The Treehorn Express
A number of events over the week has demonstrated the determination of the deformers to ensure that their aims are met, even if this means telling untruths about their backgrounds, as exemplified by GERM Master in chief, Joel Klein, Murdoch’s hatchet man in New York. Klein is a self described educational expert who knows how to raise achievement (seems being a lawyer provides the idea background for this – damn, why did I spend all those years studying education?). However his stories about his childhood, education, favourite teacher, etc, are demonstrably hogwash. Not that this seems to matter to his Aussie disciples, who are hell bent on out GERMing the rest of the world.
In the spirit of trans Tasman competition, and the desire to outdo the Aussies, New Zealand hasn’t been immune this week, as the government have introduced legislation into parliament that will allow the establishment of ‘partnership’ (aka charter) schools, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and ignoring the advice of Pasi Sahlberg during his recent visit. Seems we have the three unwise monkeys – hands over ears, hands over eyes, and speaking a lot of evil. There’s much worse to come, so Australian GERMers shouldn’t rest on their laurels. If our government has its way, battle for the title of World GERM champions will commence.
A frightening aspect of this legislation is that even though ‘partnership’ schools will be government funded, they will not be subject to official information act requests, thus preventing the media, in particular, from accessing ‘achievement data,’ as they are able to do with all the other state schools. Media league tables will, as a consequence, not include partnership schools data. Partnership schools will also be free from most other statutory requirements imposed on state schools. Why? Of course these schools are being promoted as the saving of education in New Zealand, that will instantly solve the problem of underachievement, notwithstanding all the evidence that indicates addressing poverty would be much more beneficial.
However, to save Australia from the threat of losing their title as World Germ champions there is a very welcome unity amongst all the opposition political parties that GERMs do not have a place in New Zealand in any shape or form.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s homework!
A convenient untruth
Steve Wheeler debunking the learning styles myth.
‘One of the biggest myths known to teacherdom is learning styles. Time and time again, the belief that students can be placed into specific categories such as activist or theorist, or that they are predominantly inclined toward one modal category of learning (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) is inserted into professional conversations as if the theories are fact.’
Race-based student goals prompt controversy in South Florida
Hmmmm…. I can see a version of this coming in New Zealand, where achievement goals are set for underachieving Maori and Pacific Island children – anything to avoid the ‘elephant’ of poverty that the present government doesn’t want to acknowledge.
Homework: Training For Blind Obedience
Why give copious amounts of homework? Because this is the way it’s always been done? Seems the French may be going against the flow. Très bon!
America’s Worst Invasive Species: The Wonk
Not just in the USA. This species is thriving in New Zealand and I suspect has joined cane toads in Australia.
Why the ‘market theory’ of education reform doesn’t work
“Modern education reform is being driven by people who believe that competition, privatization and other elements of a market economy will improve public schools. In this post, Mark Tucker, president of the non-profit National Center on Education and the Economy and an internationally known expert on reform, explains why this approach is actually harming rather than helping schools.”
Best Practices Make Purrfect
A very timely expose on that horrible cliche´ ‘best practice.”
Save Unsuccessful Charter Schools (SUCS), Now!
“Increasingly over the past decade, children and their parents all across the U.S. are choosing to enroll in or are being chosen to attend charter schools that are average or failing. Since these children are our future, we must organize now and help reform the struggling charter school movement; thus, I am forming Save Unsuccessful Charter Schools (SUCS).”
Fraudulent Educational Reform in America
Given the pipeline from USA to ‘down under’ this is worth reading so you can play “spot the similarities’.
“What goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads.”