HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » LWolf » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 Next »


Profile Information

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

Journal Archives

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.

Tony Bennett's Day of Reckoning Has Come: Is Corporate Reform Far Behind?

It can't come soon enough for me.

Bennett, Rhee, Rahm, TFA, the Waltons, Skandera, Gates...way too many to <snip,> but here's just a bit:

But wiggle as he would, Mr. Bennett could not escape his lies and manipulations on behalf of the schools he favored. And this has revealed, at least in his case, that the "accountability" project he has championed was driven to produce results that would stigmatize public schools and promote charter schools. And when the numbers did not come out the way they wanted, the books were cooked.

Michelle Rhee cooked the books as well - or at least overlooked the cooking that was happening under her regime in Washington, DC. But her true day of reckoning has yet to come. John Merrow this week revealed that a well-written and carefully sourced column on the Michelle Rhee cheating scandal was rejected by four national newspapers. This is a man who has had no trouble getting columns published in the past. But he was told by one of the newspapers that Michelle Rhee is "not a national story." She, the woman who was featured in Waiting For Superman and NBC's Education Nation, not to mention the cover of Newsweek, as one of the country's leaders in calling for accountability. Her national organization, StudentsFirst raised $28 million last year and spent much of it supporting pro-corporate reform candidates around the country. But somehow, when she is caught covering up wholesale cheating under her watch, this is not news.

There is no shortage of other days of reckoning that are way overdue. In Chicago, the school board of millionaires appointed by Rahm Emanuel has awarded a $20 million no-bid contract for the training of principals to a company which employed school CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett until she began working for Chicago schools. Add this to the closure of fifty schools, and diversion of $33 million in public dollars towards a new basketball stadium, and there are some huge questions about that city's democratic processes and priorities.

Earlier this year, investigator Michael Corwin in New Mexico found evidence of numerous actions by another of the "Chiefs for Change," Hanna Skandera. New Mexico law prohibits for-profit charters from receiving public funds. But Skandera engaged in extensive manipulation to ensure that K12 Inc, the nation's largest for-profit virtual charter chain, could be funded. This is in spite of the dismal outcomes these schools have produced. She remains in office, though she has yet to be officially confirmed.

And more:


Obama wasn't picked by the DLC.

That was a huge talking point for Obama during the horrific primary wars here on DU, and elsewhere, during the '08 primaries.

It didn't matter that his policies were a great fit for the DLC, which was actually noted here by a DLCer and Hillary supporter whose DU name escapes me...wyldwolf? Maybe.

It didn't matter that he publicly identified with the "New Democrats," making him a centrist that fits the DLC.

He wasn't an official member, so he got a pass. And we got a neo-liberal president. Underlying the dlc/"new democrats"/"3rd way"/centrists is neo-liberalism. They're corporatists.

I want a nominee that is distinctly opposed to neo-liberalism.

So, when the primaries heat up, be on the lookout for a candidate who is "not" dlc/centrist/etc., but whose policies seem to be a good fit anyway. That's the candidate that will be pushed into a two-person battle, squeezing out any non-corporatist neo-liberal courageous enough to run early on.

Let's see how the primary voting schedule lines up. Note that it was set up to weed out most candidates early on in '08. My primary didn't roll around until Obama and HRC had been the only 2 left standing for 5 months.

I have some problems with this.

First of all, this:

My second year as a principal (at School 50), I got 90 percent of my fourth graders passing the math test. We were busting our butts. Back then, the only students who had to take the tests were in fourth grade and eighth grade. The very next year, the state instituted grades 3 to 8 testing, and when they did that, test scores across the state crumbled. And when the test scores crumbled, so did teacher morale.

It took me five years of steady gains to move the scores back up to the point of getting 68 percent to 69 percent passing the English language arts tests and 72 percent passing math.

HE got students to pass tests? HE got scores back up?

No. The teachers and students did.

