Using International Economic Zone neo-liberalism as a segue to this education reform I want to remind people that the neo-conservative Texas Bush family are the ones bringing International Economic Zone policy to the US. This is why Texas went from DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS----to TEXAS IS A MESS. George Bush made Texas a developing world state and Jeb Bush did the same to Florida. Both are now ranked at the bottom in the nation for all measures---especially education. Texas decades ago had citizens shouting against the power of development corporations just as with neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Baltimore. One thing that is common in Texas is the word 'sweat shop' as Texas is majority immigrant working in International Economic Zone sweatshops. Meanwhile, Texas citizens are the major export as they are sent all over the nation working as migrant labor for those global corporations. Johns Hopkins and Baltimore has lots of Texas ex-pat tradesmen.
The point is this---if you allow these enslaving policies to expand as has happened these few decades of global neo-liberal/neo-con economics----it comes home to roost. Below you see a Texas mother describing conditions for her daughter in kindergarten as 'sweat shop' because----these education reforms are geared to condition the American people to those neo-liberal hyper-competitive work-all-the-time policies. If you are going to be the small percentage of people in high-paying administrative jobs---then you are connected to the office all the time. If you are going to be a sweat shop factory worker then you will work 15-18 hours a day---and that is for what 'sweat-shop' kindergarten is about.
So, white voters both Republican and Democrats are the loudest against this as neo-liberalism moves from exploiting immigrant labor to the American people.
'Thanks for your article on what I’m calling “sweat shop” kindergartens. My great granddaughter is in one in Klein District (Houston TX)'.
‘Sweat shop’ kindergarten: ‘It’s maddening’
By Valerie Strauss June 8, 2014
(2011 photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)Last week I published some kindergarten schedules from school district Web sites that showed just how much kindergarten has changed in recent years as the drive to push curriculum down through the grades has gathered steam. Rather than learn through structured play, which is how experts say young children learn best, 5- and 6-year-olds are being asked to sit doing math, reading and writing for hours at a time, sometimes with no recess or a very short one. Some teachers have dispensed with snacks during half-day kindergarten because there just isn’t any time. Many kindergartners take home homework every day.
Here are some of the reactions to that post. This first one came via e-mail by a longtime educator:
Thanks for your article on what I’m calling “sweat shop” kindergartens. My great granddaughter is in one in Klein District (Houston TX).
The kids sit all day at desks doing work sheets and have home work in reading and math nightly. There is no kindergarten play area inside or outside of the room. No recess, and a brief lunch period in which the children may not talk. Phys ed is twice a week for 30 minutes.
Our little one was six in January but there are kids in the class who were barely five in September as the year started. Some fall asleep and others are behavior problems. There is little communication to parents and the parents are not permitted in the classrooms. Ironically the school is an open space school so during testing week the kindergarten children had to be very quiet to avoid distracting the test takers.
[Our great granddaughter] is conforming but when she comes home she literally runs around in circles or bounces on the backyard trampoline.
And they still call it kindergarten!
And here are some of the comments on the original post. The last one comes from an early childhood educator who was the lead writer of a 2009 report called “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” which I mentioned in my June 2 piece.
6/2/2014 6:31 PM EST
It isn’t normal for any young child, boy or girl, to have to sit in a chair most of the day.
6/2/2014 1:13 PM EST
I am a teacher and work with Kindergarten students. The biggest downfall to Kindergarten as I see it is that academics have to start on day 1 so there will be time to get through the curriculum and complete the mandated assessments. Many of the students have never been in a classroom before and need to learn how to be a member of the class before they can be ready to learn academic concepts. If a student takes the first 3 or 4 months of school to learn how to actually be in school, then they miss the 3-4 months of instruction and it’s very difficult to catch up. In my opinion, the first marking period (at least) should be focused on social skills and how to behave in school. My students get to have free choice centers once a week if they’re lucky. The day is so jam-packed and so much time has to be spent on teaching behavior and social skills. Teachers are under so much pressure that they feel they cannot take the time needed to teach any skills other than academic ones. The people making the education policy have almost never even set foot inside a classroom, but the teachers are continuosly ignored when we voice our concerns. We are told that we’re just not doing enough or doing it correctly. It is beyond frustrating when we see students struggling and we know the reasons why but pressure from above prevents us from being able to address the problems. I used to love my job but now I completely resent the people with decision-making power and how that trickles down to the children. It’s maddening.
