Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Reformers” or “Post-Reformers” or “Post-Post-Reformers”?

Reformers® love their label but people with other views seem to need some help with labels

I propose Post-Reformer® to umbrella all views…and even include Reformers.

Reformers are a group of people seeking a package of changes to how we do education in this country.  They are capable of only working in dichotomies and can’t accept multiple solutions, hence the need for an umbrella term for everyone else.  Reformers are stuck in a turn of the (20th) century industrial era style logic loop. Reformers insist there is a single package of free-market solutions to "fixing" education.  Reformers want to extend the industrial trappings of public education; top-down management, efficiency benchmarks, and refining work to the tiniest task possible.  You can literally hear the banging of the standardized steel plate being fastened to a kid's head by teachers who are being checked by a foreman.  The only "advancement" a Reformer has accepted is including technology to improve management and the development of benchmarks.  The name “Reformer” wreaks of a Mad Men slogan for selling rehashed and stale product.  The name Reformer, implies new and bold. This is why it is a genius label for selling old, tired and failed.

Post-Reformers believe problems can have multiple antecedents and multiple solutions.  Post reformers place a primacy on collaboration towards a goal utilizing (not just respecting) everyone’s backgrounds and talents. Because Post-Reformers are broad (no pun intended) coalitions, they will contradict each other at times. To the Post-Reformer contradictions are relished.

A large part of the disconnect Post-Reformers experience when first meeting a Reformer is that each is  operating in a different era and think with different philosophies.  Reformers lust for technocratic bell curves and value added models remind me of phrenology and eugenics from the 1900s.  There often is value in a passion for data, legalese, working-papers, and astoturfing. The challenge for the Post-Reformer is to dig deeply for these nuggets of value. 

Here are a few ways the Post-Reformer can bring a Reformer on board.  A Post-Reformer should never reject a Reformer, they to belong under the umbrella and should always be respected.  Ask a Reformer to bring their legalese to help you draft Board Resolutions or their astroturfing skills to engage parents.  Reformers need to feel ‘new’ and current while staying in the comforts of their old philosophy, often using email.  Despite the Reformer’s  need to feel new facebook and blogs are not yet for Reformers. Reformers need rules and a clear vision of a miniature utopia that they hope will scale to the whole world, focusing on making the miniature world is another great place to engage Reformers. 

The real challenge is when the Reformer meets the Post-Reformer.  Because Reformers spend so much time building walls to define themselves, Post-Reformers should be patient as they explore these new ways of dealing with people.  Post-Reformers have different views and do not speak a single set of ideas. For Reformers to accept Post-Reformers, they need to accept that conflicting ideas can still make sense and are worth listening too, or at least don't dismiss Post-Reformers for having conflicting ideas.  Reformers will need to accept that not everything is a dichotomy nor is every disagreement worth a "for us or against us" mentality   Reformers will need to accept that people can and will work toward a common goal and that laws and contracts are not a means to making people do things. 

Post-Post-Reformers educate children regardless of policy and don't care about wonk ideas.  A good pseudonym for the Post-Post-Reformer is “Teacher.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

but no other orifice was available.

notyetLAUSD will not talk sweetly to you and then punch you in the face.  There is a disturbing trend of sugar coating bad news starting at the highest levels of government and working its way down local school districts.  Whether it is Obama signing NDA Act, best covered by Colbert.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Catch 2012
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Or maybe every time you hear Arne Duncan say "Teaching is more than just test scores and needs to include the arts,"  you think "YES!"  Then you read Race to the Top and you see that only test scores are being focused on, you think "f$$K!"

Or maybe it is your Superintendent at the start of a letter about Prop 39 and schools:

"I am writing to inform you that, after carefully weighing various educational, safety, and space-related factors, and benefiting from the valuable engagement and recommendations of Local District Leadership and Board offices..."  and you think all right this can't be too bad

but then...
"I personally approved a preliminary proposal for a charter school to potentially co-locate on your campus in the upcoming school year (list attached). This is a painstaking process and while there will be impacts to campuses, we have worked diligently to minimize the impact on campuses, and most importantly, to students."  right up the old pucker without a drop of KY.

For a list of all schools getting Donkey Punched please read here.  Its a long list.  (If you don't know what Donkey Punched means it is completely NSFW.)

notyetLAUSD will tell it to you straight.  

Dear Principal,

We noticed you are under enrolled and I am not much interested in changing enrollment patterns unless the Board forces me to.  Therefore I am giving up a part of your school to a charter school in accordance with Prop 39.  Yes this is probably the same charter school that has been dumping the kids it can handle on you all year and the low test score kids on you right before CSTs.  Please allow this charter school to recruit top students from your school.  Your library, cafeteria and common area are now belong to charter.



Friday, January 6, 2012

OccupyLA gets it worse than Occupy LAUSD

I poop you not, I did not fake this.

LA City Attorney to Occupy: pay for brainwashing lessons on limits of free speech and we'll drop the charges

Could you imagine if a social studies teacher in Occupy LAUSD having to attend lessons on the limits of the constitution and free speech.  Any teacher in California has had to take the civics test to before they are allowed in the classroom.  I don't remember limited free speech as one of the questions.

NOT SATIRE: L.A. Tells Arrested OWS Protesters They Can Pay for "Free Speech" Classes to Avoid Court (Thanks, phosphorious!) (Image: Police Lines blocking City Hall entrance, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from neontommy's photostream)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 retrospective

2011 was a great year for LAUSD.  PSC reached it's third act and then like any good Shakespeare play quickly went through acts 4 and 5.  AGT was released multiple times and from multiple sources, we're looking forward to the meta AGT based on all value added measures.  2011 brought a new contract and a pilot evaluation system, both exude the best in idealism and remind us how little a piece of paper affects student outcomes.  In true LAUSD fashion we wanted to wait until 2012 before we release out best of 2011, those last dozen or so people that stumbled on our site yesterday, your page views count.

Most Popular:
notyetLAUSD to release Value Added Parent Score

runner up:
Wasserman foundation pays $4 million in reparations to LAUSD for PSC.

Most Popular helLAUSD
Beaudry Fish

The one that started it all.

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