He may have been a driving force; in my district, principals are evaluated partly on school test scores and testing goals. Therefore, the principal exerts extreme pressure to teach to the test, and makes sure everything we do is directed towards standardized scores. He can use our evaluations as a weapon in that process.

FYI, higher scores don't necessarily mean more learning. It's about statistics. It's about manipulating data. It's not really about learning.

Then there is this:

What happens in schools today needs to occur within a system. Gone is the day when teachers walk into their classroom, shut the door, and do whatever they want to do.

For example, if we both teach fourth grade, but we don't teach the same thing, then when the fifth-grade teacher gets our kids, the students are not going to be at the same place in math.

I have problems with this. Why? Because the system is too authoritarian. It's TOO standardized, trying to force students into a standard mold, when people just aren't. It doesn't matter HOW strictly you standardize curriculum and instruction, students do not walk into ANY classroom all "at the same place." That's because they are people, not factory parts.

I worked for a district a dozen years ago who was adopting scripted curriculum and standardized pacing schedules for EVERYTHING. We were told that we had to use the scripted BULLETIN BOARDS in our scripted teacher's manual; that there would be random visits from district personnel to check compliance, and if our bulletin boards were on the wrong day, it would affect our evaluations. One admin in that district told his teachers that, if he walked down a hallway and didn't hear the exact same thing (reading the teaching script) coming from the exact same grade level rooms at the same time, that it would reflect badly in teachers' evaluations.

Finally, my principal told me he had to observe me reading the script from the adopted curriculum, and he had to use what he observed to evaluate me on the teacher's standards for professional practice, which included things like development of lesson plans, flexible delivery to respond to perceived need, etc.. In other words, the script didn't match the standards. I asked him what he wanted me to do; he shrugged and said, "Read the script." So I did. The students were confused. It was the first time I'd ever done that, and the script itself was awkward and not very coherent. My principal walked out after the observation, and I put the script down and taught the kids. He wrote up an evaluation based on things he'd seen me doing when I wasn't reading the script, and pretended it was all about the script.

Real teaching and learning just doesn't work that way. That's why there are so many problems trying to use a factory model and/or a corporate/business model.

At the same time, Mains does acknowledge many of the frustrations we're facing. I wish he'd recognize that it's the standardized reforms and privatization that has broken the system.

Are you a Democrat?

I don't think so. Of course, my perception is colored by a couple of decades outside the party, as an independent that never registered with a party, before becoming a "Democrat" in 2000 to protest the selection. So I see the Democratic Party from 2 different lenses, inside and out.

To be honest, I liked the party better when I was an outsider.

At this point in time, from my admittedly different perspective, a Democrat is someone who puts party before principle, and whose narrow concept of "winning" is focused on elections, not issues.

You are not that kind of Democrat. Are there enough "old" Democrats left to retake the party and make it stand for the principles in your list? To make the party meaningful and relevant again?

Reading down your thread, I see a Democrat writing off the left, writing off those unhappy with the direction the party is going, and telling us that the party will be better without us. "Us" being those of us with principles. I see a Democrat relating party membership to loyalty to party, not issues.

I'm not that kind of Democrat. I wonder what the response would be if all the "fringe" wrote their candidates in '14 and apologized for not donating, campaigning, or voting for them, because they'd been told that it would be better for the party if they left.

I see the claim of ten new, faithful partisans for every "fringe" voter purged. I don't believe that's true, unless those new partisans are coming from the right. I guess the Democratic Party can build a position of strength by encompassing the right, but then the relevance of the party is over.

At least as far as I'm concerned.

Am I a Democrat? I'm registered that way. I often vote that way. I don't, though, support in any way the direction the party has taken. I'm not taking any right-hand turns with the party.

We've always looked at outcomes.

The bottom line, though, is that we've known, since long before the standards and accountability testing movement, that teachers are not the most significant factor in those outcomes. It's SES that impacts "outcomes" more than any other factor, and that is beyond any teacher's scope of influence.

