Archive for the 'stink tanks' Category

AIPAC and the Iraq war

Until we are willing to confront AIPAC we will continue to have a warped foreign policy.

Three cheers for CAIR

Muslim group seeks federal inquiry into Obsession’ DVD

WASHINGTON — The Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the distribution of a DVD containing the film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

An estimated 28 million copies of the 60-minute video were delivered as paid advertisements included in newspapers, including The Blade. The ads were paid for by the Clarion Fund.

Likudnik group tries to throw US elections? 15-50 million dollar anti-Muslim campaign in swing states

Well IPS (Inter Press Service), which first established the link between the Clarion Fund and Aish Hatorah, just published this explosive investigative piece, Neo-cons, Ex-Israeli Diplomats Push Islamophobic Video,revealing that the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), working with Clarion, organized the distribution, according to EMET spokesman, Ari Morgenstern. EMET is a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank essentially dedicated to educating policymakers about Israel’s and US’s shared war on terror.

It’s all the fault of Jimmy Carter and black people

Conservatives blame the housing crisis on a 1977 law that helps-low income people get mortgages. It’s a useful story for them, but it isn’t true.

Because that strategy worked so well for George Allen.

Green dot school deform

Restructuring Inner-City Schools for the Global Marketplace

The ruling class has approached this crisis in urban education not from the perspective of how to provide a good education for every child, but through a collection of changes that have made the situation worse. Two significant changes have been the widespread promotion of school vouchers, which undercut public schools and in many cases promote religious schools; and the No Child Left Behind Act that imposed rigid test-based standards for schools.

In 2001 Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed with support of the Democrats. Behind the empty rhetoric about achieving “high standards,” “world class education,” and “closing the achievement gap,” NCLB is just standardized testing—with severe punishments instead of help if test scores don’t improve. Schools not showing progress over time are first required to pay for private outside consultants. Continued lack of progress leads to being forced to totally contract out education to private enterprises. Schools in the middle class are not targeted because this only applies to schools with very low test scores.

The impact of NCLB is to essentially force teachers to get students’ grades up at all costs, because the school’s very existence is on the line. It has led to a shift towards teaching via a script designed with the goal of preparing students to take standardized tests—widely known as “teaching to the test.” Large numbers of weaker 9th graders are held back in some schools just to improve results on the all-important 10th grade tests. It has resulted in the elimination of art, music, foreign language study, even sports in many schools, and it has reduced the time spent teaching subjects that are not included in the tests. Thousands of schools, mainly in low-income areas, are targeted for closure due to failure to meet stringent federal standards. This is fueling the growth of charter school organizations and education management organizations (EMOs) that are training “education entrepreneurs” to be the managers of the privatized public schools that are coming.

NCLB was passed in a context of a decades-long process of undermining the legitimacy of public schools, the development and funding of alternative schools, and the creation of models for a new kind of privatized public school. Reagan’s education program was “bring God back into the classroom” and government-funded school voucher programs. School vouchers give government funds to parents who want to put their children in private, and in particular religious, schools—popular among the growing Christian fundamentalist forces at the time.

Vouchers have been controversial because they challenge the principle of the separation of church and state. After a favorable state supreme court ruling in 1998, Milwaukee’s voucher experiment was expanded from about 1,500 students attending less than two dozen secular schools, to more than 5,000 students spread among nearly 100 mostly parochial (religious) schools. Today roughly 20,000 Milwaukee students attend 122 voucher schools. In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court settled the church/state question when it okayed Cleveland’s voucher program by defining public funding of religious schools as an expression of “choice.” There are also voucher programs in Florida, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. Vouchers are championed by McCain in his education program: “Public education should be defined as one in which our public support for a child’s education follows that child into the school the parent chooses.”

Since the early 1990s one major trend in “reforming” education has been the growth of for-profit and non-profit charter organizations around the country. In 2004 there were 3,000 charter schools serving three quarters of a million students in 37 states and D.C. New York City just raised the number of charter schools by 18 to a total of 78, serving 24,000 students. One in every 18 public schools in NYC is now a charter school.

There are for-profit public charters like the well-known “Edison Schools” founded by John Chubb, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institute. There is also a growing number of public military charter schools, which target poor, minority students, especially Black youth. They appeal to parents and students with the promise of a disciplined school environment along with training and preparation for careers in the military. And they are viewed by the Department of Defense, which helps fund them, as a pipeline for new recruits to the all-volunteer army.

It is the non-profit public charter school operations that are now garnering the most widespread support from the public, and the ruling class, including forces grouped around Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama. A central selling point of charter operations is that they replace the education “bureaucracy” with a more streamlined, efficient management model based on business principles. Individual accountability is emphasized, with clear goals and results measured on a regular basis. That means school managers can be fired for poor performance by their students. And teachers can be as well, since charters do away with tenure. At a time when the government has been steadily taking funds away from education, their emphasis on accountability and cutting through red tape has the added appeal of promising that major transformations can be brought about without huge infusions of public funds.

The executive director of Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Bay Area Schools said recently: “Our focus on results is appealing to business leaders. So is our decentralized model that emphasizes autonomy, flexibility and innovation…” In return, the business community has been the biggest backers of charter schools: “The business community, both business leaders through their personal philanthropy and also corporate giving programs, have undoubtedly been a critical component of our fundraising success.”

Cash for Trash

David Brooks just loves the idea of unelected dictators of that type and pines back to the olden times.

KIPP, charter school or child abuse?

KIPP kids back in class

LYNN – It is the first day of school, but the newest members of the KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School aren’t seated at their desks. In fact, the 96 fifth graders at the top of the school’s lengthy waiting list don’t even have desks yet – because they haven’t earned them.

This is life at the city’s charter school, where discipline, character development and motivation take a front seat in the learning process. It is a place where there is a strong possibility that fifth graders will struggle, cry, and even ponder quitting in their first year, before finally finding direction.

KIPP seems to be about learned helplessness.

NYC Public School Parent exposes KIPP hype

At Some KIPP Schools, KIPPster-ettes Outnumber KIPPsters

many KIPP schools have non-trivial gender imbalances and lose boys at a faster rate than they lose girls. Certainly I’m not the first to point this out, as the San Francisco Schools blog reported a year ago that African-American boys leave Bay Area KIPP schools at alarming rates , a finding that Ed Week followed up on in this article on KIPP attrition.

Voter suppression and election stealing 101

Dykema Gosset et al