Monday, October 31, 2011

600 charter schools x 200 graduates/year = 120,000 Turkish sympathizers produced every year

Tim Stellar, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, has written extensively about the Sonoran Science Academy school network and its ties to the Gulen movement. In May 2010, he posted a story about a column by a well-known Turkish journalist and political figure, Nazli Ilicak, which appeared in a popular Turkish daily newspaper on September 2, 2009.
In her piece, Ilicak related a conversation she recently had with two prominent Turkish men about the Gulen movement’s U.S. charter schools.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Charles Blow

During this exciting emergent era becoming known as #Occupy, Charles M. Blow is producing some of the most relevant mainstream media work for the New York Times.  The image below accompanied his piece, "America's Exploding Pipe Dream", published on October 28, 2011

Funny how the ed deformers will never address any of this. Only dummies, people wearing blinders, or henchmen for privatization would deny that these dismal rankings are connected to America's struggling international standing and its achievement gap.

Click on the image for increased clarity.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Maybe the DFER-type Democrats should live abroad

Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic Party organization for Americans who are living outside the United States, has issued this very sane education platform proposal to the Democratic National Committee, in great conceptual contrast to what so many Democrats are pushing here. Democrats Abroad is recognized as a "state" Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention. 


Proposed by Chair Democrats Abroad France, Constance Borde assisted by the Democrats Abroad France Education Policy Group Chair: Dr. Leslie J. Limage

(Originally submitted to DA Resolutions Committee on September 14, 2011, Approved for transmission to the DA Platform Committee by the DCPA on October 17, 2011, Washington, D.C.)

WHEREAS education is a human right and public responsibility to provide all children and young people with the opportunity to realize their full potential (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26).

WHEREAS ongoing policies inherited from the previous U.S. Administration and carried forward by current leadership are undermining the quality of education as well as our longstanding commitment to equal opportunity, the alleviation of poverty, civil rights and respect for linguistic, social and cultural diversity in a misplaced reliance on business practices and privatization of public education.

WHEREAS what we need to improve education is a strong, highly respected education profession; a rich curriculum in the arts and sciences, available in every school for every child; assessments that gauge what students know and can do, and a government that is prepared to change the economic and social conditions that interfere with children’s readiness to learn.

WHEREAS we cannot improve education by quick fixes, by handing over our public schools to entrepreneurs, by driving out experienced professionals replacing them with enthusiastic amateurs, or by closing them and firing teachers and entire staff. No country in the world follows such strategies.

WHEREAS disadvantage in our country is exacerbated by unsafe and crumbling schools. Over the past three years, investments in school improvements have benefited the wealthier districts disproportionately. The President’s new job’s creation legislation announced in his September 9, 2011 speech to Congress on an “American Jobs Act” is intended to remedy this situation and we need to ensure that it does in fact do so.

BE IT RESOLVED that Democrats Abroad adopt the following education policy foundations for our platform in 2012 many of which already figured in our 2008 Platform and that these principles figure in our 2012 Party Platform:

The Purpose of education: is to enable all children and young people to reach their full potential as individuals and become socially responsible citizens of our country and the world.

Equality of opportunity and non-discrimination are the foundations of our democratic society and must be reflected in all aspects of educational governance, management, finance, school facilities, teaching and support professions.

Formative Evaluation and Assessment should encourage learning. The evaluation of students should be diagnostic. The results of student evaluation should not be used to evaluate teachers and schools as institutions. The evaluation of schools should celebrate the strengths of community ownership of and improvement by school communities.

The teaching and school leadership professions. Teachers and their organizations should be viewed by governments as equal partners, independent but committed to the common endeavor of achieving successful education systems. School leadership, governance and management also require professional knowledge and the specificity of public service and education. Outsourcing any aspect of educational leadership de-professionalizes key foundations of our education systems and decision-making based on knowledge, experience, trust and democratic principles. Education professionals’ collective bargaining rights acquired over many years should be respected rather than threatened.

Educational facilities: quality, safe and environmentally friendly schools. Public schools are an important element of our nation’s infrastructure. Repairing strengthening, upgrading and constructing schools are essential. A nationwide effort needs to be initiated to anticipate and improve the adaptability of the nations’  existing and yet to be built school infrastructure, including regular rehabilitation and upgrades.