6/2/2014 12:56 PM EST
These schedule do not accommodate active children. Since more boys are more active than girls (overall), these schedules will have an undue impact on boys relative to girls. This strikes me as illegally discriminatory and is something that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) should focus on.
Right now, the OCR is focusing on the disparate impact of disciplinary measures taken against children of color relative to other children. Will these stringent kindergarten schedules make this issue worse? I believe so.
There are some researchers who believe that kids from some cultures have more active learning style than others. How will this impact these children? — not in a good way, I’m sure.
6/2/2014 12:03 PM EST
Where’s the MCPS [Montgomery County Public Schools] schedule? The math blocks I see here [on the original post] are piddling in comparison with the 90-minute blocks in math I’ve seen subbing in MCPS.
So yes, I would absolutely believe these Kindergarten schedules. After seeing Kindergarteners regularly falling apart in their classrooms and in my music classes because they don’t have enough time to just “be” or to be 5YO, I’m not at all surprised.
Horrible horrible horrible. Utterly inhumane, utterly inappropriate developmentally, utterly UNSUPPORTED by ANY research — and yet we persist. And we do it the next several years despite Early Childhood encompassing birth thru 8YO. In a typical elementary school without pre-K, FOUR YEARS of the 6 encompassed from K-5 should fall under Early Childhood, and be correspondingly restructured to be more developmentally appropriate.
6/2/2014 10:40 AM EST
Here’s one thing I don’t get, though — students in Asia (who routinely outperform our students) are subjected to much more academic-intensive Kindergarten curriculae.
I’m all for more play in Kindergarten, I just don’t know if the link being made in this article is causative or correlative.
6/2/2014 11:07 AM EST
They outperform in test-taking. Also, by the time they are tested in higher grades, many of the lower performers have been weeded out.
Check the May 26th article on why Shanghai is dropping out of PISA.
6/2/2014 9:50 AM EST
I’m the lead author of “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” the study that Valerie cites at the beginning of this [June 2] column. That report came out in 2009, and things have gotten worse since then.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently substituting in the local schools, and I’ve become convinced that a big part of the problem is a subtle but profound kind of sexism. Almost all kindergarten teachers are women and almost all the people who are making education policy are men. The teachers are routinely ignored by those in power. For example, the committees that wrote the Common Core standards for kindergarten did not include a single kindergarten teacher or even anyone with a background in child development or early childhood education.
The more experienced kindergarten teachers who I meet are universally horrified by what is being done to children, but feel completely powerless to do anything about it. A great many of them have already quit teaching or are planning to do so soon. Many of the younger teachers don’t quite understand what the problem is because they themselves have grown up deprived of play and they have bought in to the idea that academic kindergarten is the way to go. But they are completely at a loss for what to do when the children in their classrooms collapse or melt down in frustration and despair because the demands being made of them are so far beyond their developmental capacity.
What’s the solution? I don’t know. But I urge every father of a kindergartner to take a day off from work and spend it in his child’s classroom, then go back to work and start some conversations about what is happening in our schools.
BELOW YOU SEE WHAT WILL ALLOW ALL CITIZENS TO ENJOY 'SWEAT SHOP' KINDERGARTEN POLICIES.
I spoke earlier of attending a public meeting on charter schools in Baltimore and had people running for cover when I outed neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and its CEO NYC Mayor Bloomberg as using Baltimore as a platform for building these national Wall Street charter chains that will install these neo-liberal education policies found in Asia for decades. Below you see the Hopkins' think tank partner----the Fordham Institute telling us what the next move for education privatizers will be-----
DEREGULATING PUBLIC SCHOOL STRUCTURES MEANS CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE NOT ONLY IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND CITY-----THEY BECOME BRANCHES MOVING INTO OTHER COUNTIES ACROSS THE STATE AND THEY HAVE A SEPARATE CHARTER SCHOOL BOARD ALL WHILE BEING DEEMED PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
I have shouted for several years Baltimore was this platform for all Maryland as we saw neo-conservative Governor Larry Hogan making his first move bringing national charter chain structures to Baltimore. Now, we all know Maryland Assembly is one big global corporate tribunal group----and even as they are posing progressive on keeping charters at bay-----they are feeding this Baltimore City platform...so, those progressive public school policies will disappear as soon as Baltimore is ready to expand its charter chains----and that will be less than a decade if allowed to continue. KNOW WHO HATES IT MOST? THE PARENTS IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES HAVING THESE CHARTERS SHOVED ONTO THEM.
