for Rhee are abolishing teacher tenure, establishing charter schools, and imposing pay-for-performance regimes based on student test scores. We are asked to understand these measures as the only possible means of addressing a crisis of decline that is existentially threatening the United States as a nation and denying civil rights to poor black people.1
Some of the specific causes of Rhee’s early career, such as giving principals the right to accept or reject teachers being transferred into their schools, or not requiring that layoffs be made solely on the basis of seniority, are perfectly reasonable. The mystery of the education-reform movement is why it insists on such a narrow and melodramatic frame for the discussion. You’d never know from most education-reform discourse that anybody before the current movement came along ever cared about the quality of public education. (Remember that the reason both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush became president was that, as governors, they successfully established teacher-accountability regimes that were accomplished in ways that got them reelected and established them as plausible national figures. Rhee treats Clinton as someone who doesn’t have the guts to embrace the cause, and doesn’t even mention Bush.) You’d never know that unionization and school quality are consistent in most of the country (including Washington’s affluent Ward 3) and the world. You’d never know that the research results on charter schools are decidedly mixed. You’d never know that empowered and generally anti-union parents’ and employers’ organizations have been around for decades. (Bush’s education secretary, Margaret Spellings, was once an official of the Texas Association of School Boards.)
Surely one reason that the education-reform movement comports itself in this strident and limited manner is that it depends so heavily on the largesse of people who are used to getting their way and to whom the movement’s core arguments have a powerful face validity. Only a tiny percentage of American children attend the kind of expensive, non-sectarian private schools where many of the elite send their children. It is worth noting that these schools generally avoid giving their students the standardized achievement tests that state education departments require, making the results public, and paying teachers on the basis of the scores, and that they almost never claim to be creating hyper-competitive, commercial-skills-purveying environments for their students. Sidwell Friends, of presidential-daughter fame, says it offers “a rich and rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum designed to stimulate creative inquiry, intellectual achievement and independent thinking in a world increasingly without borders.” That doesn’t sound like it would cut much ice with Michelle Rhee.
But if the world of the more than fifty million Americans who attend or work in public schools is terra incognita to you, then the narrative of a system caught in a death spiral unless something is done right now will be appealing, and the reform movement’s blowtorch language of moral urgency will feel like an unavoidable and principled choice, given the circumstances. It is a measure of the larger social and economic chasm that has opened in the United States over the last generation that the movement has so little ability to establish a civil interaction with public-school teachers, a group made up of millions of people mainly from blue-collar backgrounds, some of whose leadership (such as Albert Shanker, Randi Weingarten’s mentor) was working aggressively and decades ago on the issues that concern education reformers now. The quasi-essentialist idea that teachers are either “great” or should be fired, which pervades Rhee’s book and the movement generally, may be emotionally satisfying, but it utterly fails to capture what would really help in an enormous system. Making most good teachers better, in the manner of Rhee when she was teaching, would be far more useful than focusing exclusively on the tails of the bell curve.
Rhee recounts a crucial moment in her rise, during the early days of the New Teachers Project (TNTP), when, to inspire her staff, she told them the story of a brave group of Korean fighters against the Japanese occupation: “In order to prove their loyalty, they each bit off the top of their pinkie and wrote their name in blood on a banner. When TNTP was entering into a new three-year strategic plan I told the senior management team they all had to bite off their pinkies and sign up for three years.” One flaw Rhee does not have is inauthenticity: she really is the character she plays on television and in the movies. The troubling question is why she has become what the education-reform movement is looking for in a standard bearer.
Nicholas Lemann is dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the author, most recently, of Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
- A few more words on education reform as "the civil rights movement of the twenty-first century," as it likes to call itself. Student performance at poor, all-black schools has always been low--it's not a recent phenomenon, and racial gaps in educational achievement are best understood as having, gradually become less severe over time. And of course it's not the case that nobody truly cared about this problem before the education reform movement came along. Booker T. Washington was a celebrity more than a century ago because he seemed to offer a solution to the problem. Julius Rosenwald of Sears Roebuck, the Jeff Bezos of the early twentieth century, founded more than 5000 black schools in the South to try to ameliorate the problem. The landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision of 1954 was in a sense meant as a solution for the low quality of schools for poor African Americans. The landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act mandated the largest social science survey ever undertaken in the United States (the "Coleman Report"), on the question of why black public school students' performance was unacceptably low. The landmark 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which established federal funding for poor local public schools, was aimed at the same problem. George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law of 2001 was a distinctively Republican approach to the same problem. It would be nice to regard all this history as something to be learned from, not something to dismiss and ignore.
