Tag Archives: Schooling

Common Core Standards: To Know Them is not to Love Them

Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico reports on the opinion poll conducted by the rightwing journal Education Next:

“COMMON CORE WAR MELLOWING?: Support for the Common Core standards is dropping, but it’s not in a freefall. In fact, it might even be stabilizing. Education Next’s new annual survey [http://bit.ly/1KsoOF2 ] released with the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard Kennedy School shows overall support slipped this year, falling four percentage points to 49 percent. A year earlier, however, support fell 12 points in one year. The survey has two more key takeaways on Common Core: Democrats over Republicans favor the standards (by a 57 percent to 37 percent margin), and the standards are becoming less popular with teachers. (Seventy-six percent of teachers in 2013 said they support the standards compared to 40 percent this year).”

To read the Education Next report, go here.

The big story here is the dramatic decline in…

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School days, school days . . .

My friend Jack Spatafora talks up the end of summer in an e-blast:

Remember when schools opened the day after Labor Day…? No longer. Another tradition iced. Instead, these once-languid days of August are now witnessing a clutter of school and college openings. And with them, the unofficial start of a new year.
You can feel it in the air as parents and children change their rhythms…faculties gear up….local retailers stock up
…and the city’s mood segues from relaxing to striving. If you look really close, Chicagoland is becoming a giant mural you can actually study in live-action.
Starting with the pre-school kids out there eyeing their siblings bus off to the grand mystery known as the classroom…then the sibs themselves, conflicted between reluctance and anticipation…along with those traffic guards grand-parenting their wards along the way….and don’t forget the faculties waiting in a local school or somewhere in a distant campus.
This is a living mural of a living population gearing up for a whoosh of events hurtling us toward that distant trio of Fall/Winter holidays now almost in sight. It’s something like waking up in a time warp, for before you and those youngsters quite realized, it has made its imperative entrance.
True, there is an entire aura of politics, terrorists, and globalists hovering over everything else. However for now, for August, for Chicago, this is the world that counts most. Kids — yours and mine — filling the mural with yet another new year’s burst of dreams and dreads.
Watching them, we have to hope [and help] those dreams beat out those dreads….
. . . Happy golden-rule days . . .

Who Is Morally Obliged to Pay to Level the Playing Field?

Asked to pony up to make things fair? Look out.

A sure sign that someone is making an argument for a policy that will unjustly pick the pockets of consumers in order to artificially and unjustly inflate the revenues of some producers is that person’s use of the term “level playing field.” This phrase is almost always a smiley-face mask for a plea for special privileges for certain producers. (I say “almost always,” although I honestly cannot recall a single instance of the phrase “level playing field” being used in any way other than the way I describe here. I could easily and truthfully drop the “almost.”)

My best example of that is, while quizzing possible school board candidates some years ago, hearing one man, a successful marketing entrepreneur with good instincts about how to deal with people, say uneven results ipso facto called for “leveling the playing field.” It had been leveled, but not enough, not until we got leveled or at least better results!

A Leo man is promoted to everlasting life

He is Robert L. Hylard, who cashed in at 86 and remained loyal to his school to the end.









Pat Hickey tells us about him.

He was

the Kid from VIZ [Visitation parish, 55th Street] who played in Leo’s Marching Band for four years, wrote for and helped edited the school news paper the Oriole, ‘trod the boards’ in every Leo Dramatic production from junior year on, and played lightweight football on the cinders and broken beer bottle glass of Shewbridge Field – the iconic home to Leo High School football, now Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary.

He is remembered with affection.

The young African American, Mexican and Canaryville Irish kids who now attend Mr. Hylard’s Alma Mater knew him well. Bob Hylard made all of the football home games, most of the away and every Leo High School event that showcased the talents and skills of our young men a huge mark on his calendar.

Leo remains a boys’ school, vigorously supported and operated by its mostly (S. Side) Irishers, a haven of excellence in a rough neighborhood.

More about Leo here.

Ride the South Side with Leo HS pride and Clyde: a Hickey report

Leo HS Morning 2/11/2014 -I Ride With Pride and Clyde By My Side!


I am blessed with a great life and the opportunity to work for Leo High School. I get to Leo at about 4:45 most days and start the boilers, do some paper work and get the one of the vans ready to pick up between seven and nine guys participating in early morning activities.

My crew is usually Cyde, Chris, TJ, Mick, Joe, Latrell, Caleb, Gaylon, and Sydney. I begin in Englewood at 74th & Normal, go to Grand Crossing at 66th & King Drive, take that beautiful, historic and inspiring Boulevard north to 35th and Dunkin Donuts!

For more more more . . . Take it away, Hickey . . .

Union-run charter school failing

So why are those people smiling?

Gotham Schools reports:

seven years into its existence, the nation’s first union-run school is one of the lowest-performing schools in the city. Fewer than a third of students are reading on grade level, and the math proficiency rate among eighth-graders is less than half the city average….

The United Federation of Teachers, which runs the school under a charter, appears pleased, though.

“I go to that school and I’m very, very happy with what we see,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said last week. “The parents are great, the teachers are doing a good job. We are very happy.”