ALL OF BALTIMORE CITY POLS PUSH NEO-CONSERVATIVE JOHNS HOPKINS AND ITS PRIVATIZATION SCHEME---DEREGULATING AND MAKING CORPORATE MARKETS OF EVERYTHING IN THE CITY.
Parents in affluent Democratic Montgomery County don't want this----neither do parents in conservative Republican Calvert County----liking community charters but not global Wall Street charter chains pushing neo-liberal education.
Using inter-district charter schools as a tool for regional school integration
October 07, 2015Since the civil rights era, the United States has struggled with how best to integrate schools—and today is no different, as concerns mount over signs of school re-segregation. This report by the Century Foundation’s Halley Potter argues that charter schools might have a role to play, by using their “flexibility, funding, and political viability” to solve various integration problems.
Charter schools can prove helpful in at least five ways: available funding, the ability to enroll children across district lines, program and curricular autonomy, independent leadership and management, and battle-hardened political effectiveness. As integration programs continue to struggle against political barriers (frequently about funding), school choice leaders could prove to be valuable allies.
Two examples of successful and charter-backed inter-district integration are the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies and Connecticut’s Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC). The Mayoral Academy schools draw their students from four districts, two urban and two suburban, which encompass a broad socioeconomic range. The schools use a weighted lottery system to ensure that they admit an equal number of students from the urban and suburban areas and that at least half of their enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Not only has the school fostered a diverse and accepting environment—it has narrowed the achievement gap.
Likewise, ISAAC admits students from a socioeconomically diverse collection of twenty school districts and uses similar techniques of weighted admission to ensure that all districts are fairly represented in the student population. In 2014, the school was recognized by Connecticut Voices for Children as one of the only charter schools to meet their high standards for integration.
Unfortunately, these two examples exceptions. The report argues that, too often, myriad obstacles stand between charter schools and integration. State law sometimes prohibits out-of-district enrollment. Elsewhere, impediments like limitations on weighted lotteries and a lack of transportation funding combine to make charters an infrequent tool for desegregation.
Potter views these obstacles as surmountable. The report includes recommendations for state and federal governments, charter authorizers, and communities. She advises lawmakers to rethink and clarify the vague or lenient laws mentioned above, which will give charters more flexibility and, in some cases, more funding. And authorizers and community members should not only give priority to creating schools with integration-centric missions, but also make efforts to continually foster the diversity within schools.
In the end, the report makes a convincing argument that charters can facilitate integration across districts. But myriad obstacles mean that any such trek will be lengthy and politically challenging.
SOURCE: Halley Potter, “Charters Without Borders: Using Inter-District Charter Schools as a Tool for Regional School Integration,” the Century Foundation (September 2015).
Maryland has an anti-Common Core group that tends to be led by conservative Republicans-----we appreciate this voice although it takes a socially conservative voice in relaying lots of anti-Muslim and socialist commentary. Cities like Baltimore where the voice should be loudest filled with social Democrats fighting for equal opportunity and access and freedom of thought and parent control----are silenced from this debate by a very neo-conservative and neo-liberal education agenda.
I like to read voices of parents from across the nation because this is a broad and powerful movement media has silenced and it is from all categories of American citizens.
As we see below----the same emphasis on hyper-competition and engagement at all times to moving work forward---in this case school work. It has no educational value----it simply is geared to take away from a first world democratic society the ability to think independently and to build social structures ----we don't want time away from the STEM that is our lives!
The US has a vast history of progressive education research all showing that these policies are very, very, very bad for learning so this is all indoctrination to International Economic Zone hyper-neo-liberalism.
Rushing through lunch to accommodate rigor has consequences.
7-YEAR-OLD BROOKLYN GIRL ON LIFE SUPPORT AFTER CHOKING ON LUNCH AT SCHOOL
Our hearts go out to this family. No one should have to endure this suffering.
Common core didn’t “cause” this horrible tragedy. However, the idea of rigor that cuts a child’s lunch period to twenty minutes, less time than adults at a paying job get for their lunch, is partly to blame. These parents say this child was rushed to eat daily. So many children are coming home now with half or more of their lunches, saying they had “no time to finish”. Lining up to buy lunch is also taking up half the eating time, and cleaning up as well. Where are the child rights groups?