Baby boomers keep shouting to the generations tied to CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----especially our US city public schools----US public schools were always ranked best in the world------WE WERE THE BEST IN THE WORLD----before Clinton defunded, dismantled, and undermined our strong public system just to privatize and globalize this system. When I hear citizens in Baltimore speaking of how public schools have failed children ----without remembering the history of how the US grew the largest black middle-class---by PUBLIC SCHOOLS-----in Baltimore this hyper-privatization is selling the value of being a small business owner over the value of having equal opportunity free public schools. Know what? The public sector for over a century FUELS the creation of small businesses----and there are any number of private education businesses that can exist IN TANDEM WITH OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
We have discussed the bias in global PISA education stats----but we keep coming back to Finland being ranked #1 against Asian hyper-global corporate neo-liberalism because Finland ADOPTED OUR US PUBLIC EDUCATION MODEL THAT WAS WORLD-CLASS before CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA.
FINLAND's social Democratic education model embraces our Western developed nation standards and quality of life----while the Asian models are extremely authoritarian, hyper-competitive-----designed to build that consistent mind-set to career, work, vocation 24/7 that does not relate to how Americans live their lives.
RACE TO THE TOP is that Asian model because global Wall Street wants to end this Western quality of life for ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE GLOBAL LABOR POOL CORPORATE CAMPUS SCHOOLING----
October 7, 2010 • 11:39AM
How Finland Reached the Top of the Educational Rankings
By Alain Jehlen
Many people these days are pointing to Finland as the world’s top success story in student achievement. So what’s their secret?
In the latest issue of NEA Today magazine, we feature an excerpt from a book by Stanford University scholar Linda Darling-Hammond that tells the Finnish story. Basically, Darling-Hammond explains, Finland did the opposite of what we’re doing in America.
In the 1970s, reports Darling-Hammond, Finland’s student achievement was low. But in the decades since, they have steadily upgraded their education system until now they’ve reached the top.
What’s more, they took what was once a wide achievement gap between rich and poor, and reduced it until it’s now smaller than in nearly all other wealthy nations.
* They got rid of the mandated standardized testing that used to tie teachers’ hands.
* They provide social supports for students including a free daily meal and free health care.
* They upgraded the teaching profession. Teachers now take a three-year graduate school preparation program, free and with a stipend for living expenses. In Finland, you don’t go into debt to become a teacher.
* The stress on top-quality teaching continues after teachers walk into their schools. Teachers spend nearly half of their time in school in high-level professional development, collaborative planning, and working with parents.
These changes have attracted more people to the teaching profession — so many that only 15 percent of applicants are accepted.
The Finns trust their teachers, Darling-Hammond reports. They used to have prescriptive curriculum guides running over 700 pages. Now the national math curriculum is under 10 pages.
With the support of the knowledge-based business community (think Nokia), Finnish schools focus on 21st century skills like creative problem-solving, not test prep.
'It would be missed if we are no longer a school, a Baltimore City charter school,"
Baltimore Freedom Academy students speak up to keep school openCharter school among those on chopping block
Updated: 5:06 PM EST Feb 8, 2013
Baltimore City is just days away from canceling the contracts of a half dozen privately run schools, including the Baltimore Freedom Academy, but students are speaking up.
BALTIMORE --Baltimore City is just days away from canceling the contracts of a half-dozen privately-run schools.
Students in one of those schools have been among the district's most outspoken supporters.
That vote is set for Tuesday. The outcome would affect schools which operate with city funds and would include some charter schools, but students at the Baltimore Freedom Academy, a transformation school, said they'll put a fight to stay open.
Those students have lobbied in Annapolis in support of school funding for buildings and stood with the school CEO and the governor to try and help improve conditions for students.
"I came from an elementary school where I didn't even know what GPA was and when I got here, knowing that my GPA that's a 3.6, this school has changed me as a person. I was like anti-social. Now, I'm talking to everybody," student Asia Brown said.
"I have my support system here all the people that I need. Everybody that basically just pushed me to be more and want me to further my education is here, and I really don't want this school to end," student Diamond Watson said.
