Wednesday, October 29, 2008
OMAHA ED STATS POINT TO
A BETTER CHANCE FOR KIDS WITH
A PRESIDENT McCAIN
A teacher friend shared some statistics in the Community Action Plan developed by Building Bright Futures. That's a nonprofit education organization that plans to use grants to fight poverty and support inner-city schools in their efforts to keep at-risk students in school.
The statistics are pretty alarming, and they point to a key fact with next Tuesday's election coming up:
Presidential candidate John McCain is for school choice and other fresh, new ways of meeting the educational needs of low-income students bubbling up from the private sector.
His opponent, Barack Obama, would route all his suggested interventions through the federal government. And that's even though the federal government has a terrible track record on education (Head Start has wasted billions, Title I has wasted billions, the racial achievement gap has widened since the 1960s, etc.). Plus, according to the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government isn't even supposed to be INVOLVED in education.
My teacher friend said that the challenges she faces every day in her inner-city classroom would stun a horse. Now, she's a very sharp person and a very good teacher. If she feels that way, I don't see any way possible that public schools are going to be able to make anything close to improvement for most kids, given how ineffective they appear to be now.
It's obvious there needs to be diversity in our schooling approaches, the same way we have diversity in restaurant choices: big? little? locally-owned? part of a national chain? ethnic specialties? casual or formal? Why shouldn't parents be able to make those same kinds of choices when they decide where to place their child for school? It's a good question.
That makes sense to me, and it shows more and more how the socialistic Learning Community that we're moving toward -- if it remains in place and isn't knocked out by the courts -- would create a whole bunch of McSchools. They would all be on the same too-long school calendar, using the same no-good school curriculum and instructional methods, failing the same at-risk kids. And they would be giving us the same disappointing statistics like these for the $10,000+ per pupil per year that we taxpayers spend . . . because it's the SYSTEM that's the problem, not the kids.
But, anyway . . . you decide. Here are the stats on low-income students in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. This is what we have. Decide for yourself how likely we are to be able to change these stats by staying with the system we now have. Decide whether to vote for more of the same system (Obama), or real change through school choice (McCain):
-- One-third of low-income students cannot read or do math at grade level by mid-elementary school.
-- Half will drop out.
-- Of the 1,131 African-American students who entered kindergarten in a recent year, only 99 will go on to graduate from college, and far fewer than half of those are males.
-- Of 1,045 Latino students entering kindergarten, only 76 will go on to graduate from college.
-- Nearly one in three Omaha Public Schools 9th graders, 29%, are off track for graduation because they have failed core courses.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here Are Five Great School Reformers Who Deserve the Mike
The N.U. College of Education and Human Sciences leaders were not the brightest lights in the candelabra when they invited unrepentant terrorist William Ayers to be keynote speaker at the N.U. Teachers College's upcoming 100th anniversary celebration.
Now they have to come up with somebody else, quick. And it'd better be somebody good.
Considering that Nebraska has one of the widest racial achievement gaps in the nation, ideas for how to plug it might be a pretty focus for that speaker. Ayers and Obama proved totally impotent on that, even armed with $150 million of other people’s money to throw around in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which did nothing.
So who else could N.U. invite? Is there anybody out there who has proven how to help disadvantaged kids do better in school . . . without setting bombs, committing treason against the United States, or trying to kill anybody? Well, let’s see:
-- Another Chicagoan, only a REAL educational hero, Marva Collins. She started a private school for inner-city Chicago kids in 1975 with $5,000 of her own money. At the end of her first year, every single student tested at least five grade levels higher. Almost all of her students, who come from the lowest socioeconomic groups, manage to go on to college, including the Ivy League. Mrs. Collins has inner-city fourth-graders reading (and understanding!) Plato. And she speaks all over the country about how schools could cut the baloney, and start TEACHING again, to make a huge difference for kids. So she's pro-American, her educational style is very inexpensive, and she gets results. What a concept!