“Rigor, grit, and tenacity” alone, did not cause this to happen. It was a tragic accident. But, the negatively changed educational landscape and culture of ridiculous expectations for young children is going to lead to consequences.
What has happened to lunch and recess? Younger children often fumble with their lunch boxes and take longer to unpack, eat, and clean up. Special needs children are out of luck entirely. The twenty minutes they get under the new guidelines of “rigor” and focus on test prep and scores, is UNHEALTHY.
They also rush out for their scant recess, as most are told, ‘here is your twenty minutes to eat and get fresh air, use it as you wish.’
Children do not necessarily have the proper judgement to meter their time appropriately. Healthy eating habits, and socialization and exercise have become mutually exclusive.
One New York parent writes:
“Because of teaching to the test and the constant drilling of lessons, there is no time for recess, down time, breaks or anything else except for during their lunch period. So between lining up, waiting in line for lunch, and being forced to go out for recess they have almost no time to eat. (And) my oldest had a 9:45 am lunch period!! How exactly is that considered lunch!!”
These accidents may increase due to this unrealistic expectation of young children. We will also likely see a rise in childhood obesity, due to sitting all day for test prep.
We cannot blame common core for what happened to this poor, poor child. What we can say, is that the culture of rushing children to shove more “rigor” into their day than what is expected of adults, is an accident waiting to happen.
And with all the money being poured into Pearson, why does any school not have choking procedure trained lunch staff?
Another parent writes;
“It does relate to budgets and not having enough money to pay staffing. There should be more adults to assist kids.. Gd forbid a 6 year old drop their tray on the way out.. the wait is even longer because there is nobody there to clean up. But do we added on two or three lunch aides or keep a music or gym teacher? Decisions decisions.”
There is this:
5 Reasons the Common Core Is Ruining Childhood.
“Inadequate time to socialize: You know what’s really taken a hit in recent years? Recess. Some schools don’t have it at all. Recess is when kids truly practice social skills. They take turns. They negotiate. They initiate friendships. They learn to cope with disappointment. Sometimes they work together. Sometimes they don’t. But either way, they learn to work it out. But not if they don’t have recess.
Poor eating habits and insufficient exercise: You can’t turn on the TV or open a magazine without hearing about obesity in America these days. It’s a problem. And yet, a school lunch is often 15-20 minutes long, forcing kids to wolf down food before the bell rings. So much for listening to hunger cues and chatting with friends — there is no time for that.”
The incredible Shrinking Lunch:
“Many school districts, feeling the intense pressure created by standardized testing, continue to shortchange students when it comes to giving them adequate time to eat.”
“RW: Kids who aren’t given adequate time to eat lunch, often go hungry. School lunchrooms can be among the most unpleasant places to spend one’s time for a variety of reasons. Kids are often herded into the cafeteria like cattle, refused water from the nearby fountain, told to not socialize, and subjected to whistles, flashing lights–in often congested and windowless environments. Sound like fun?
Adding insult to injury is that many kids will have seven minutes or less to consume their lunch, making for garbage bins filled with uneaten food and rumbling tummies headed back to their classrooms. I have a vision that all schools will provide adequate time for students to consume their meals while socializing in a pleasant environment that is conducive to a pleasant and satisfying eating experience. When students are nourished, they are better able to perform well in school–and in life.”
And yet one super has a nonsense fix;
“I wish there were a happy ending to this story. But after listening sympathetically to our concerns, the superintendent issued a new policy: henceforth, the kids would have “no less than fifteen minutes” to eat — which in practice has meant that kids still sometimes end up with only ten minutes. Oh, and kids would no longer be made to wear their winter clothes to lunch — the time for getting dressed would be taken out of their recess instead. Meanwhile, the superintendent argued that the best solution would be to lengthen the school day.”
How pathetic is this cop out solution? Add time to the school day? This has been the Duncan dream all along. More time for rigor and test prep for these babies. Less time with families and for healthy extra curricular activities. More school to accommodate more test prep with an age inappropriate curriculum cannot be the go to response. Parents and educators MUST fight for better.
This is an unspeakable tragedy. Please keep this child and family in your thoughts.
While education DEFORM is not entirely to blame, this new culture of rushing these kids through their days that should be magical learning experiences, is wrong. The Deformers are simultaneously placing unreasonable expectations on minors, and adding insult to injury by providing inadequate staff, which is a recipe for disaster. We must return to respect for children and childhood.
We must fight for child rights and return to reason. We must take back our schools.