An advisory panel is recommending the district part ways with schools like the Baltimore Freedom Academy. The panel said it could do a better job on academic performance, climate and financial management, but parents said the study failed to recognize what's happening inside the building.
"We were put in a position of where (I said), 'What do I do with my baby for senior year when it's supposed to be one of the most exciting years for her and now we face the possibility of the school closing, being under different leadership?'" parent Rashawana Sidnor said.
Over the past 10 years, the school has become a middle-high school giving students across the city a chance to get in.
"This school has helped me out a lot. It's changed me. It's made my parents more proud of me," student Larry Johnson said. "It means that I can honestly walk up to my parents and let them know that their kid is actually doing something good with his life."
In the meantime, students and staff members said they'll keep putting pressure on school leaders to reconsider.
"We want to see our school continue. We want to see our school get five more years to renew because the voice that's coming from this building. It would be missed if we are no longer a school, a Baltimore City charter school," said Paulette Smith with Baltimore Freedom Academy.
Freedom Academy is simply a national charter chain as we see here is Minneapolis-----and all standards of operation are the same---so much for freedom and choice.
It's all so INNOVATIVE-----it's all so HIGHLY MOTIVATED------it's all so DESIGNED JUST FOR THESE STUDENTS.
What Baltimore Development Corporation has done with our public school system is to use these 'public' charter policies to selectively close REAL public schools moving families in city center communities first to these private charter schools like Freedom Academy----then to close them ------with parents of course having no other options in these areas. What is called SCHOOL CHOICE----is of course not school choice as the COMPETITION for gaining entrance into ever-decreasing number of K-12 public schools forces parents into private national charter chains. It is not subtle----they are using BLUNT FORCE---to make Baltimore's entire public school system a network of private charters and for-profit after-school programs that as anyone can predict those very low-income families will not be able to afford. Baltimore has been closing its public K-12 these few decades pushing these same families into first, religious schools----now private charters slated to simply morph into global corporate campus schools.
Parents and students have been protesting all of this these few decades so there is no lack of citizen engagement on these critical issues----they simply ARE IGNORED-----it is CYNICAL---to name a charter chain FREEDOM ACADEMY-----when the goal was always simply to force low-income families out of city center.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THINKING IT IS FINE TO CREATE TIERED ACCESS TO LEARNING-----MUST THINK WHERE IN THE WORLD WILL THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN BE----and it is highly likely they will be in this global corporate campus school structure being pushed on today's US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zone low-income communities. PLEASE DON'T ALLOW OUR EQUAL PROTECTION ----OPPORTUNITY AND ACCESS PUBLIC K-UNIVERSITY be dismantled.
The vision of Freedom Academy Charter School is to prepare North Minneapolis children for success in school and in life.
Our mission is to provide all our students with the resources that will insure their freedom to learn and grow to their full potential. We will fulfill our mission with our 4 Cs.
- Community – partnering with families and community members to ensure learning doesn’t stop when class is out.
- Calendar – extended day and extended year schedules to invest more time in the learning process in a way that leads to college and career success.
- Curriculum – effective content combined with innovative learning methods to meet students where they are and take them as far as they dream.
- Character – supporting children as they grow in social and emotional skills that create resilience, empathy, responsibility, respect, and desire for knowledge.
innovations that work
The following are specific strategies that Freedom Academy will apply in accomplishing its mission:
Extended Day and Extended Calendar: Research has proven that extended days benefit children if the schedule is arranged appropriately to maximize alertness and uses creative and enjoyable teaching methods to improve the student experience. It has also been shown that the longer the break between school sessions, the more learning regression occurs. An extended calendar seeks to increase the number of instructional days, while minimizing non-school breaks.
Partnering with the Community: Family is the heart of the community, and Freedom Academy seeks to enlist the aid of the family and community to ensure that learning doesn't stop when class is out. In addition to home visits by staff, a variety of special events and group activities will be planned that involve the extended community.
Responsive Classroom and Character Education: Social Emotional Learning (SEL) needs are supported throughout the day with Responsive Classroom techniques that are proven to build SEL skills while improving academic achievement.