-- Former Chicago school superintendent Paul Vallas, who has acknowledged that the Obama-Ayers ed project in Chicago was an utter failure, is now trying to patch up the absolute mess that the lefties and Hurricane Katrina made of the New Orleans school system. He got there to find 97% African-American populations in the public schools, and 75% poor and on free or reduced-price lunch. What he has developed is so exciting and creative, it would be a slam-dunk to fix the failing schools within the Omaha Public Schools. Instead of a top-down, command-and-control structure like OPS now has, with no room for educational entrepreneurship, New Orleans is using a "Diverse Providers Strategy." There’s school choice, charter schools, magnet schools, plenty of freedom for principals of schools that are doing great or OK, and increasing focus and control over principals of schools that are still failing. There are tons of sharp young teachers from Teach For America, too – another fantastic school reform that’s in 1,000 schools across the country but not a single one in Nebraska. Why not get that going -- try what's working elsewhere? Again, what a concept!
-- Florida education commissioner Eric J. Smith is an expert in using quality curriculum to improve the academic achievement of all student groups, especially the disadvantaged. In 10 years, using back-to-the-basics curriculum, Florida has lifted the quality of its educational delivery so high that Florida Hispanic students now score higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress than the mostly-white, overall, total student populations of 15 other states. And all it took was good curriculum?!? What a concept!
-- Lance Izumi is a California researcher who found that low-income students could still be high-achieving with inexpensive, cost-effective educational practices. Examples: learning to read with phonics, and concentrating on computation mastery to get ready for algebra instead of way-out “rainforest math” activities in grade school such as most public schools use today. His report, They Have Overcome: High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools in California, documented that there is no correlation between higher student achievement, and higher spending and higher teacher salaries. It's not the money; it's the curriculum and the expectations! We don’t need mountains of more money?!? What a concept!
-- Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin are teachers who started the KIPP Academy (Knowledge is Power Program) in inner-city Houston in 1994, got funding from Doris and Don Fisher of Gap Inc., and by 2007, their inexpensive, common-sense methods have spread to 66 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia serving 16,000 students, almost all low-income and minorities. While only 20% from that sociodemographic group typically go on to college, among KIPP students, the percentage is 80%. Wow! Of course, we desperately need programs like KIPP in Nebraska, and don't have a single one. N.U. could pave the way by inviting them here to speak. What? Invite GOOD guys, who have succeeded in real life? Not washed-up, educationally bankrupt terrorists? Educators who've actually helped people, not hurt them, to come and speak and inspire? What a concept!!!
WAS IT A NET GAIN, OR NET LOSS, FOR LOW-INCOME KIDS?
I always cringe when local reporters fail to report how much a political big shot is paid to come to Omaha to speak, ostensibly for "charity." Hillary Clinton was in town for the major fund-raiser of the year for Girls Inc., followed immediately by a rally for Barack Obama, both at the Qwest, and yet she still didn't really draw all that many people and I'm afraid Girls Inc. didn't make all that much money.
Who paid Mrs. Clinton's speaking fee? How much? And did Mrs. Clinton donate any of it back to Girls Inc.? That's not private information. There's a tax deduction involved, so we should know.
I reported yesterday that only a tiny percentage of African-American kids in Nebraska can read at grade level, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Obviously, we have a huge, huge problem, and we need to focus on it, bigtime. Think what a nice infusion of cash aimed right at phonics instruction would do for inner-city kids right now.
But noooo. The big bucks went to Hillary. I bet Susie Buffett picked up the tab for Hillary, and I bet it was more than the reported $150,000 that Sarah Palin has spent on campaign clothing. Susie's father, Warren, is on board the Obamamobile and reportedly Susie B. has given money to Clinton funds in the past, as well as having had an Obama sticker on her gorgeous car for a long, long time.
So this one feels a little bit like a political payback or, if you will, polite society's equivalent of "hush money."
But who knows? Maybe Hillary spoke for free. Too bad the reporter didn't demand to know. These Girls Inc. speakers in recent years have been so politicized, heavily along leftist / U.N. lines, which is disappointing. We can make a very good case that it is the leftists and the anti-American crowd whose policies have kept low-income people in dire straits, dependent on big government and lousy schools. Yet Girls Inc. keeps giving the leftist leadership the bully pulpit. It's all very confusing.
