Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kilroy's right and it doesn't (unfortunately) matter: the Vision 2015/Race to the Top marriage has been consummated....

...and the dowry will be bazillions [they hope] of dollars of Federal money.

The University of Delaware thinks Vision 2015 is tremendous.

Not surprising: universities generally think whatever will bring them in millions of dollars of Federal grant money is a good thing.

Nor is it surprising to find the News Journal continually pimping for Vision 2015:

For nearly four years a coalition representing a wide range of public sector and private sector interests, including unions and business leaders, teachers and administrators, has worked to develop a plan to transform our schools. It's a plan informed by data collected from around the country and around the world and it is a call for rigor and intellectual honesty and excellence. Called Vision 2015, it is the foundation upon which we can build a world class school system.

That, at least, was clearly labeled as an editorial by John Taylor--former editorial page editor and now--wait for it--executive director of the Delaware Public Policy Institute and a member of the Vision 2015 Implementation Team. .

But often the News Journal editorializes in favor of Vision 2015 and calls it news

Moreover, they have organized their cheerleaders, as is evident when you check out comments from that story:

More skepticism is we don't need. What we need is a commitment, this time, to do something. The plan that's on the table and the incentives from Washington will enable us to do what's right by kids. Now we just need the skeptics to get out of the way and the policy makers to have the courage to make some tough decisions. If they do this, we will ALL benefit. Even the cynics who seem so intent on deflating a solid vision.

In other words: STFU. There is no room left for debate. The future of Delaware education has been decided in the latest round of education reform du jour, and--ironically--it is even still recycling people who were going to save education in Delaware back in the 1990s when Pat Forgione's New Directions [sometimes referred to by the skeptical as Nude Erections] was going to be the salvation of public education.

I'm sure that Kilroy thinks he's the lone voice out there trying to explain to people that this isn't all it is cracked up to be.

So let's be clear: Kilroy is not the only one who thinks Race to the Top and Vision 2015 are--at best--dangerous wastes of taxayer money on a motley combination of hackneyed ideas, unproven quick fixes, and Federal take-over.

First; truth in advertising. I hail from that other university which was not quick enough to get on the Vision 2015 money train because somehow then-President Alan Sessoms failed to notice it was about to start raining education bucks. I'm also a faculty union president, which makes me--according to the current sound bites--only interested in cushy salaries for my members whether they actually do anything for our students or not. So remember that.

I have written against Myopia 2015 for about as long as I have been publishing this blog.

Back in November 2008 I exposed the incestuous relationship between the Delaware Public Policy Institute, the Wilmington News Journal, and the Rodel Foundation which engaged in what almost amounts to money-laundering to commission and then tout a supposedly independent report of the fit between Vision 2015 and the State's educational needs.

In March 2008 I trumpted Kilroy's explanation of how the charter schools Vision 2015 and Race to the Top want to cut loose with virtually no restrictions will potential affect the graduation rates of our high schools.

And as far back as November 2007 I laid bare the facts behind the Vision 2015 charade:

If you read the six primary objectives for Vision 2015 and the goals underneath them, you will discover first that while the movement intends to give principals more latitude in their buildings, and teachers more support in terms of resources and training, the unspoken hallmark of the plan is centralization and more bureaucracy.

That particular post laid out the dishonest international comparisons and the lack of research-based components underlying Vision 2015.

The reason our local Vision 2015 supporters [including Governor Jack Markell] are lining up behind Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan has to do with the fact that none of those supposedly enthusiastic corporate supporters has ever stepped up with serious money to implement their backward-looking, pie-in-the-sky reform program, which aims not a developing Delaware's student population into literate, critically thinking American citizens, but into robotic entry-level corporate drones.

Arne Duncan is waving money like a greasy fat guy in a New Orleans whorehouse....

Because Delaware is such a small State and so dominated by entrenched corporate interests [including effective control of our media], we have never had a legitimate public debate on how to improve our educational system.

And despite Kilroy we're not going to have one now: money talks in Delaware, and we all know it drives public policy far more effectively than real concerns about the quality of student education....

Teach for America should have taught us all that: in Delaware when the fix is in, the fix is in, and nobody--not progressive poster-child John Kowalko or perennial GOP hopeful for every state office Colin Bonini--is going to seriously rock the boat.


Nancy Willing said...

WOW, this is a considerable amount of food for thought.

Kilroy said...

I am deeply concerned that the federal government aka the United States Department of Education is over stepping its bounds and encroaches on control of local public education within the states.

The establishment of the department education by the act of congress did not mandate the authority to dictate local policy on all aspects of education beyond regulations associated with particular federal grants such as Title 1. What Duncan wants is broad policies that extend beyond federally funded programs.

Race to the Top funding is funds allocated with the stimulus funding that was meant to save and or created jobs. It was never meant to be the vehicle to reform public education to the agenda of the federal government.

Arne Duncan is nothing more them a perpetrator with a bag of candy on a schoolyard playground. He holds federal funding up like a carrot on a stick to states that are in dire financial need in an attempt to have his way.

Little do many know, Arne Duncan is going to use the provisions /stipulations of Race to the Top as part of the reauthorization of NCLB aka ESEA.

The goal of tying teacher’s pay to student performance may have a twist. Teach for America teachers are two year commitments meaning 2 years of service and then they are out. How then is it possible to measure the actual successes or failure of TFA and how do we hold Teach for America accountable.

I was right about DSTP back in 1997and I will be right about Arne Duncan and Race to the Bank, I mean Race to the Top. Just like DSTP local parents will wake up when it far too late.