Fisking Allison Benedikt

I haven’t posted to here in ages, since I basically get more traffic and eyeballs on Facebook. That said, I felt the need to put this article/post on a blog post so I could link to it.

Here is an article posted by one Allison Benedikt, who is editor of some section of Slate. I suggest you read the entire article to truly understand the mindset that we are up against as we work to dismantle the worst education bureaucracy in the free world.

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person [Read more...]

District Dismantlement moves to Philly

We are beginning to see the benefits of the New Orleans experiment in disempowering school district bureaucrats and breaking up the large districts. It is time for Rahm Emanuel to consider the same solutions for Chicago’s failing and bloated infrastructure.

Phila. School District plan would dismantle central office, close schools

“What we do know through lots of history and evidence and practice is that the current structure doesn’t work,” School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos said. “It’s not fiscally sustainable and it doesn’t produce high-quality schools for all kids.”

So, at the SRC’s direction, Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen on Tuesday announced a plan that would essentially blow up the district and start with a new structure.

It is time for Rahm Emanuel to consider the same solutions for Chicago’s failing and bloated infrastructure.

Knudsen, in a news conference, avoided references to the “Philadelphia School District.”

“We are now looking at a much broader definition of education in the city that includes not only district schools but other schools as well,” he said.

Mayor Nutter hailed the plan, which he said would push control over education down to the school level.

“If we don’t take significant action, the system will collapse,” the mayor said at a separate news conference. “If you care about kids and if you care about education, if you care about the future of this city, that’s what we need to all grow up and deal with.”

Teachers union president Jerry Jordan decried the radical restructuring as the SRC divesting itself of many of the core responsibilities of public education. He called it a “cynical, right-wing, market-driven” blueprint.

“This is totally dismantling the system,” Jordan said. “It’s a business plan crafted to privatize the services within the School District.”

Hallelujah! It is about time we did this!

Schools would have much more autonomy, with the ability to choose their own curriculums.

Though there is some precedent for this kind of work – officials pointed to the decentralization in New York City public schools – Ramos noted that what Philadelphia is proposing “is different from what many other places are doing.”

The central office, already half the size it was a year ago, will shrink further, from over 1,000 employees a few years ago to about 200 in the new model.

Entire sections of administration should be cut off and cauterized.

It’s really nice to see this start happening. We merely need to accelerate the process.

Bruno Behrend on WPWR

The video is of appearance on WPWR’s (Channel 50) “Perspective” program a few months ago. You may be interested in the other 3 guests, as they make the conventional case for dumping more money into a failed education system. If not, my stint starts at the 11:22 mark.

The Latest News On School Reform and School Vouchers: My50CHICAGO.com

5 Years ago, I was crazy. Now I’m prescient

As we watch the shake out of the education reforms on the table across the nation, and as we watch the outcome of Scott Walker’s entirely justified “assault” on greedy public sector workers who refuse to pay a dime toward their pensions or health care…

Just remember that this tiny blog accurately predicted the financial conflagration unions have visited upon this nation, as well as the justified public backlash.

Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered.

Slaughter the Hogs.

Another funny home made movie

Ein Superintendent, Ein Board, Ein Voice!

I posted this about three years ago (Jan 2008). Given the situation in Illinois, particularly with education waste and featherbedding, I think it bears re-posting. Think about the nature of the people educating your kids.
______

Elaine Johnson seems like a regular everday citizen. She may be a little out of the ordinary in that she also started a very good local blog in Downers Grove. It’s amazing. You take a little time to look into things, and slowly but surely you start to notice just how things actually work – particularly with school boards.

No need for silence on the school board

Voters were told the board’s responsibility is to put children first and to hire the superintendent. The board acts as a single unit, not as a congregation of individuals motivated by personal agendas – a concept further underscored when incumbents of District 58 and Community High School District 99 ran together as a single slate.

“School boards don’t have a lot of power other than hiring the superintendent,” says Jim Russell of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the voluntary organization that counts 98 percent of the state’s school boards as members.

Indeed, the Illinois School Code highlights the board’s role in hiring, directing and evaluating the superintendent and states that members have no legal authority as individuals.

But it also allows boards to “exercise all other powers not inconsistent with this act that may be requisite for the proper maintenance, operation and development of any school or schools under the jurisdiction of the board.”

The question is: Why don’t they? Why don’t our school board members interpret their duties in the broadest possible terms, initiating policy and holding administrators accountable as other elected officials do? Why do they accept a role that is in large part ceremonial and supportive?

The answer may lie at least in part with the Illinois Association of School Boards, which tries, as Russell says, to “create a philosophy or culture” among its members. My husband, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 58 board last spring, received a packet of IASB handouts explaining the role and duties of a school board member.

Further training encourages individual members to “submit themselves to the overall board,” Russell says. “You have a voice, yes. You are supposed to represent the public, yes. But the board works as a unit. We don’t discourage members from speaking or asking questions … but the district and the community have to hear a single voice.”