Another reason we, the people, have a right to know how much Hillary got: whoever underwrote the speech got a tax deduction for giving the money to Girls Inc., to pay the speaking fee. That technically takes revenue out of taxpayers' pockets and gives it to Hillary Clinton. That's how the big shots launder money, and wind up with a tax deduction for what is essentially a political action. Perfectly legal, but let's say the speaking fee was $250,000: how many books and teacher work-hours could that have given inner-city kids in Omaha?
Well, hmm. According to the IRS Form 990 of Girls Inc., Susie Buffett gave that agency $699,362 last year, but you can't tell how much of it was to underwrite the main fund-raiser last year. I'd guess a lot. So I'm guessing the Hillary fee was well upwards of $100,000. But just don't know.
Now, I'm the first to applaud Susie Buffett for helping fund good after-school programs for middle school kids in inner-city Omaha. We share that conviction: see my other website, www.AfterSchoolTreats.com But I'm dismayed by her early childhood ed initiatives, since the research shows that government-provided early childhood ed is a colossal waste of money, and believe a big reason kids are struggling academically in OPS is because our Head Start and early childhood programs, such as she funds, have failed to focus on early literacy, and instead have slipped into wasteful, politicized social engineering.
Anyway . . . in the past, Girls Inc. has had Desmond Tutu and former President Clinton; Clinton's going rate for a speaking fee has been reported at $280,000, with a topper of $450,000 at a London charity event for Renu Mehta in 2006, if you remember that debacle.
The whole thing just reminds me of the unbelievable amount of money that Vin Gupta lavished on the Clintons, when there are so many starving mouths to feed, and starving brains to nourish, too, right here in our old hometown. It's just so sad.
You can see the IRS Form 990 of Girls Inc. at http://girlsincomaha.org/pdf/51_2007%20Form%20990.pdf
Anyway . . . just wondering.
CONFIRMS THAT THE OBAMA-AYERS ED PROJECT BOMBED
Paul Vallas, now the superintendent of "recovery" schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was the chief ed guy in Chicago when Bill Ayers wrote the grant to establish the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
Barack Obama ended up as board chairman, presiding over the distribution of the eventual $150 million or so that was supposed to help inner-city Chicago kids learn better.
In a Monday story in the New York Post, though, Vallas confirmed that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a complete failure that did nothing for kids. Read the story here:
Read the final report of the Challenge, too, which I posted last Friday. It concludes on p. 1 of the executive summary that the project had "little impact on student outcomes." THAT'S the best face they could put on it?!?
For an eye-opening look at how radical Ayers' education philosophies really are, spend some time on the following blog as well. Author: Steve Diamond. Don't know him, but his research looks good.
It details how the millions in the Challenge in Chicago were sidetracked away from schools, and into community activist groups such as ACORN and others. The goal was to build political capital and favors for Obama, instead of doing what was necessary to improve the students' reading, writing and arithmetic skills:
Apparently, Obama funded Ayers' Small Schools Workshop project, whose main goal was to strip elected school boards of any semblance of power in Chicago, and instead set up "site-based management councils."
These are eerily like the "soviets" that ran the former Soviet Union -- little collectives where groupthink and "consensus" overruled professional practice and intelligent decisionmaking.
In Chicago, the distressed inner-city schools were run by "councils" that had a majority of inner-city parents. They thus could outmuscle principals and teachers on every issue. Indeed, reportedly almost all white principals wound up fired in inner-city Chicago, because of these "mini-soviets" that the Ayers plan set up. Elected school boards, and longtime professional educators, were pushed out of the loop. And the schools got even WORSE.
That's what Ayers means by "community empowerment." Not a dollar of it went for instruction and educational improvement. The power shifted to the rabble, whose favor was bought with someone else's money.
