Archive for the 'VRWC' Category



Don’t shop at Walmart

WHY IS WAL-MART MONEY TELLING DC HOW TO RUN ITS SCHOOLS?

As we have pointed out, if an individual used the promise of money to force public officials to take certain actions it would be a serious criminal offense. No one has explained to us why this is not also true when foundations do it. What is happening in DC is that the legal role of the mayor, school superintendent and city council is being supplanted and undermined by individuals and groups that have no legal standing in the government.

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The news media’s war on teachers

FAIR: First, Bash the Teachers
Media find a scapegoat for educational failure
No evidence required

What goes mostly if not entirely unexplained amid these anti-teacher assaults is any coherent explanation of what it is that teachers unions have done or failed to do to promote excellence in schools. A survey by Robert M. Carini of Indiana University (School Reform Proposals: The Research Evidence, 2002) of the available research comparing achievement in unionized versus non-unionized schools found that “teacher unionism favorably influences achievement for most students.” Such findings are not the final word, of course. But given corporate media’s relentless message that unions are the enemy of “reform,” it is worth noting that this is based largely on the media’s elevation to scientific truths of a set of mostly unproven strategies for improving schools—from charters to “merit pay”—and their suggestion that the implementation of said truths is made impossible by teachers unions.

Take “merit pay,” which would mostly use test score data to identify effective teachers and pay them more for their success—a “no-brainer,” according to Newsweek (3/15/10). As Diane Ravitch recounts in her recent book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, much research suggests that teachers judged excellent or effective one year often fall out of the category the next, and vice versa. Either the teachers themselves are practicing wildly different methods from year to year, or the attempts to link test scores to teacher performance are not actually a “no-brainer” at all, no matter what the media might think.

And as journalist Barbara Miner pointed out in Rethinking Schools (Fall/09), the idea that unions are opposed to differential pay as a matter of principle is simply wrong: “Although the media promotes the view that teacher unions are inflexibly opposed to modifying the traditional pay structure, both the AFT and NEA [unions] have been involved in local initiatives that differentiate teacher pay.” Miner noted that surveys of teachers find some openness to different pay structures, but that merit-pay schemes in some places saw most of the benefits flowing to teachers in upper-income schools.

The superiority of charter schools, touted by many of the media’s most prominent education “reformers” as an obvious and necessary element of their schools agenda, is likewise more based in faith than in empirical research. One of the most exhaustive studies of charter performance, from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, found 37 percent of charter schools “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.” About half produced similar outcomes to public schools, with just 17 percent outperforming public schools (Extra!, 8/09).

Charters should be controversial for other reasons as well. A report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project (2/4/10) found that they are more racially segregated than traditional public schools. Another long-standing criticism of charters is that they tend to educate lower numbers of English language learners. The UCLA study noted that gaps in data collection make it difficult to offer any definitive national assessments—which is a problem in itself. The data available for California, though, showed the number of English learners attending charter schools was minuscule.

General Richard Secord

The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission, and the 1980 Presidential Election

8 helicopters, 6 C-130 transport planes, and 93 Delta force commandoes secretly invaded Iran. They were to rendezvous at a place in Iran they called Desert One, move out to another point called Desert Two, and then go on to Tehran to rescue the hostages. But Delta force never made it to Desert Two or Tehran. The mission was aborted after three of the eight helicopters failed, on the way to Desert One. The operation was a miserable failure, resulting in an accident that caused the loss of 8 American lives. Later investigation revealed a surprising level of negligence. [4] [7] [13]

Just before the rescue mission took place, several other countries had finally agreed to level economic sanctions on Iran. Some of them agreed to the sanctions because they thought that if they did, the U.S. would not take any military action. They were quite irate when they heard about the rescue mission after the fact.

At least three central figures in the Iran-Contra Scandal were involved with the Iranian hostage rescue mission: Secord, Hakim, an North.

General Richard Secord helped to organize the abortive rescue mission. After the first mission failed, he was the head of the planning group that eventually decided against another rescue attempt.

Phillip Anschutz

Finally there’s Phillip Anschutz, the owner of the Examiner, which is nothing but filthy little right-wing tabloid, disguised as a newspaper.  But Anshutz also bankrolled the hot propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. Just in case you thought this film was made only by a group of well-intentioned, but misguided liberals.

Anschutz is a far right-wing, evangelical billionaire who inherited his fortune from his father’s oil business and who has become a media mogul, publisher of the Weekly Standard, the S.F. Examiner,  and owner of  L.A.’s Staples Center. He was also the force behind California’s anti-gay initiative

Colin Powell and our national day of shame

Colin Powell

Speech to the UN part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6

part 7

part 8

Chartered astroturf

Goodness, gracious me, it seems that the Chartered School movement did not spring up from the grassroots. Via Susie, Mad Floridian:

Here is how a lot of it has been accomplished. They call them grassroots parent groups, but in reality they are formed and funded by charter school corporations.

Huh double huh?

Steven D

In a way I pity Arnold Schwarzenegger. By most standards he is a fairly moderate Republican.

There never was anything moderate about Schwarzenegger. He has a long documented history of violent assaults against women. He participated in a racially motivated gang rape and bragged about it to Oui magazine. He has abused drugs for all of his adult life. Just go to YouTube and search on Schwarzenegger and marijuana and you will find plenty of material.

His film career, such as it was, was a long series of openly fascist plot lines of might makes right. Schwarzenegger is and has always been a professional creep. He was the candidate of disaster capitalism to use the California energy and fiscal crisis to give even more of the state’s money to those who caused the crisis.

I am surprised that Steven D could have written such a thing as he is usually clueful.


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