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Matt Damon at the 2011 Save Our Schools March

Footage from the 2011 SOS March. Matt Damon spoke. Matt Damon did interviews. Matt Damon defended teachers against a [expletive] cameraman!

Screening: “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman”

A FREE screening of “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman”

Wednesday August 24, 2011
6:30-8:00 PM
Sol Collective 2574 21st St., Sacramento, 95818

Parents and teachers of New York City critique the film
"Waiting for Superman" and provide solutions for
Real Education Reform.

Lessons from Atlanta

By Cosmo Garvin

cosmog@newsreview.com

The Atlanta public school system is feeling the consequences of the obsession with high-stakes educational testing.

There, some 178 teachers and principals and teachers, at 44 different schools, are accused of cheating to raise standardized test scores. And no wonder.

Educators told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of enormous pressure to raise scores, and a “culture of fear” where teachers whose students got low marks could be fired. Same for teachers who blew the whistle.

Can’t happen here? Well, at least a few of the major ingredients needed for a testing scandal are already on hand here in Sacramento.

Here, the daily newspaper has already called for evaluating Sacramento teachers based on student test scores. That echoes the philosophy of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his (still) fiancée, education reform celebrity Michelle Rhee.

Rhee chose Sacramento for her StudentsFirst lobbying group, which has test-score based evaluations at the top of its agenda.

Rhee famously pushed merit pay for higher test scores during her tenure as chancellor of public schools in Washington, D.C. Today, the U.S. Department of Education is beginning an investigation of possible cheating on standardized tests in D.C. as well.

Save Our Schools March @ the Capitol

Save Our Schools March & National Call to ActionCA Rally & March
Saturday, July 30, 12:00 noon - 2:00 PM

Join other Californians on the Capitol steps to support public education. Sponsored by California supporters of the Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action and the Student CTA.

California State Capitol Building
1315 10th Street
Sacramento, CA

The Save Our Schools March is being held in response to recent destructive “reform” efforts which have undermined our public educational system, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation.

Something must be done – and it must be done now!

The Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action is calling on Americans everywhere to demand:

    * Equitable funding for all public school communities
    * An end to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation
    * Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
    * Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies


Ravitch: Reasons for hope

Ravitch: Reasons for hope
By Valerie Strauss
-- The Washington Post

This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch for her Bridging Differences blog, which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on the Education Week website. Ravitch and Meier exchange letters about what matters most in education. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is the author of the bestselling “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” an important critique of the flaws in the modern school reform movement.

Dear Deborah,

As the school year draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of the current situation in American education.

For the past year, the nation’s public schools and the educators who work in them have been subjected to an unending assault. Occasionally someone will suggest that this is just another swing of the pendulum and is nothing new. I don’t agree. In the past, we have had pendulum swings about pedagogical methods or educational philosophy, but never a full-fledged, well-funded effort to replace public schools with private management and never a full-throated effort to hold public school teachers accountable for the ills of society.

What is happening now has no precedent in the past. For the first time in our history, there is a concerted attempt, led by powerful people, to undermine the very idea of public schooling and to de-professionalize those who work in this sector. Sure, there were always fringe groups and erratic individuals who hated the public schools and who disparaged credentials and degrees as unimportant.

Public Schools in Crisis Workshop - Part 2/8

Chris Niehaus, labor organizer, shares the history of public education.

Click here to see all 8 videos from this workshop.

Public Schools in Crisis Workshop - Part 1/8

Introduction to the Workshop by Lori Jablonski, workshop facilitator.

Click here to see all 8 videos from this workshop.

Paranoid Michelle Rhee blames her "enemies" for cheating report

Paranoid Michelle Rhee blames her "enemies" for cheating report
A Nixonian response from the former D.C. schools chancellor to news of statistical anomalies in her success stories
By Alex Pareene
Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 16:10 ET


Reuters/Hyungwon Kang

Former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, champion of "education reform," is a right-wing folk hero because while working for the public she combined corporatist policy with open contempt for the public. An ostensible Democrat, she now advises Republican governors on how best to battle the nefarious teachers' unions, which, in her reckoning, are almost solely responsible for poor student performance. Her solutions to the "education crisis" mostly involve the privatization of public schools. Her qualifications, besides having all the currently fashionable opinions, are her successes as head of Washington's schools. Test scores increased during her tenure! In some places, they increased dramatically!

But USA Today reported yesterday that the test improvements were, in many cases, a bit suspicious. One school in particular, the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, showed dramatic gains in the span of two short years. The standardized tests from Noyes during those years also showed dramatic -- and statistically improbable -- rates of "wrong-to-right erasures" on their answer sheets.

Cuts to local public schools are a reality

Cuts to local public schools are a reality | CTA TV Spot

Still Waiting for Superwoman

What Michelle Rhee's fans don't get about education reform.
By Richard D. KahlenbergPosted Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at 6:58 AM ET
http://www.slate.com/id/2285650/

The national press and political class adore Michelle Rhee, who ran the D.C. public schools from 2007 until 2010. She's appeared on the cover of Time and Newsweek, chatted on television with Oprah and David Gregory, and starred in Davis Guggenheim's documentary Waiting for Superman and a 12-part series on PBS' the NewsHour. This level of attention is unheard of for a schools chancellor of any size district, much less the 108th largest in the country.

For many, Rhee is the heroine in a morality play that draws on the power of the civil rights movement. In Washington, D.C., disadvantaged black and brown children are being robbed of an education, and Rhee has been battling the forces that were keeping them down: the teachers' union. Whereas the union selfishly put adults first, Rhee puts kids first. The new organization she just founded, StudentsFirst, is hoping to raise $1 billion explicitly to counter the political influence of the unions.

In years past, Republicans like Bob Dole castigated teachers' unions as a central impediment to good schools, which made political and policy sense because the unions are strong supporters of Democratic candidates and provide the political muscle that has stymied conservative school-privatization initiatives. But today the critique of unions is advanced not just by conservatives like George Will, but liberals like Jonathan Alter and Nicholas Kristof; not just the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, but also of the Washington Post and New York Times. And in the 2008 presidential debate at Hofstra University, Barack Obama called Rhee, one of the nation's leading critics of unions, a "wonderful new superintendent."

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