It was educational communism in action. And Chicago's inner-city schools are doing even worse today than they did before.
Ohhhh! THAT'S where we get the expression "The Little RED Schoolhouse"!!!
Again, we salute University of Nebraska Regent Randy Ferlic for blowing the whistle on the invitation from N.U.'s College of Education and Human Sciences to Ayers to come and speak at the 100th anniversary celebration next month. Hope everybody else wakes up about the Obama connections to Ayers and others like him, before Election Day.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
SAYS NEBRASKA'S COVERING UP BAD ED FOR MINORITY KIDS;
DO 75% OF OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN KIDS READ WELL?
OR 9%? WHAT A CREDIBILITY GAP!!!
I was trying to watch a video of the debate yesterday between the education advisors of the two Presidential candidates (Lisa Graham Keegan for John McCain, and Linda Darling-Hammond for Barack Obama).
Somehow, I got put onto a blog by a teacher, Anthony Cody, that's attached to Education Week. I can't post it because you have to be a paid subscriber to read it. But the statistics it reveals points out the urgent need to elect McCain -- because his administration will permit school choice -- rather than Obama, whose policies would continue to trap disadvantaged children in a hopeless cycle of failure.
This blogger carried an article about Nebraska's ex-commissioner of education, Doug Christensen, and in reading the comments attached to that article, I got my consciousness raised, bigtime, about education in Nebraska:
One of the commenters after the story, "Judy," says that the Nebraska assessment system, STARS, "has been used to cover up the serious educational neglect of poor and minority students."
She pointed out that, according to the assessments prepared and given by Nebraska teachers, 75% of Nebraska's African American students were scored as reading on grade level in 4th grade. That sounds great!
But on the same kinds of tests on the same age of students, given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, for which the questions are prepared by professional test-writers, NOT local Nebraska teachers, just 9% of African American students were actually reading on grade level.
Holy schmoly! Our local teachers say 75% are doing great, but an objective, national measurement says only 9%.
For Latinos in the same age group, the poster continued, the same incredible gap showed up: 80% of Latino fourth-graders were said by Nebraska teachers to be reading A-OK, while on the NAEP, just 12% of the Latino readers were judged to be working at grade level in reading.
This is unbelievable! This is unconscionable! I've written about the gap between statewide and nationally-derived test scores before, but I guess I've never seen them laid side by side in such stark contrast.
She concluded, "The long term consequences of this neglect is reflected in the fact that in Nebraska only 39% of African American students graduate from high school on time as opposed to 83% of white students."
It's so terrible, and so terribly embarrassing, I really can't stand it. Either our teachers and curricula are so racist and biased against children of color that they simply can't learn in our school systems . . . or our Nebraska teachers are so poorly trained, mostly by the University of Nebraska system, that they can't assess their students' academic abilities with any accuracy, even in the all-important area of reading.
This kind of stuff is why I truly believe we need to vote AGAINST every single incumbent this election cycle who has had anything to do with education of significant numbers of children of color, and start over with some honest, fresh faces.
That means don't vote for any incumbent for the school boards at OPS or LPS, and probably don't vote for the state senators who have been incumbents over the past many years and have stood for this travesty.
And it's just one more good reason to vote for McCain, who is a big proponent of school choice (Obama is totally against it), to let parents of children suffering from this incredible disparity of achievement to get out of the public schools that are failing them, and into the private schools where they stand a better chance of getting educated.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
With a Twisted Defense of Bill Ayers
Point of order in the attempted defense of Bill Ayers by University of Nebraska at Omaha communications professor, my one-time colleague, Bruce Johansen. Sigh! When are these university employees EVER going to learn to research first, and THEN write? Sheesh.
In The World-Herald today, Johansen pleaded for Ayers' "free-speech rights," painting him as a brave warrior for truth and justice who just happened to have an unpopular view, and the "far right" threw its money around to shut him up.
Wrongaroni. Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist and mad bomber, and the final report of the biggest education project he ever embarked upon, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, admits that the $150 million project had NO EFFECT on student outcomes (see last weekend's posting on this). It was, in other words, another bomb.
