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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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An Alternative to Accountability Based Education Reform

Since we are talking about alternative ways to respond to problems, this seems timely. Actual educators have known all along what really drives poor academic performance. Of course, who listens to actual educators? They are the enemy. Our schools are bad because of all those bad teachers, right?

Here's an article that addresses the SOURCE: social and economic inequality. It starts by pointing out that "the U.S. currently has one of the highest childhood poverty rates among nations against which U.S. schools are commonly compared." It goes on to suggest that "Education reform must be built on policies that directly address the rising social inequity in the U.S. The essential shift away from accountability, then, must begin with social reform that addresses inequity."

Eleven different policy changes for social reform are offered; here are a few:

End accountability based on standards and high-stakes testing: A growing body of research has shown that the accountability era has failed: “the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself” (Mathis, 2012). A first and essential step to a new vision of education reform is to end the accountability era by shifting away from focusing on outcomes and toward attending to the conditions of teaching and learning—with an emphasis on equity of opportunity.

Honor school and teacher autonomy: Individual schools and classrooms vary dramatically across the U.S. School autonomy and teacher professionalism are the greatest sources of understanding what populations of students need. The current move toward national standards and tests is inherently a flawed concept since student needs in Orangeburg, SC, are dramatically different than student needs in Seattle, WA.

Address wide range of issues impacting equity—funding, class size, technology, facilities: Moving away from accountability and toward equity is a shift in the goals and then standards against which education policy is evaluated. Issues of funding, class size, technology, and facilities must be addressed to assure all children experience an equity of opportunities in every school.

More: http://www.publicschoolshakedown.org/alternative-to-education-reform

It's time we, as a nation, started looking at more constructive solutions to all of our problems. I think our domestic problems should be at the top of our priority list; that's where our focus and resources should be. This one is particularly crucial. To me, yes, because I'm a teacher and am tired of the relentless efforts to degrade my profession and destroy public education. To everyone, because public education is a keystone in a free, democratic society. Probably why the efforts of the 1% to destroy it have been so persistent, so pervasive, and so devastating.

For some people, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT OBAMA.

It's not about the atrocity of war.

It's not about the determination of the powerful to keep us at war.

It's not about a tired, bankrupt nation who is willing to put most of our dwindling resources towards perpetual war while maintaining strict "austerity" at home on the domestic front.

It's not about the MIC and their influence.

It's not about the immorality of war, the futility of war, the arrogance and inevitable collapse of empire.

It's never about the issue at hand.

It's always about Obama, and how the situation should be spun to make him the hero. The conquering hero, the smarter hero, the nth dimensional chess hero, the misunderstood hero, the abused hero...it's always about Obama.

Not for me. Give me a fucking break.

What if...

We can create infinite hypothetical situations that could lead to more war.

What if we focused on non-military responses and interventions, instead?

Here's what I consider a real possibility:

For the rest of my lifetime, some humans are going to be committing atrocities upon others, individually, in smaller groups, nationally, and globally. "Getting Bin Laden/Assad/Saddam/" etc. doesn't stop that, or even slow it down.

The real solution is not going to come militarily. Killing begets killing. War begets war. Atrocity begets atrocity. And I consider bombs an atrocity.

The real solution to human violence will come, not through punishment, revenge, and violence, but through peaceful means.


Anyone who meets my standards of integrity on issues will be automatically dismissed, by you, as "unelectable." As indicated by your "can get elected" phrasing.

If that's true, that nobody worth voting for can be elected, the first front ought to be true election reform, getting private money out of the process.

Of course, if enough people ignored the "unelectable" hysteria and simply voted for those who meet the highest standards on social and economic justice, rejecting the neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, and bat-shit crazy fascists, we might find that we could get some better candidates elected after all.

My red line?

As an individual, my red line is right in front of my nose.

If someone within my physical reach to help is attacked, I will be there. I will be there with my cell phone to call 911, and my body to offer as protection. I will not carry nor use a firearm.

As a citizen of a nation, my NATIONAL red line is here:

If someone launches a physical attack on the nation, I want us to defend ourselves. Right here. I don't need to chase the attacker around the globe. I am actively opposed to compromising civil liberties at home in the name of "security." I don't need revenge, punishment, or to prove anything to anybody. I just need to end the attack.

As for the rest of the world...I am actively opposed to unilateral action anywhere. I am willing to support UN efforts to intervene to protect human rights IF:

1. Multiple diplomatic efforts and other sanctions have been vigorously pursued, supported, given time, and still failed.