Promoting Equality through Inclusive Education. It is the responsibility of public authorities to ensure that all citizens have access to high quality education services appropriate to their needs. All barriers to education must be removed in order to make school accessible for all persons. Any school receiving public funding should not be permitted to select its students based on their likelihood of meeting testing standards, much less because of race, ethnic origin, sex, or religion.

Early Childhood Care and Education: Free, High Quality Public Preschool Programs

Early childhood care and education is intended to meet the needs of the whole child. The Federal government should provide assistance to states for the creation of free, universal, voluntary pre-kindergarten programs. They should encourage linkage of universal preschool with the resources, infrastructure and talent of the public school system. The Federal government should also ensure that states require the licensing and certification of all preschool instructors.

Primary and Secondary Education. Quality primary and secondary education are the basis on which all further learning takes place and young adults are equipped with the critical thinking skills and knowledge to make further educational and professional choice throughout their lives. These levels of education are public responsibility. The Federal government’s first responsibility is to set the bar higher than it has ever been in terms of equality of access and service, rather than lowering it to enable “market” forces to play.

Higher Education: Access, Academic Freedom and Quality. Action must be taken to improve equal access to all forms of tertiary education and reduce the cost of higher education. A key characteristic of successful individuals and societies is the quality of higher education. It is not a matter of “competition” worldwide or for scarce “jobs” within our country. It is an absolutely necessary building block for realizing human potential and constructing democratic, open and globally responsible world citizens.

Protection of education as a public good in a period of economic austerity. All concerned citizens should work to re-take and then re-build quality public education. The trends towards privatization and outsourcing of our children’s future are undermining democratic institutions at home and internationally. We need informed citizenry to begin to re-establish democratic values and institutions that respect them.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why more and more people will #OccupyWallStreet

These are recent Tweets from Bernie Sanders @!/senatorsanders @SenatorSanders. Senator Bernie Sanders is the longest serving independent in congressional history. Tweets are from the senator's staff.

October 2, 2011
  • In 2009 Exxon Mobile made $19 billion in profits, paid no federal income taxes and took a $156 million rebate from the IRS.
  • Ford's federal income tax rate was just 2.3 percent in 2009 even though it made $3 billion in profits.
  • GE took a $1.1 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, even though it made over $10 billion in profits in 2009.
  • The US has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country in the industrialized world.

October 1, 2011
  • Bernie's audit of the Fed showed that $16 trillion was loaned to American & foreign banks & businesses.
  • In their heydays, 40% of total profits in America went to the financial sector. Today, the top 6 financial institutions in the US have assets equal to more than 60% of our GDP.
  • From '98 to '08 the financial sector spent over $5 billion in campaign contributions & lobbying to deregulate
  • After adjusting for inflation, middle class families earned more income in 1998 than they do today.

September 30, 2011
  • Hedge fund managers who made a billion dollars last year now pay a lower effective tax rate than many teachers.
  • Between 1980 and 2005, 80% of all new income created in this country went to the top 1%.
  • The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent has nearly tripled since the 1970s.
  • During the Bush years, the wealthiest 400 Americans saw their wealth increase by some $400 billion and are now worth over $1.3 trillion.

September 29, 2011
  • Today, the richest 400 American families own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans.
  • 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions are bigger today than before the financial crisis began.
  • Today, 1 in 4 credit card holders are paying interest rates of more than 20%. That is usury.
  • This year alone the financial sector spent over $170 million on lobbying & campaign contributions to gut Dodd-Frank.
  • From 1998 to 2008 the financial sector spent more than $5 billion on campaign contributions & lobbying.
  • Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year, even though it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

September 28, 2011
  • Since 2000, nearly 12 million more Americans have slipped into poverty.
  • The official unemployment rate has been 8.6% or higher for 30 consecutive months, the longest on record.
  • Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, even though it made $4.4 billion in profits.
  • Corporate tax revenue in 2010 was 27% smaller than 2000, even though corporate profits are up 60% over the last decade.
  • A record-breaking 50 million Americans have no health insurance & 45,000 die every year because they don't have access to health care.

You get the idea. Make no mistake, the American public is absolutely fed up.

Listen to Senator Sanders amazing speech of December 2010: