Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Big Data, and the Public-Private Planned Economy

If cutting-edge educational technologies can scientifically maximize student learning, then why do so many Silicon Valley bigwigs at Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo! send their children to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, a school which bans computer technology from its classrooms? If high-tech computerization were such a fundamental enhancement to cognitive development, then why did Steve Jobs withhold iPads and other “screen-time” technologies from his children? Why would these tech gurus not practice for their own sons and daughters what they preach (and bankroll) for the public education system? These incongruences signal red flags that the real objective behind the accelerating push for personalized computer learning is not to boost academic outcomes, but to data-mine students for the purposes of corporate-fascist political-economic planning. Continue reading

College Illiteracy is Growing

For a number of years, it was assumed that public education was swimming along, efficiently educating children of all ages. More recently, the products coming out of public schools have caused a troubling concern to leap into the minds of adults: are schools dumbing down the content they teach to students?

That concern seems to have now made its way into the minds of university professors, as evidenced in a recent study conducted by the Times Higher Education. The study examined over a thousand higher education professors and administrators in several English-speaking countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and predominantly the U.K.

Judging from the comments of these professors, the students they are seeing come through their classrooms are ill-prepared, unwilling to study, and in need of kid-glove treatment. Some of the choice comments from these professors include… Continue reading

My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation

“Students’ reliance on screens for communication is detracting—and distracting—from their engagement in real-time talk.”

Recently I stood in front of my class, observing an all-too-familiar scene. Most of my students were covertly—or so they thought—pecking away at their smartphones under their desks, checking their Facebook feeds and texts.

As I called their attention, students’ heads slowly lifted, their eyes reluctantly glancing forward. I then cheerfully explained that their next project would practice a skill they all desperately needed: holding a conversation.

Several students looked perplexed. Others fidgeted in their seats, waiting for me to stop watching the class so they could return to their phones. Finally, one student raised his hand. “How is this going to work?” he asked. Continue reading

The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

When kids can get their lessons from the Internet, what’s left for classroom instructors to do?

Whenever a college student asks me, a veteran high-school English educator, about the prospects of becoming a public-school teacher, I never think it’s enough to say that the role is shifting from “content expert” to “curriculum facilitator.” Instead, I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years, with a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation’s most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic. The “virtual class” will be introduced, guided, and curated by one of the country’s best teachers (a.k.a. a “super-teacher”), and it will include professionally produced footage of current events, relevant excerpts from powerful TedTalks, interactive games students can play against other students nationwide, and a formal assessment that the computer will immediately score and record.

I tell this college student that in each classroom, there will be a local teacher-facilitator (called a “tech”) to make sure that the equipment works and the students behave. Since the “tech” won’t require the extensive education and training of today’s teachers, the teacher’s union will fall apart, and that “tech” will earn about $15 an hour to facilitate a class of what could include over 50 students. This new progressive system will be justified and supported by the American public for several reasons: Each lesson will be among the most interesting and efficient lessons in the world; millions of dollars will be saved in reduced teacher salaries; the “techs” can specialize in classroom management; performance data will be standardized and immediately produced (and therefore “individualized”); and the country will finally achieve equity in its public school system.

“So if you want to be a teacher,” I tell the college student, “you better be a super-teacher.” Continue reading

ONCE AGAIN: Our kids are to be Thrown Out With The Bath Water

The presentation of H.R. 610 by Steve King (R-IA) and co-sponsor Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Pete Olson (R – TX) is a perfect example as to why all these legislators and people like Betsy DeVos who have no experience when it comes to the education of our children other than spending money and writing bills, need to stay as far away from education as possible.

“H.R. 610To distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools is just another bill to the road of PRIVATIZING our children’s education and YOU the parents will be left out of the equation.

Mr. Trump – was your idea to “eliminate” or “drastically reduce” the Federal Department of Education just another left over from the Reagan Administration? Reagan ran and got elected on the promise of shutting down the Federal Department of Education and then he appointed Terrell Bell as Education Secretary and he along with the likes of Sen. Lamar Alexander convinced Reagan we didn’t need to “shut down” the department but “tweak it” and “tweak it” they did. Continue reading

K-12 Quagmire: Problems with Sight-Words

Why do we have millions of children who never become fluent readers? Easy. Our Education Establishment prefers methods that don’t work.

Every language is either a sound-language such as English or a picture-language such as Chinese. They are opposites. You cannot mix them without creating mental chaos. But what do you know? Our public schools insist on mixing them together. This is dogma in today’s K-12.

Most Americans have heard of “balanced literacy.” That’s jargon for mixing them together.

Sound-languages are also known as phonetic languages – for example, Latin, German, Italian, and English. Children read these languages by first learning an alphabet, the sounds represented by the letters, and how to blend those sounds. Then they can read a million words. (They see CAT on the page and blend those three letters into one spoken word. Note that the sounds are contained in the printed words.)

Picture-languages are also known as hieroglyphic, ideographic, or sight-languages – for example, Babylonian, ancient Egyptian, and Chinese. There is no alphabet to learn. Instead children memorize whole diagrams or designs one by one. Continue reading

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

A veteran educator reflects on the personalized-learning trend that’s left him wondering if a computer is more capable of doing his job than he is.

Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.

For the past several weeks, I’ve begun class with a simple routine: Students enter the room, grab a new Chromebook, log on to the Reading Plus program, and spend roughly 20 minutes working at their own pace. I stroll around the room and help with technology troubleshooting or conference with students, quietly chatting about academic progress or missing work. I’ve also found myself pausing, marveling at what this program promises to accomplish: meeting students where they are academically and, at least in theory, helping a wildly diverse group of students improve their literacy skills. Continue reading

The Glue Helping At-Risk Students Stick With School

Washington, D.C., added pathways coordinators to its high schools to try to help kids who are behind on credits catch up.

The percentage of students at Washington, D.C., public schools who graduate from high school in four years is at an all-time high. But at 69 percent, the district’s graduation rate is well below the national average, which is north of 80 percent.

So in a move that mirrors a broader national conversation about how to help kids who have more than a few obstacles in front of them succeed, the district this year put what it’s calling “pathway coordinators” into its schools to make sure kids at risk of dropping out get a diploma—and to help students who’ve gotten off track rebound. Continue reading

Opinion: Why I’m Taking My Child Out of Our Renewal School

When I found out my child would be attending Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts, one of New York City’s “Renewal Schools,” I was hopeful. I went to Wadleigh when I was a girl; I knew it was struggling, but I thought the new focus and resources that came with the Renewal program meant it could only get better. Unfortunately, even with the new label, the school keeps failing its students.

When he announced Renewal Schools in November 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio made them sound as if they were at the very center of his education platform. He promised that the program would turn around chronically struggling schools. . . Continue reading

10 Kids + 1 Teacher

The Smallest School in the Tiniest District in America’s Least Populated State

Brindle and Bronc Vineyard are lucky. Every school day, the young children wake up at 6 o’clock, eat a hot country breakfast, scrub the syrup off their teeth, and hop into a school Suburban that pulls up next to their rural Wyoming cattle ranch.

A few miles down the highway, the Suburban turns down a gravel road and pulls up to the yellow, two-room schoolhouse in Arvada, population 43. . . Continue reading

Why Textbooks Ruin Kids

Going back to the Egyptians in the ancient world, education has always been based on some version of the textbook.

The textbook came into its own in the second half of the 15th century. That was because of Gutenberg. But textbook-based education had always been used, except they were not printed textbooks. They were provided by boring, droning lecturers who had the students write down their boring lectures in copybooks to memorize. There was nothing creative about any of it.

A textbook in the modern world is a book that is written for a committee in a particular academic field. This committee then makes a decision whether or not to publish it based on the committee’s assessment of what university departmental committees will determine. Committee A decides in terms of the expected decision of committee B. Continue reading

Gang Task Force: MS-13 Recruiting Elementary School Students in Washington, D.C. Area

Notorious El Salvadoran gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, is recruiting students as early as fifth grade, according to investigators tasked with containing gang violence.

“They’re recruiting in grade-school but generally fifth grade and on,” Northern Virginia Regional Task Force Director Jay Lanham told FOX5.

Fifth graders are a prime target because they’re beginning to find themselves, he said. “Drastic” changes in behavior can tip off a parent to gang involvement, such as when a child loses all interest in studies and sports and “hates” going to school. Continue reading

Times Record; February 19, 2017…”Coaches & others headed to ‘basic training’. “

The cast: Greenwood (Arkansas) Football Coach Rick Jones, Asst. Principal Chris Young, and Tanya Taylor, Greenwood Director for Economic Development.

The 3 are traveling to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA to get their lessons in military indoctrination, propagandizing, and conditioning for the youth in the Greenwood school district.

The article states that the Marine Corps sends around 80 high school & college educators, counselors & administrators to the Pendleton “Marine Corps Educators Workshop”. These numbers could easily translate into more than a million unsuspecting immature student minds to be pretzelized into the warmongering frenzy by so-called educators & other government addicts. Continue reading

Oh, the Irony… Liberals Threaten to Homeschool Kids After DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary

NOTE: Keep in mind, at Metropolis Café, the jury is still out on the new Secretary of Education. We post only for informational purposes, as this will affect all of our students. Whether it will have a positive or negative impact… well – we’ll just have to keep watching. ~ J.B.

In protest of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos becoming the next education secretary, some liberals threatened to homeschool their children. Lost on them, apparently, is the irony of that threat. Continue reading

VICTORY: New Hampshire homeschooler to lead state’s schools department

“…he understands alternative methods of education.”

CONCORD, N.H. ~ A businessman who homeschooled his children is officially New Hampshire’s next education commissioner.

The Republican-led Executive Council voted along party lines Wednesday to confirm Frank Edelblut, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s pick to oversee the state’s public schools. Edelblut’s nomination sparked fierce public debate, mirroring the outcry over President Donald Trump’s nomination of school choice advocate and wealthy GOP donor Betsy DeVos to lead the federal education department.

Edelblut’s backers say his business background will be an asset to the department and that he’ll strengthen both traditional public schools and alternative options. But critics charge he is unqualified for the job and may undermine public education. Continue reading

Idaho Drops Climate Change Language From K-12 Science Curriculum

Whether one agrees with or is opposed to the ‘climate change’ debate – the point here is that – school districts are beginning to take back the right to educate our youth as the DISTRICT sees fit – as it should be. ~ Publisher

Lawmakers in Idaho have approved new K-12 science standards that do not reference the established science of climate change and the impact of human activity on the environment.

The Feb. 9 vote from the House Education Committee came mostly down party lines. According to Idaho Ed News, 11 Republicans on the panel approved the proposed slate of science standards after five paragraphs* mentioning the topics were removed from the initial draft. The committee’s three Democrats voted against removing the climate change language. Continue reading

‘What I was meant to do’

Litchfield Park, Arizona Food Service director named Nutrition Hero

DAVID SCHWAKE, left, Food Services director for the Litchfield Elementary School District, checks on cabbage growth Feb. 7 with the help of kindergartners Kaylee Arthur and Colton Carter at Litchfield Elementary in Litchfield Park. Schwake has been with the district for 19 years and was recently recognized as a School Nutrition Hero. View photo by Jordan Christopher

When you imagine a hero, most likely capes and laser vision come to mind, but you probably don’t picture someone who feeds pupils in public schools.

David Schwake, Litchfield Elementary School District’s Food Service director since 1994, was named a 2017 School Nutrition Hero by the national nonprofit School Nutrition Foundation.

“I didn’t cry. I didn’t get real emotional, but my wife did,” Schwake said. “I was pleasantly shocked. I don’t think what I do is anything special; I just think I do what every food service director should do.”

Schwake was nominated by the school district and chosen by SNF for providing healthy menus and environments for pupils, volunteering at local organizations and food banks, creating effective school initiatives that teach children nutrition and helping the community at large. Continue reading

IRISH: The Forgotten White Slaves

They came as slaves: human cargo transported on British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.

Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. Some were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.

We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade. Continue reading