This excellent article highlight a singular truth that I have been trying to beat into the heads of people across the political spectrum. School Boards and “districts” are merely facades that provide the appearance of local control. In fact, there is next to no local control at all.

The article also highlights the dark nature of the IASB in particular and school administration in general. By Mr. Russell’s own words, he exposes “Adminstration” for the anti-democratic, anti-free speech, and essentially fascist mindset that they promote.

!!!! “We don’t discourage members from speaking or asking questions … but the district and the community have to hear a single voice.” !!!!

The first part of the above sentence is an outright lie. Members are discouraged from speaking all the time. As some one who follows the antics of school boards and the oily adminstrative class closely, I can attest to the aggressive tactics used by these protectors of financial malfeasance and legalized money laundering.

The second part of the above sentence is even worse than the outright lie, for it reeks of the of enforced conformity and political correctness that have become a cancer on our culture. Any board member who steps out of line is first politely asked to fall in line. If this fails, the gloves come off, and the “education mafia” goes into full attack mode.

Here is a simple fact that most parents and citizens don’t want to process. They practice a dangerous brand of denial regarding their schools. The fact is this. If there is “harmony” on your school board, then corruption is going unnoticed. The legalized money-laundering that now has metastasized to so many districts that the only politically “healthy” districts are the ones where there is “disharmony.”

I’d be happy to hear of any exceptions.

Please wake up people. Re-read the quote by Mr. Russell of the IASB. Please understand the dark, dangerous, and vile nature of his ideology. It is fundamentally anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and anti-American. These are the people that are picking the curriculum for your kids. Mr. Russell’s views and the curriculum are far more in lockstep than you are permitting yourself to see.

Lessons -1800 , Students – 24,000,000 – Faculty – 1

And he isn’t striking for unwarranted pay and pension rights either.

It’s not about bashing Teachers. It’s the system that has to go!

FOX Chicago Sunday: Karen Lewis & Bruno Behrend: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

Technology – the Creative Destroyer

George Will has a hugely important article in Newsweek. It lays out the raw numbers on the impact of technology in the recent years.

Robert Weissenstein’s Exhilaration
George Will – Newsweek

Long ago, in 2008, Americans bought 1.4 billion books made of paper and 200 million e-books. By 2014—perhaps sooner—sales of e-books will equal those of the paper kind. This could save 1.5 million tons of paper made from, possibly, 25 million trees, affecting the price of timber. But the books (and other stuff) bought in e-commerce come in cardboard boxes. So some of those trees will not be spared after all. Furthermore, because of e-commerce and e-books, perhaps half the nation’s bookstores will be gone in four years, vacating at least 50 million square feet of commercial real estate.

Connecting such disparate dots is how Robert Weissenstein’s interesting mind finds fascination in the quotidian. We are, he thinks, in an accelerating process of pervasive global restructuring—regional, industrial, and behavioral. Today, as chief investment officer in Credit Suisse Private Banking, Weissenstein’s theme is “the enormous iterative impact of everything we hold and do.”

..

Weissenstein thinks we focus on the first, disruptive half of social change without noticing the second, creative half. Fixated on job losses in the Great Recession (from December 2007 to June 2009), we miss germane events that began earlier and continue. New “growth drivers” include “teenage tech companies.” Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, and Google, founded in 1994, 1994, 1995, and 1998, respectively, perform functions that did not exist 25 years ago, and employ, cumulatively, 75,000 people. Their existence enables new growth drivers. An entrepreneur with a few thousand dollars can use the Internet to publicize a new product to a target market.

Today, three years is an eternity. In October 2007, 81 percent of Facebook’s 50 million users were younger than 24. Today, 45 percent of its more than 500 million users are 35 or older. What starts in a Harvard dorm room can quickly conquer the world.

Nothing would be more creative for America than to have our public education system go the way of the horse and buggy industry. The sum of human knowledge can be delivered to our childrens’ eyes and ears via internet/networks. Textbooks, desks, and chalkboards are nearly an anachronism, to be replaced by Ipad, Kindles and Smartphones. Our large, expensive, unionized and protected bureaucracy can be replaced by 1000s of on-line content developers like The Khan Academy. Testing can be replaced by on-line measurement, which can test for subject mastery while simultaneously measuring the best content providers and standards.

There will always be a place for learning, as there will be for talented conveyors of content. We just don’t need the system we have now. Frankly, we can’t afford that system – financially or culturally. Let the creative destroyer run free through our education system.

Let’s keep the baby, and toss the bathwater. The baby – our children, good teachers, and good content, will survive. The bathwater – districts, buildings, bond dealers, bureaucrats, administrators, unions – won’t survive. That’s the way it should be.

This graph shows utter waste and greed in education

No Excuses - Just admit it's a waste of money

No Excuses - Just admit it's a waste of money

Carry this in your wallet or purse. When someone says we need to “spend more on education,” just take it out and beat them about the head and neck with it.

They’ve turned it into a patronage job program. Fixing education, therefore, will require mass layoffs and totally transforming education from a “bureaucracy-based system to a child-based market.” Say it just that way, and stop trying to sugar coat the message.