But then Johansen threw a bomb of his own, attempting to defend Ayers by dropping the name of fired University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill as another "hate object" of the right. Yeah! Like Ayers, he was a great guy and brave liberal who just happened to have a different opinion about things than they do.
Also wrongaroni. Ward Churchill was fired for fabricating research, falsifying sources, and plagiarizing other researchers. Like Ayers, he has a total goose egg in the credibility department. Read about it here. He sued, and the case is expected to come to trial next March. Hardly anybody thinks he has a chance. But we'll see.
I remember this, because someone once told me that Churchill reported that the U.S. Army killed hundreds of thousands of Native Americans by giving them smallpox-infected blankets on purpose in the 1800s. I believed that for years, and felt terrible. When Churchill’s horrendous charge came out after 9/11, that the people killed in the Towers deserved to die because they were somehow "little Eichmanns," a big academic investigation about him ensued. And it came out that he had MADE UP the small story. His plagiarisms and fabrications went on and on. I was really mad to have been deceived. Hell hath no fury like a researcher who's been lied to.
But Johansen, who's not such a bad guy, really, apparently didn't know all this. So he laid an egg with his attempted defense of one bad egg by pointing to another bad egg. Which just makes N.U. professors look even WORSE, sad to say. And one more thing about your defense of Ayers and his "free speech rights," Mr. Johansen: there are many, many ways to exercise one's free-speech rights WITHOUT hurting anyone or anybody's property. Violence is never right. Hatred and selfish deception are always wrong. Can we agree?
Ayers is a loser, a hater and a criminal. Churchill is a loser, a hater and a cheater. In the marketplace of ideas, Mr. Johansen, I'd say you let yourself get robbed. As for those two creeps: NO SALE!
TWO MORE POINTS
So Barack Obama says a few weeks ago that he didn't really know murderous Marxist terrorist Bill Ayers, but that he was "just a guy in my neighborhood."
How inconvenient that a blogger has turned up a review of a book by Ayers, written by one Barack Obama in 1997, and published in the Chicago Tribune.
Note that the Ayers book also mentioned Obama, along with Louis Farrakhan and other jolly pals. Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Here's the World Net Daily link:
Also inconvenient, for the N.U. College of Education staff who selected and then hurriedly de-selected Ayers, now an education professor for the University of Illinois at Chicago, to be the keynote speaker at the Teachers College 100th anniversary, is that Ayers also is a big hustler for "queer studies" for little kids.
According to radio talk show host Jan Mickelson of Des Moines' WHO (www.whoradio.com), Ayers is one of the back-cover endorsers of the book The Queering of Elementary Education, a how-to book for homosexual activism in grade schools.
Subversion . . . perversion . . . it's all the same thing, eh?
Monday, October 20, 2008
OF 'RADICALIZING' EDUCATION
Ooh. Here's a good backgrounder to read if you want to know what is meant by "radicalizing" education in America.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama is in the thick of things with his associate, unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, recently ix-nayed from giving a speech at the University of Nebraska College of Education, thank goodness.
Ayers as grantwriter and Obama as board chairman "radicalized" schools in Chicago using the $150 million of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (the original $49.2 million grant that Ayers got was a 2:1 challenge match, enlarging the overall take). It was supposed to help disadvantaged kids do better in school. Instead, the money was sprinkled around to individuals and groups -- including to Ayers for "teacher training" -- who would then come under Obama's spell as a "community organizer."
This is how radical ideas get pushed on teachers and students, such as "military budgets snatch food from the mouths of poor children," and "homelessness is the fault of corporate America."
This is how we get charts in math textbooks and on standardized tests that supposedly are about how to read a bar chart, but look closer: they show a slanted take on income distribution in America, with an eye toward fomenting political pressure to force a "fairer" distribution of material and human resources -- i.e., stirring up class warfare with a direct goal of instilling communism, through school curricula and activities.
If Obama is elected, this is what schools from coast to coast will be doing.