It’s defining success down.

A little racial segregation, please

Sean Connery at the 2008 Edinburgh Internation...

"Finding Forrester" was the movie

Black and white together not working out, says this Lancaster PA principal.

Bill Jimenez said the school noticed that black students were not performing as well as other students, and that research had shown that same-race classes with strong same-race role models led to better academic results.

Mr Jimenez admitted that no other students were divided by race at the school, but he added that academic data dictated the school take a different approach with its black students.

This is old research too. Shelby Steele‘s identical-twin brother Claude at U. of Mich. had results years ago showing that being with whites in class, that is, competing with them, threw black students off their feed. It’s here, I think, in a 1992 Atlantic article.

Or so I understood it at the time. Claude Steele chalks it up to stereotypes that are internalized by black students. A fair translation of that is their fear of competing because they don’t think they can succeed. Better that they be by themselves, at least some of the time, so they can relax and gain confidence.

Same argument goes for same-sex schools, though it’s hotly debated, of course.

The Sean Connery movie about the reclusive white writer who goads a young black kid to write well applies here. The Connery character pushed the kid, stood for no nonsense, and in the end stood up for him vs. white teachers. Standard white teachers, I may add, but the point is still a good one. Everyone has his demons, why not black kids?

The Lancaster principal is calling for a mere six minutes a day, 20 minutes twice a month, by the way. It’s not a full-scale preferential-treatment program in which one thing after another is tried, frantically by school administrators, teachers etc.

Fair is fair for all that

Discussing “No Child” etc., Richard Hoste:

What are fair standards? I don’t know. But the hard truth is that there is a significant part of the population unable to learn any skills that will help them do anything beyond manual labor.

Hard indeed, but that doesn’t change it.

The bomb-thrower and the candidate

Obama needed Bill Ayers’s ok to get on the board of Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), which he chaired and whose

agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. [Italics added]

Ayers believed in this sort of thing.  He wrote

that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. . . . .  “I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” [he] said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s, “Sixties Radicals,” at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC was made to order for him.  It

translated Mr. Ayers’s radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with “external partners,” which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn). [Italics added]

More more more in WSJ, where Stanley Kurtz delivers on his plowing through the UIC library archives. 

Catalyst for same-old, same-old

Linda Lenz’s Catalyst Chicago, mentioned below, looks like a Democrat front organization.  Consider this from a January ‘08 posting (a “web extra” about “electing an education president”), which embodies its implied hostility to major conservative issues.

Like McCain and Romney, Huckabee is a big supporter of school choice, charter schools and homeschooling. Also like his chief competitors, Huckabee’s Web site is short of details about how much his proposal would cost or how he would pay for them after abolishing personal, corporate, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare and self-employment taxes and replacing them with a national sales tax—a key campaign promise.

The publication apparently buys into the major Obama misconception about tax cuts, that they take from tax revenues.  This apart from the basically statist, teacher-union (hence Dem party) philosophy here contained.

One of this item’s readers took exception:

You didn’t mention vouchers. John McCain is a big voucher supporter. Also, why no mention of candidates’ positions on NCLB and related testing issues?

He is Mike Klonsky, who is named as a major Chicago Annenberg Challenge beneficiary, he and William Ayers picking up a bundle — $175,000 –– for “small school workshops.” 

This is from a blog called Global Labor and Politics by Steve Diamond, a law professor and political scientist at Santa Clara U., in California.  He cites  Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, by Max Elbaum, whom Diamond describes as “a first hand participant whose sympathy for the maoism of the period does not get in the way of an excellent account of these idiot savants of the left.”

One of the idiot savants was Klonsky, writes Diamond,

one of the most destructive hardline maoists in the SDS in the late 60’s who emerged from SDS to form a pro-Chinese sect called the October League that later became the Beijing-recognized Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). 

As chairman of the party, Klonsky travelled to Beijing itself in 1977 and, literally, toasted the Chinese stalinist leadership who, in turn, “hailed the formation of the CP(ML) as ‘reflecting the aspirations of the proletariat and working people,’ effectively recognizing the group as the all-but-official US Maoist party.” (Elbaum, Revolution in the Air, 228).

Klonsky was a “red-diaper baby,” son of a Communist Party USA founder, writes Elbaum (p. 102).  He’s a type, in other words, one who ate and drank Marxism but in later years, being no dummy, saw that there was no future in communism, so turned to radicalism — as in public school systems, the bigger the better.  In Chicago, if not sooner, he found Ayers, who found Obama, who at best has been a useful idiot.

Obama also knows there no future in explicit radicalism, but instead games the system.  At this time he does all he can to douse the connection with Ayers.  It will be bad for us all if he gets away with it.

Later, from Dick Cutler:

Most of these rants on “Education” can be traced back to the Teachers’ Union(s).  All of them reflect a consistent Union view — urging the input of more money, showing total hostility to Private Schools, criticizing any plan for standards (especially for teacher competence) and being pro-tax and pro-government programming straight down the line.  Any opportunity to criticize many of their points of view should be qickly seized.

I will be sifting through Catalyst to verify to what extent what Dick says is the case.

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