Teaching Teams: Schools that have adopted teaching teams have found that not only are they better able to understand their student's needs better, they are able to make adjustments in real time to address their immediate needs rather than waiting until the end of the quarter or year for assessment scores. Teaching teams allow for better teacher-pupil ratios, and for extended day programs, provides a more cost effective way to manage the workload.
When we have very, very hyper-predatory profit-making global corporate neo-liberal school owners pressing their products to Wall Street markets---they will do anything to first----get as much Federal funding revenue to expand that product for FREE------then they will give free college tuition to attract more students to that chain----then they will juke the stats of performance-----then they will be more and more selective-----then they will simply go global for their students as our US public universities are now doing.
The US citizens thinking they are getting in on the ground floor of yet another privatized small business industry will as usual find there are already tons of global K-12 and university corporations operating for decades and it will be those global education corporations brought into US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones----not that Baltimore citizen ENTREPRENEUR.
Student Attrition And "Backfilling" At Success Academy Charter Schools: What Student Enrollment Patterns Tell Us
by Leo Casey -- February 18, 2016This is the second of two posts on Success Academy Charter Schools. The first post was entitled “Student Discipline, Race and Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools.”
Last fall, at a press conference called to respond to a New York Times exposé of efforts to “push out” targeted students from New York City’s Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz , the charter chain’s founder and CEO, described those practices as “an anomaly.”
“Our goal in suspending children or issuing any consequences,” Moskowitz told reporters, “is not to get rid of children or to have them leave our school. It is to have them have high standards of conduct.”
Last week, at a press conference called to respond to the New York Times publication of a video of a Success Academy model teacher berating a child for making a mistake in arithmetic, Moskowitz reiterated her claim that such practices were “anomalies.”
The notion that students were being “pushed out” in order to boost Success Academy scores on standardized exams was “just crazy talk,” Moskowitz told journalist John Merrow in a PBS interview.
Does the available evidence support Moskowitz’s claims? In search of an answer, I examined the student enrollment patterns at Success Academy Charter Schools, using the data currently available in the New York State Education Department’s school report cards.
The following charts capture those data. The first chart pools the student enrollment numbers across all Success Academy Charter Schools; the subsequent charts (below) are for the individual Success Academy Charter Schools that have four years or more of data.1 I have color coded the charts to make it easier for readers to follow the student cohorts as they pass through different grades.
The general pattern is unmistakable. In the early grades, student enrollment in Success Academy Charter Schools increases: Whatever losses the schools may suffer through student attrition are more than compensated for by the enrollment of new students. After Grade 2, however, the enrollment numbers begin to decline and do so continuously through the later grades. There are only small variations in this essential pattern among the different Success Academy Charter Schools.
In New York State, high stakes standardized exams begin at the end of Grade 3.
Success Academy Charter Schools has made a conscious decision to not fill seats opened up by student attrition in the upper grades of its schools. And this is a deliberate, network-wide practice, as evidenced by Success Academy’s own website. When one compares the grades in each Success Academy Charter School, as listed on its website, with the grades in each school, as listed on the website of the New York City Charter School Center, one finds that the Charter School Center lists all the grades currently being provided under the school’s charter, while Success Academy lists many fewer grades – only those in which it is willing to enroll students.2
In effect, the Success Academy website has the equivalent of a “do not apply” sign posted for each unlisted grade.
In New York City (NYC), the policy of refusing to fill seats vacated by student attrition is known by the unfortunate construction metaphor of failing to “backfill.” On a number of occasions, Moskowitz has forcefully defended Success Academy’s refusal to “backfill” the upper grades in which students take the state’s standardized exams. The full effect of this policy to not “backfill” can be seen in the only Success Academy cohort in the data that completed all eight primary school grades: the graduating class of Harlem Success Academy I had 32 students, less than half of the 73 students who started in the cohort eight years prior.