Read this and share it, please:
THAT THE AYERS/OBAMA PROJECT
WAS AN EDUCATIONAL BOMB
Here's an Investor's Business Daily article that reiterates how bad the Bill Ayers / Barack Obama Chicago Annenberg Challenge was.
The same publication described Ayers' office door at his teachers' college in Illinois, with pictures of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, Che Guevera, and Malcolm X. Nice group of role models for children there. Sheesh.
But the utter failure of the $49.2 million Annenberg Challenge in inner-city Chicago schools is an even better reason to exclude Bill Ayers from speaking at the University of Nebraska College of Education than his past as a traitorous, murderous terrorist:
LOST OUR TRUST?
Over the weekend on this blog, I pointed out that the final report of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is online and states that it did nothing -- NOTHING! -- to help low-income Chicago kids read, write and figure, after $49.2 million in extra cash donated from the estate of the late Walter Annenberg.
You'll recall that, former Weatherman murderous terrorist and now education professor Bill Ayers, and Presidential candidate Barack Obama, were both intricately involved in that project. Ayers wrote the grant, and Obama was the chairman of the board gaining political capital aplenty as all those millions were steered to community groups, and vanished in the cesspool of gutter politics. What a boondoggle.
Someone has since pointed out that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a 2:1 match. That means donations from others -- more than likely, conservative Republicans, since they're by far the most generous demographic group in the nation -- added to the $49.2 million. So the actual waste of money was closer to $150 million, for no help to student academic outcomes. That's colossal!
It just makes the decision by the University of Nebraska's College of Education to give Ayers the bully pulpit at its upcoming 100th anniversary celebration look even worse.
Look: the final report of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was dated August 2003. That was PLENTY of time for the UNL education professors to find out that Ayers' radical schtick was and is a cynical disappointment in the classroom, and doesn't do a thing to help kids. I mean, it took me about 3 minutes to find it online.
Why didn't they KNOW that? Or maybe they don't CARE?
So they're either incompetent, or uncaring. Nice.
You put that with the dismal fact that Nebraska has one of the widest racial achievement gaps in the nation, and that N.U. trained most of our teachers who apparently don't know how to lift low-income kids up and over, with solid academics. That's not the fault of the teachers themselves: that's the fault of whoever supposedly trained them.
I have to say it: N.U. Teachers' College has lost our trust.
They like radical? Let's give them radical:
Let's abolish the N.U. College of Education entirely. Let our future teachers major in content areas, such as math, science and English. Let schools hire them on merit, and train them in pedagogy -- the art of teaching. That way, they'll be shielded from all this ineffective, radical philosophy such as Ayers spouts, and will know how to stick to their knittin' . . . and TEACH.
It would make our future teachers the best in the nation, bar none.
It would help our kids like nothin' before.
It would be . . . the bomb!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I read an email that was supposedly written by Barack Obama, copied on one of those "swift boat" blogging sites. So it could have been a fake. But I wasn't noticing the political content: I was noticing the bad writing style. It wasn't quite grammatically correct, and it sure didn't flow. It didn't jibe well at all with the smooth rhetoric Obama uses on the campaign trail. My Baloney Antennae went up.
Comes now an author who claims to have linguistic evidence that Obama had Chicago Weatherman mad bomber William Ayers, his political mentor, ghost-write the book that vaulted him into national prominence. Or if he didn't ghost-write it, he at least gave Obama a lot of help.
If that were true, it would sure show a close relationship between the two, and would expose Obama's remark that Ayers was "just a guy in my neighborhood" as the bald-faced lie it apparently is.
Sigh: Ayers is an education professor, and Obama is an attorney -- two jobs in America that should sure be standing up for the truth and avoiding deceit at all costs. Meanwhile, teachers across the country are tearing their hair out about academic dishonesty. What a contrast.
The claims is that there are striking similarities in a lot of the language and anecdotes between books that Ayers has written, and the Obama memoir. See:
This, added to Democratic VP hopeful Joe Biden's record of plagiarism . . . hmm. Stay tuned on this one. As a writer, I hate deceit. And as a citizen, I really hate it when a President gains the White House through stuff like that.