2. There is global consensus on the need to use military force.

3. The U.S. is one part of a multi-national force acting under UN command.

Edited to add:

I don't believe violence is ever an appropriate tool. Because I'm human, and not a saint, I will use physical force to protect, only in the last extremities after everything else has been tried first, and only to stop harm.

To protect. Not to attack.

I'm having lunch with a Republican friend today.

He's an "old" Republican, like I am an "old" Democrat. It's amazing how much we find to agree about.

I know that will surprise many DUers, who view me as a "purist," etc., etc., etc.; and, at the core of things, I am. I freely admit to being a purist on issues. That's just another way of saying I'm an idealist, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Here at DU, which is supposed to be a community of like-minded people, I don't soften my positions. I freely admit, and always have, that I am not a partisan. I'm about issues, and when my party is wrong on issues, I'm going to call them out on it.

So how can I have a Republican friend? It's not hard.

Believe it or not, underneath all of the political propaganda, we agree on almost everything. He's been appalled by his party in recent years, and the tea party terrifies him. He told me recently that he hasn't changed his registration because it gives him some political cred when he talks to Republicans, especially elected Republicans. And he does. He's quite active. He thinks it's important to reach any sane Republicans that might be left, to encourage them to take back their party. Still, he no longer votes for them.

It's funny; I can tell him all of my harder-left, socialist-leaning opinions on policy, and he isn't shocked, and agrees with much of it. Unlike some Democrats at DU, he is actually open to those ideas.

So, I'm having lunch with him today, and sprinkled in among the personal chat will be conversation about his current actions in our local community, and how I can help. I won't be proselytizing party or politician, and neither will he. I won't be going to lunch armed with all kinds of talking points that parrot the party line, and neither will he.

It's amazing how well things go when we leave political propaganda and party and personality defending out of the mix. It seems so much healthier and productive, at least to me.

I don't expect my politicians

to have the facade of gods and goddesses.

I expect them to work FOR me; win or lose, I expect them to stand up and fight for the issues I elected them to advance, tooth and nail, without reservation. I expect them to keep the end goals on the table at all times, whether or not they are achieved with this attempt, or the next, or the next.

That's what I expect. Those who do that are winning my support and my appreciation. Those that don't, aren't.

It looks like this week's attack is on "the left."

Who remembers, pre-DU3, when "About DU" identified as a premier left-wing discussion group, which is not a direct quote, since I can no longer find the old version of "about DU?"

"Left-wing" has disappeared in favor of "liberal" in the newest incarnation.

Are those on the left now the enemy? Assuming "the left" are those to the left of the current center-right Democratic administration, how many of "the left" are left on DU?

I'm going to work. I'll check on the poll when I get home.

Edited on 8/30:

After popping in this evening and spending 15 minutes on the front page of GD, it looks like this needs a kick.

The BOG jumps the shark.

I ask myself why

so many Democratic voters did not see this coming. Truly.

He campaigned on doing away with divisiveness and working with Republicans. Republicans are still gleefully attacking him on every front, while they gain concession after concession after concession, and divisiveness within the Democratic party grows.

He told us, among other things, that Republicans "got" education better than Democrats. And that he sometimes "gets in trouble" with teachers' unions. Not enough trouble, in this teacher's opinion.

He told us that Republicans were better on regulation of industry.

He left unilateral action in Pakistan open. That told me that he was not against the war on terror, and was willing to continue it.

He expressed admiration for Ronald Reagan, for the way he "changed the trajectory of America." He said, "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating."

Look at those bolded words. Who could not recognize those "excesses" as the gains made by progressives? Who doesn't recognize "accountability" as code for privatization?

What self-respecting Democrat admires Ronald Fucking Reagan?

He also said, "And I do not consider Democrats to have a monopoly on wisdom."

Frankly, if he were a DUer, there would be some posters complaining that he was attacking Democrats "on a Democratic website!!!"

I saw it coming, and was attacked repeatedly here for pointing it out. I lost my sigline privileges until recently because I was blunt enough to use a sigline that said "I told you so" and link to an old post of mine predicting what would go wrong...which, incidentally, was correct. I guess that sigline incensed enough DUers that thought happy days were here again to get a bunch of protests, even though the post it linked to had not been, and never was, deleted.

I get that we couldn't wait to see the last of GWB. I get that it was exciting, and felt like progress, to put a black man in the WH. I don't get why so many people would let those things blind them to the obvious.

But I'm glad that some have taken the blinders off. I only hope they will stay off when it comes to '16.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was not a supporter of HRC in '08, and my pov has nothing to do with her.
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