It is Johns Hopkins pushing all of these privatized policies and their School of Education pushing teaching schools to promote these policies AND IT IS JOHNS HOPKINS THAT FAILS AGAIN!
Maryland has always had one of the weakest MSA tests in the nation---it is why Maryland gets the higher test scores and ranks high. Common Core will lower these standardized test scores for this reason alone. Half of Maryland students had scores that fell but Baltimore City had the largest declines----even as administrators juked the stats by taking the weakest students out of school the day of these tests. Baltimore City schools have almost eliminated liberal arts and humanities just to teach to math and reading and after several years of Alonzo touting his policies were working---we see again all that was false.
Baltimore City needs to stop and assess if these drops in achievement are because of student ability OR BECAUSE OF THE EDUCATION POLICIES OF TEACH TO THE TEST AND EDUCATION PRIVATIZATION MOVING TO CANNED ONLINE LESSONS. Baltimore City has an appointed school board filled with corporate and education privatization board members with a very corporate Superintendent in Alonzo and now Thornton installing the most corporate of education reforms. THIS IS TO WHAT WE NEED TO LOOK.
'Baltimore City, which had the state's largest declines in math, also had the worst scores in the state in both reading and math'.
Why I'm pulling my kid out of PARCC
April 3, 2015 Baltimore Sun
We don't need PARCC to know if our kids are learning.While my 3rd grader doesn't mind taking tests, I am one of the many parents in Maryland refusing PARCC on behalf of their children ("The problem with PARCC: Children should not be leaving standardized tests in tears," March 25). That's because the state-mandated administration of high-stakes tests negatively impacts my child's education every single day. In Baltimore City, 15 percent of all instruction time has been taken away from our children to accommodate testing this year. Even worse, many of the remaining instruction hours are focused on a narrowed curriculum bent on ensuring good test results. Teachers are handcuffed by testing requirements, severely limiting how much they can adapt lessons to the unique needs of their individual classrooms.
Data collected over the past 10 years shows that high-stakes tests like PARCC do not improve learning. In fact, learning progress has stagnated since these types of tests were instituted under No Child Left Behind (National Research Council study, Hout & Elliott, 2011). If not effective at advancing student results, why invest in these tests when we already have many tools in place to assess student progress? On top of the regular assessments teachers conduct in the classroom, all Baltimore City students receive district-mandated quarterly assessments. For state level assessments, there are bi-annual National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.
If, as some claim, the PARCC tests are meant to inform a more rigorous curriculum, that data could easily be obtained by testing a sample of students anonymously at well-spaced intervals. Such an approach would be cheaper and less disruptive than testing every child every year. Yearly PARCC assessments for every student seem more ideally suited to generating data for annual performance reviews of individual teachers and schools — with firings and school closings the logical outcome for "underperformers." In other words, PARCC will serve as a metrics sledgehammer, further dismantling the foundation of a public school system already deprived of resources by state budget cuts and funding diverted to charter schools.
Parents do not need to tolerate a system of over-testing that makes it harder for our children to learn, create and grow in their classrooms. Refusing PARCC to protect our students against the damages of high-stakes testing is the right of every parent in Maryland — and our lawmakers should introduce opt-out legislation that makes the process more reasonable. To strengthen our schools, we should demand investment in methods proven to advance learning progress, such as smaller class sizes, because our kids — and our schools — are so much more than just test scores.
Brita Jenquin, Baltimore
I wanted to share this for my Baltimore friends who do not have the luxury of having education policy discussions with opposing views----we are simply told the money will be used this way. The elementary school in my area was gearing up for this pre-K funding with a small play area for these children when all of a sudden----this plan changed and all funding ended up going to corporate non-profits and for-profit pre-K in Baltimore. Again, public schools that could have absorbed that funding to classrooms again have separate entities handling children moving into public K classrooms. This is important because these youngsters are at the age where learning skill development is critical and when you have no oversight and accountability of all these deregulated private pre-K schools---you will see inequity.
Hawaii had this Constitutional fight last year----you can hear in this video the powerful voices behind the corporate policies against the public school teachers as the only voice for NO.
Hawaii State Funding for Private Early Childhood Education Programs, Amendment 4 (2014)
Click here for the latest news on U.S. ballot measures
Referred by:Hawaii Legislature
The Hawaii State Funding for Private Early Childhood Education Programs, Amendment 4 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Hawaii as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.