How does this policy of not filling the seats left empty by student attrition shape the student population of Success Academy Charter Schools? Since the New York State Education Department’s school report cards do not disaggregate demographic data by grade level, it is not possible to track changes in the composition of student cohorts precisely. But we do know that the policy of refusing to “backfill” open seats does not fall randomly across all Success Academy students. The differentiated impact is self-evident in the case of “pushed out” students the schools do not want, such as those described in New York Times exposé, but it is also present in the case of students who leave without a “push” from the school. Transience is a central feature of poverty, and the greater the intensity of the poverty in which a student lives, the greater the transience she will experience: Homelessness is the ultimate expression of this reality.3 The poorest students are thus significantly overrepresented among school “leavers,” as are students who score poorly on high-stakes standardized exams.4 Indeed, the two phenomena are related.5
In response to criticism that the Success Academy Charter Schools “cream” their student populations to boost standardized test scores, Eva Moskowitz has argued that the attrition rates in her schools are lower than the average attrition rate for both NYC district schools and other charter schools. But the attrition rate is not the fundamental issue here; rather, it is the policy choice to not fill the empty seats left by student attrition.6
To the extent that leaving students are not replaced with similar students, the student population will have fewer students living in poverty, fewer high needs students, and fewer students who score more poorly on standardized exams. Other schools may well have higher rates of attrition, but if they “backfill” their empty seats, the profile of their student population remains essentially the same.
Moskowitz also insists that her schools should not have to accept students from district schools who have received what she considers to be an inadequate education. Even if one accepted her questionable characterization of education in district schools, it is worth noting that she is insisting on a “one way” street: district schools should have to enroll the students who leave Success Academy Charter Schools, but Success Academy schools should not have to enroll students who leave district schools.
Even within the NYC charter school community, Success Academy’s policy of not “backfilling” open student seats in the exam-taking upper grades has its critics. For the most part, other charter school leaders avoid any public censure of Moskowitz (although there was a notable lack of Success Academy defenders from the city’s charter school ranks last week and during last fall’s media firestorm). But Democracy Builders, a charter advocacy organization established by Democracy Prep Charter School founder Seth Andrew, minces no words in criticizing the failure of Success Academy Charter Schools and other “no excuses” charter networks to “backfill” empty student seats. “Some schools boast tantalizing proficiency percentages (on standardized tests – LC) and make easy exemplars,” Democracy Builders notes in its report No Seat Left Behind. “However, there is a wide variation of performance across the charter sector that is distorted by mobility and masked by the lack of backfill. Schools who lose students and gain percentage points give parents the false impression that a schools’ absolute number of proficient students is increasing each year. It isn’t.” Democracy Builders estimated that, during the 2013-14 school year, there were 2,500 empty student seats in NYC charter schools left unfilled by the refusal of Success Academy and like-minded charter networks to “backfill.”
Recent developments may well put Moskowitz’s defense of Success Academy’s discipline and enrollment policies to the test. The authorizer of the Success Academy charter schools, the SUNY Charter School Institute, has announced that it is launching an investigation into the disciplinary practices at Success Academy. And the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, responding to a complaint by the New York City Public Advocate, the Legal Aid Society, and a group of former and current Success Academy parents, will investigate claims that Success Academy schools illegally discriminate against students with special needs. The reaction to last week’s video publication by the New York Times can only increase the scrutiny of Success Academy Charter Schools.
Eva Moskowitz, New York City Charter School Center, and national charter school organizations such as the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools are now caught on the horns of an ethical and political dilemma. Under their tutelage, the charter school brand has been promoted around the claim that charter schools significantly outperform district public schools, with students’ standardized test scores as the “proof point” for this argument. When national studies made it clear that charter schools, as a whole, do not outperform district schools on tests scores, the focus of comparison was shifted to “high performing” charter school networks such as Success Academy. The most prominent elements in this polarized charter advocacy discourse – the continuous drumbeat of attacks on district schools as educational failures, with the call for mass closures of these schools; the demands for the continuous expansion of the charter sector at the expense of district public schools; the denigration of public school teachers and their unions; the fiercely adversarial and confrontational rhetoric – all ultimately rely upon this single foundational claim: that charter schools academically outperform comparable district schools, as demonstrated by student test scores. If this claim is lost, if the center of the discourse cannot hold, the entire discursive edifice comes apart.
But now the very policies that have allowed “no excuses” charter schools such as Success Academy to manipulate the contours of their student populations to produce high scores on standardized exams are under unprecedented investigation. There is increasing attention on the discriminatory effects of punitive discipline and excessive suspensions on “pushing out” students considered undesirable. It is hard to see how the U.S. Education Department can require district schools to move away from such policies and practices, while ignoring a high profile charter chain that employs them on an order of seven magnitudes greater. As the New York State legislature is confronted with demands to raise the cap on charter schools, it is hard to imagine that they could ignore the fact that the state’s charter schools could provide families with thousands of open seats right now, under the existing charter law, but choose not to do so.
