Monday, November 21, 2011

Knee-jerk corporate response in Nashville to proposed relief for overextended principals and teachers

After the state agreed to ease up on overworked educators and streamline the unrealistic teacher evaluation process, the Music City mogul class flushed apoplectic:

Keel Hunt, a public relations executive on the steering committee of Nashville’s Agenda, said education reform has emerged time and again as a focus for the group and Nashville. He is one of 29 people who put their names to the letter — others were Metro Nashville Director of Schools Jesse Register and Orrin Ingram, president and CEO of Ingram Industries.

Their letter contends that changing the evaluations could jeopardize the Race to the Top grant.

“I hope (the letter) helps underscore the importance that these people feel this issue has,” Hunt said. “It’s very important to stay the course. ... This is very important work, and there is broader interest in school success that goes beyond what one or two people feel.”

Nashville's Agenda has proved itself in times past to be a tool of wealthy special interests here while branding itself a product of democratic process. It was not too long ago that neighborhood-based leaders were at odds with Nashville's Agenda over the latter's "top down process that began with A-List financial, business and community leaders". I am not surprised at all that the organization wants to "stay the course" in the public school pressure-cooker that produces more opportunities for privatizing than it does for educating.

Apparently, Boss Register is willing to follow this course no matter how low teacher morale drops. He has cast his lot with the pecunious elites.


  1. Loosing Race to the Top money would be the best possible scenario for TN public school students, teachers and principals. The entire misguided initiative denies the basic body of evidence in education and learning.

    Loosers would be 1%ers profiteering off of the backs of other people's kids through money laundering testing companies, foundations, and charter schools. Losers would be elected officials building their profiles for future elections by manufacturing consent for edu-snake oil.

    One big loser would be the Milken family, developers of TEAM/TAP. Yes, it's the same Michael Milken who was convicted of securities fraud and served time in federal prison. TN paid millions of tax dollars to adopt the TEAM/TAP teacher evaluation system without evaluating it's efficacy in identifying teacher quality.
    None of Milken's white papers claiming success have been subjected to external scientific peer review. The targets of Milken's white papers with manipulated data and specious outcomes are news organizations acting as PR for the 1% that buy into the edu-reform rhetoric of profiteers.

    The for-profit TEAM evals are designed to churn experience out of the education profession, open the market for unqualified Teach for America short 'termers' and a cheap labor force trained by edu-businesses.

    How many of the 29 letter signers send their kids to public schools? How many want their kids taught by untrained neophytes from the Teach for America cult? How many of their kids sit in classes of 30+ with a scripted curriculum crammed down their throats?

    "It's very important to stay the course... this is very important work and there is a broader interest in school success that goes beyond what one or two people feel"

    What one or two people feel? These charlatans have ignored the entire body of education research. What an arrogant dismissal by corporate tools looking out for their self-interest with experiments on poor kids.
    Shame on them for misleading the citizens of TN.

  2. “It’s very important to stay the course. ... This is very important work, and there is broader interest in school success that goes beyond what one or two people feel.”

    Soon to be published in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management by Helen F. Ladd, Edgar T. Thompson Professor of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy; Professor of Economics, Duke University is this abstract on the current education policy initiatives:

    "Current U.S. policy initiatives to improve the U.S. education system, including No Child Left Behind, test-based evaluation of teachers and the promotion of competition, are misguided because they either deny or set to the side a basic body of evidence documenting that students from disadvantaged households on average perform less well in school than those from more advantaged families. Because these policy initiatives do not directly address the educational challenges experienced by disadvantaged students, they have contributed little -- and are not likely to contribute much in the future -- to raising overall student achievement or to reducing achievement and educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Moreover, such policies have the potential to do serious harm."

    What will this mean in terms of TN education policy? Absolutely nothing. To the 29 billionaire boys who signed the letter, disagreement with their agenda is simply voiced by a couple of overwrought women.