BUT THE RECORD SHOWS IT'S ANOTHER COLOSSAL MISTAKE
Here's a good one from the San Francisco Chronicle detailing how "universal preschool," which is taxpayer-supplied "free" preschool for all, and which Presidential candidate Barack Obama is pushing, actually pulls kids down:
Even though the Omaha Public Schools and its chief benefactor, Susan Buffett, may have the best of intentions with their early childhood ed plans, it is hoped that a hard look is given to these stats before we go any further down this rabbit trail. Here, as everywhere, no doubt the Buffett donations will get things started, but after that, the foundation's funding will be withdrawn and Nebraska taxpayers will be left trying to pay for this colossal waste of money.
Head Start, overall, is a waste of time, the follow-up studies have shown. Even the liberal Brookings Institution has chimed in, noting that any gains by children who attended the "free" government preschool vanish by second or third grade, compared to kids of the same demographic background who had no out-of-home preschool at all.
This report points out that the three states most famous for universal preschool -- Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- all have reported test scores that show no improvement after years of the service, or that test scores have actually gone down.
That's incredible, considering the untold billions that the nation would be investing in widespread government preschool should Obama win the White House.
Friday, October 17, 2008
WHY DID UNL TRY TO GIVE A MAD BOMBER THE PULPIT,
INSTEAD OF A REAL EDUCATOR FROM CHICAGO?
So glad the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is backing out of its boneheaded plan to host mad bomber Bill Ayers to come speak to educators. That move really exposes the utter lack of common sense in our teachers' colleges today. Sheesh Louishe.
Might be different if Ayers actually had ever done anything GOOD for education. But he hasn't. The verdict is in: his worldview is atrociously anti-American, his "reforms" are Marxist hogwash, and that $50 million Chicago Annenberg Challenge that he and Barack Obama cooked up that was supposed to help Chicago's inner-city poor was instead a colossal waste of money, according to the project's own final report.
Here it is, and note the line where it admits that "the Challenge had little impact on student outcomes" in the executive summary:
The $50 million went down a rathole of political "capital" that was being built for Obama, according to Ayers' cynical design. Instead of kids learning to read, write and figure, "social justice" groups such as ACORN, now mixed up in that horrible voter fraud mess, got the money, and the collectivist "site-based management councils" set up in the schools frittered it away.
Then many of those who got enriched at the children's expense returned the favor to Obama with political help, contributions and muscle power as he launched his formal political career. And Ayers, who learned from Saul Alinsky (and his book, Rules for Radicals), set it all up.
Yeah, here are Ayers' 3 R's: radicalism, revolution and riots.
I'll tell you a Chicago educator who SHOULD be invited to speak at UNL, and to educators across the land: Marva Collins (www.marvacollins.com). Remember? She started a private school for the poorest of the poor out of her house in inner-city Chicago, Westside Prep. She accepted literally pennies per week from the parents, whatever they could pay.
She taught them the 3 R's, with firm but kind discipline and respect thrown in for good measure. She taught them the classics of western civilization; observers I've talked to have been amazed at the young inncer-city children reciting lines from Shakespeare, Plato and Homer without any problem handling the complex vocabulary. Now, THAT'S how you build a child's self-esteem: by teaching him or her to be COMPETENT!
Years after Marva Collins got started, 60 Minutes followed up on her first 33 graduates. Demographically speaking, quite a few of them "should" have been dead, in prison, on welfare, in gangs, and so forth, based on the tough neighborhood from which they began life. But all 33 were employed and doing well! Some of her grads went on to Harvard, Yale, Stanford . . . and not a mad bomber in the bunch.
Now, THAT'S a miracle, and THAT'S what our educators need to be hearing about.
De-politicizing teachers' colleges and public schools, and giving disadvantaged children basic academics again, the way our schools USED to before Ayers and his ilk seized control of our teachers' colleges, is what we really need to do. It would be . . . THE BOMB!