notanislander asked:

I don't know if you saw my rant on your post about your son starting Kindergarten, but I am beyond annoyed! I just want to get up in front of every kindergarten teacher in North America and tell them to wake up! We are doing our children no favours by pushing all of this crap on them. In fact, all research points to the exact opposite. Kindergarten needs to be a time where we work on our socio-emotional health, not academics. When we have those in place, the rest we can deal with.

Yes, I responded and I am in total agreement with you!  I think that a lot is beyond the kindergarten teacher’s control. So much is dictated at the state and national level. Teachers have to implement every dictate, every curriculum decision made by people who are most of the time unqualified to make those decisions.  I’ve worked on leadership teams for the last five years and there is, at least in our state, a toxic attitude towards teachers by the leadership, as if the failure of children to excel is entirely their fault. But teachers are usually the first ones to speak up and say, hey, Marzano is a crock of shit, or Common Core is unrealistic or you can’t make everything a Kagan structure.  They get shut down time and again by the leaders and a very uninformed public.  You and I and psychologists and pediatricians know what the research says but in American Schools, kids don’t matter and teachers even less. 

The Common Core State Standards are a perfect example of one hand washing the other. Now, before I say anything, I am a HUGE advocate of national standards and the broader the better.  Common Core is not horrible (beats the hell out of the Sunshine State Standards my a mile).  But this link lists the participants of the Common Core States Standards Development Work Group. One out of 61 participants is a current teacher, the rest of the group is OVERREPRESENTED by companies who are responsible for writing standards-based assessments, including College Board and ACT. 

So, you get to write the standards, the assessment that will test the standards, which drives the curriculum to teach those standards, which determines a school, and subsequently, a district’s grades and, more importantly, determines a child’s future.  You have no one on that committee who has worked with ELL or ESE students, only one person who has taught in a classroom in the last 20 years and they are the ones telling us how to raise and educate children. 

The reason that no one does anything about it is because the general public doesn’t want to think too hard about it. They’ve been sold a bill of goods that says if we look at “learning outcomes” and “learning gains,” and treat children as industrial commodities, our performance against other countries will improve. If we turn schools into corporations and run them on efficiency models, our children will improve. Their emotional development, their social engagement - that is not quantifiable so who cares? It’s not on the test!

Well guess what, after 20 years of NCLB and Race to the Top, we still look like shit on the last PISA administration, which was this year despite the fact that we spend more money per child than any other system in the world.  

So yeah, given the outcomes, I agree with you completely. Let the kids play outside. Talk to them. Read to them.  Get them the hell off the computer and electronic devices (before you say a word a word to me, I did my academic time, lol) and spend time doing things with them, have real conversations with them about the way things work. Because if you leave it only to the test makers, I can’t even tell you what kind of adults they’ll churn out.

Abusive cop picked to head police reform commission
December 3, 2014

Charles Ramsey, one of two co-chairs apppointed by President Obama to head a commission on ways to demilitarize local police, is known for leading repeated bloody and abusive crackdowns on protesters when he was Washington, D.C.’s chief a decade ago, according to a civil rights attorney who won millions in damages for 100s of citizens attacked by D.C. police.   

“If the president’s idea of reforming policing practices includes mass false arrests, brutality, and the eviscerating of civil rights, then Ramsey’s his man. That’s Charles Ramsey’s legacy in D.C.,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund(PCJF), speaking of the ex-D.C. chief and current Philadelphia Police Commissioner. “Obama should immediately rescind his appointment of Commissioner Ramsey, who is a mass violator of civil rights and civil liberties.”

On Monday, Obama appointed Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University professor of criminology, law and society, to head a commission that the president said will suggest steps that the executive branch can take to unwind the most visible aspects of America’s militarized police—its domestic use of military gear.

“They are going to co-chair a task force that is not only going to reach out and listen to law enforcement, and community activists and other stakeholders, but is going to report to me specifically in 90 days with concrete recommendations, including best practices for communities where law enforcement and neighborhoods are working well together,” Obama said Monday, continuing, “How do they create accountability; how do they create transparency; how do they create trust; and how can we at the federal level work with the state and local communities to make sure that some of those best practices get institutionalized?”

Obama’s focus on militarized policing is sparked by the overly aggressive response by St. Louis area departments to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer and fall after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. Those protests were broken up by police SWAT teams in battle dress, the use of tear gas, and other outsized and disproportionate surplus military weaponry that is distributed across America through a mix of Pentagon and Department of Justice programs.

More than a decade ago, when Ramsey was the D.C. police chief, he lead numerous crackdowns and mass arrests of protesters—starting in 2000. His most high-profile assault was in September 2002 at Pershing Park, where demonstrators protested World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. The police locked down the park and arrested everyone there—400 people—including journalists, legal observers and bystanders.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sued and won millions for protesters. The April 2000 protest settlements totalled $13.7 million and Pershing Park/2002 settlement was $8.25 million. Verheyden-Hilliard said the settlements highlight a larger and especially bloody pattern of police crackdowns on protesters ordered by Ramsey. She listed the following six events in an e-mail that “are demonstrative of his leadership and the force under his command.” The first example is an earlier three-day World Bank/IMF protest from spring 2000 in downtown Washington.

• April 2000 protests IMF/World Bank. “(It is noteworthy that Ramsey deployed the National Guard against the protesters during these protests). A group of peaceful protestors sat in a circle in an intersection [20th and K Street], notably one that was already closed to traffic by the police cordon blocking vehicular traffic in areas of downtown for the IMF/WB meetings. They sat there peacefully with their arms immobilized in that PVC piping. A bus pulls up. A platoon of MPD officers get off. They have their badges obscured either by removal, taping over or punching out numbers (all common practices under Ramsey). The leader of the platoon shouts something to the effect of “let’s do this” and they charge the protesters who are immobilized and cannot flee, with their batons out and begin beating them. The officers smash in their faces with their batons, breaking noses and teeth. Blood is pouring out. For years the MPD, under Ramsey denied this happened, and it was pre-cell phone videos. We eventually obtained a video, which it turned out, had been turned over to the MPD’s General Counsel’s office directly after the incident. They had lied and withheld evidence for years. There was no investigation or discipline of any one involved. In addition, we established that Chief Ramsey was on notice to the practice of officers hiding their identity as they engaged in misconduct and allowed it.”

Full article

You think we’re out here to ditch school, or because we’re lazy and don’t want to take a test. We’re out here because it’s time for a change. We’re sick and tired of corporate takeover of education. We’re tired of taking tests that are almost impossible. Help us by getting the word out.
#saynotoparcc #stopcorporatetakeover #pearson #parcc #education #reform #educationreform #policy #educationpolicy #test #stoptheparcc #stoppearson #santafe #newmexico

thinkprogress.org
How To Spell Out All The Problems Of Juvenile Justice In Five Minutes
"Not a week goes by without a headline in a newspaper in the U.S. citing abuse of a young person in one of these facilities in the juvenile justice system."

Despite his push for criminal justice reform this week, President Barack Obama’s inaction on juvenile justice reform has left Youth First! President Liz Ryan unimpressed.

New York May Enact First-Ever ‘Warning Label’ For People Who Want To Protect Their Life Savings

Last week, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer unveiled a new plan to regulate financial advisers, the first of its kind, that tries to protect the average investor from advisers who don’t have to put their clients’ best interests first.

Currently, the regulations that apply to financial advisers have a carve out for broker-dealers who can give financial advice but don’t have to act as what is called a fiduciary.