To resolve these issues, Success Academy and similar charter school chains would have to make changes in policy and practice that would strike at their ability to engineer student populations to achieve high test scores. And this would put the charter school brand itself at risk. Do not look for Eva Moskowitz, the New York City Charter School Center and the National Association of Public Charter Schools to willingly travel down that road. A major political battle is in the making.
It has been known for centuries in education research how long children focus-----what we call attention span---and we have documented parenting policies regarding all this. While age 3 has shown to be a very active age for brain development and learning----what has always been the tool for learning in early years was socialization -----playing----learning skill development. Today we are already seeing parents being convinced to buy education products to expand a child's attention span------parents are fretting their children are slow or not normal----these early years are VERY FORMATIVE-----when we press our American children into a hyper-competitive 2-3 year old start to pre-school---which is where ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE is going we change the entire psychological dynamic of that child to one always worried about being and doing the best----while actual learning UPTAKE has limited windows. What these attention span policies have as a goal is simply expanding the ages parents will move to spend money on for-profit education products under the assumption of giving that child one more opportunity to stay in a very, very, very limited vocational tracking for careers.
Ideas to Increase a Child’s Attention Span
Home/Childhood Development, How To, Parents/
Ideas to Increase a Child’s Attention Span
Ideas to Increase a Child’s Attention Span
SMART EARLY LEARNING CENTERS
In 1950, psychologist Gertrude Hildreth described the attention spans of six-year-old children by saying, “Children of this age seem built for action rather than sitting still.” As parents and teachers know, toddlers and preschoolers often seem to be built for nonstop action.
It’s common for adults to find themselves on the verge of losing their patience when young children resist even the most gentle encouragement to focus on a particular task. The good news is that we can help children slowly but surely increase their attention spans by modeling focused attention ourselves.
A good place to start is to practice giving a child your undivided attention. Sometimes our attention is unavoidably scattered as dinner’s in the oven, the phone rings, a sibling needs a diaper change, or all of the above. When you can find stretches of time to focus one-on-one with a child, this provides a solid model for how to pay attention. It doesn’t have to be long: aim for 10 to 20 minutes, but even five minutes of undivided attention will model focused behavior.
Another tip is to spend time in close physical proximity with your child. It’s easy to wander in and out of the room when your child is playing, but it can really help to make an effort to set aside chunks of time where you’re close together. This closeness makes it natural to pay attention to each other as you engage in a shared activity or even just talk to each other.
When your child calls out a question or starts talking to you, be sure to come into the same room, sit or stand close to your child, and make eye contact as you respond. It’s tempting to shout out a response from the other room when you’re in the middle of something, but coming into the same room to talk is a great way to model attentiveness.
Having conversations with your child is one of the best ways to increase their attention span. When asking a child to do something, it helps to make eye contact and give specific instructions. When you notice that your child’s focus has wandered, try giving gentle reminders and asking clear questions.
To increase the likelihood of your child being able to pay attention, be mindful of your child’s needs. Children who are feeling hungry or restless would benefit from a healthy snack or a little exercise before trying to focus. Choose your moments to maximize a child’s ability to pay attention. Ask yourself: what has your child just been doing, and what does he or she need to do now?
Take steps to avoid distraction when you can. If you want your child to focus, choose an environment without other people, noise, and so on. It might help to be in a different room than the TV, computer, or other potentially distracting things. By the way, limiting screen time is another great way to build attention because activities like watching TV and playing computer games tend to be overstimulating and work against a child’s ability to focus.
Focus on one small thing at a time, and try hands-on activities like asking your child to help with cooking or other household activities. Reading books and doing art projects are also excellent ideas. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated: find a coloring book your child loves, for example, or play a simple board game together like children’s bingo.
In short, the best way to build attention is with activities a child wants to do—and the more parents and teachers spend time sharing these activities with children, the more our children naturally learn to focus, and for longer and longer periods of time.
By John Miller|March 21st, 2016!
About the Author: John Miller
John Miller is a serial entrepreneur who is very interested in how people learn. Knowing that he himself had trouble learning by reading, he focused on learning by experience. He is a firm believer that all children can be amazing, and we need to teach them in a way that they enjoy learning so each child can reach his or her full potential.