If a child in my classroom is not learning, I'm going to take it personally. I'm going to do whatever I can within the limits I'm given to work with to change that situation.

Sometimes a successful outcome is not measurable on a standardized test. Sometimes "success" is not defined by academic benchmarks.

One example from last year: One of my 8th grade girls, of above average ability and coming with a decent skill set, had an attendance problem. She'd moved from school to school, and had the same attendance problem in each school. For the first couple of months of school, I agreed to meet with her at least once a week before school to help her with the work she was trying to do from home. That apparently reassured her mom; at our first fall parent conference, she listened for a bit and then the dam opened, and I learned way more than I really wanted to know about physical and sexual abuse in the home. I contacted some sources of support for her. Convinced that school would be "safe," the girl began showing up every day. By xmas, the mom was out of the home, but hiding, so the girl wasn't attending any more. I continued to provide work, and "taught" through emails with my student and her mother; the student emailed assignments in to me.

By June, the mother had a new job, an above-ground place to live, restraining orders, and they were moving forward with a new life. This girl didn't show any growth on those high-stakes tests. So, according to those measuring academic "outcomes," I failed her.

I beg to differ. She, her mother, and her younger siblings are now safe and in counseling. She will be attending high school in a different town, but with regular attendance, she'll do well academically.

That's just one story. I've got hundreds of them. Hundreds of students to whom "success" meant something different than those outcomes measured on a standardized test.

I've got lots of stories about academic growth and success as well, but those come AFTER the foundation. Maslow's hierarchy.

I confess.

I never loved him.

I opposed him from the first. Not because I'm a fan of HRC; she's a neoliberal too, and I've never been her fan, either. Not because I'm racist. Anyone who knows me in the real world knows that to be ludicrous, including my 2 black nieces. Not because I'm a libertarian; I'm not. I'm a Democrat. I'm a Democrat with high standards and no patience for political bullshit. I opposed him.

Because he's a neoliberal, and neoliberals are bad for the nation. Because he told FOX, in an '08 interview, that one of the things Republicans "do better" than Democrats is education, and I'm a teacher. I could go on, and on, and on. I wasn't starstruck. I wasn't inspired. I actually listened to what he said.

Still, I shed some tears and cheered on election night. Partially in relief that GWB was gone; more because, even if he was the wrong man, America elected a person of color, which I still see as a giant leap forward.

Then I watched his appointments. I knew he was not good news before he was inaugurated.

Even so, I have been shocked and awed at HOW bad it's been. At HOW far to the right he has been willing to go.

I never loved him. I don't love him now. The damage he's done is enough that I don't hold out any hope that will change. I have no reason to gush over public relation photos or vague speeches. He's said some decent things; they are usually vague enough to justify the things he does later. He's done at least one thing in the last 5 years I support. I said so at the time. It pales in comparison to the rest.

I feel no glee every time he or his administration does something else worthy of criticism. I feel despair. I feel anger. I feel hopeless. There's no glee involved.

41 was not the face of evil.

He was simply the extension of the worst disaster to befall our nation at least in my lifetime: Ronald Reagan.

RR, though, was such a beloved myth to so many that it took another 4 years after his departure to finally kick free.

I didn't like Bill Clinton from the very first; I first heard of him when he and H went on 60 minutes, where she rationalized his cheating ways and her standing by her man as "not standing by her man." I don't like cheaters. I find that cheaters can't be trusted not to cheat, surprisingly enough.

My dislike and distrust was born out; he cheated AGAIN on H, and he betrayed the left with NAFTA, for one.

His cheating opened the door for the debacle of 2000 and for 8 horrific years under GWB. Not that 2000 was his fault. Election fraud and an indefensible Supreme Court selection brought us GWB. Still, the stains left by his administration helped.

Imagine? Okay. But let's REALLY imagine. Let's imagine what could be if the U.S. elected a non-corporate, clean, well left-of-center president and Congress that would actually fight for the people. As long as I'm imagining, I'll imagine the best outcome.
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 Next »