Archive for May, 2014

Rep. Charles Van Zant: Common Core Will Turn All Our Children Gay

May 21, 2014

Rep. Charles Van Zant and pal pointing out the Common Core/ Gay Agenda

Rep. Charles Van Zant and pal pointing out the Common Core/ Gay Agenda


The following article is not from The Onion.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/05/19/3439163/state-rep-common-core-gay/

One question: Is this man insane or was he hired by proponents of the Common Core to make opponents of the Common Core look insane ?

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Need a Job ? E4E is Looking For An Excellent Shill

May 19, 2014
Brought to you by Bill Gates, Whitney Tilson, DFER ,   and other super rich lovers of poor American children.

Brought to you by Bill Gates, Whitney Tilson, DFER , and other super rich lovers of poor American children.

Do you have the ability to lie through your teeth without an inkling of remorse ?

Are you immoral enough to labor to undo and undermine the hard earned rights of teachers under the guise of somehow helping them to become better at a job you know nothing about?

Are you shameless enough to parrot the absurd fantasy that E4E was “founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers “ who then just happened to receive instantaneous and total access to the highest echelons of the world of education, endlessly fawning press and, within a year or two, a multi million dollar budget and offices in several major American cities all because their message is so compelling to teachers?

Do you disrespect yourself and the English language enough to claim that E4E, bankrolled at the moment of conception, indeed, before, by monopolizing monster Bill Gates and Democrats for Education Reform founder Whitney Tilson, exists to highlight “progressive teacher voices? ”

Are you mercenary enough to manipulate the fears and naiveté of young teachers without ever revealing who and what you are really working for?

Are you willing to sell your very soul deforming language and reality to assist in the destruction of one of the most vital institutions of the remains of American democracy?

If the answer to all of these questions is affirmative, then you may well have a luminous future as Director of Communications of Educators 4 Excellence — at least until Bill and Whitney and their pals pull the plug on this elaborate con job at which point it will vanish instantly into thin air.

But for now “ Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices.” So, better strike while the money is still rolling in and the ruse is still being bankrolled.

Make sure you watch the video, “This Is Who We Are,” found at the end of the link which features cameos from a couple of ed reform superstars including the epitome of shilldom, former NYC Chancellor of Education Dennis Walcott.

It’s a hoot!

http://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/13675577?trk=eml-jymbii-organic-job-viewjob-link&refId=70ec9c8d-f2a0-4f55-86b1-85d656dfffca

Director of Communications
Educators 4 Excellence – Los Angeles, Illinois, Minneapolis, New York City, or Connecticut with a strong preference for NYC

Job description
For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table: the voice of classroom teachers. Founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers, Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers.
E4E envisions a high-quality, prestigious teaching profession that is responsible for driving positive student outcomes. E4E provides teachers opportunities to:
Learn about the latest education policy news and research;
Network with like-minded colleagues and policymakers through panel discussions, speaker series, and networking events; and
Take Action by advocating for teacher-created policy recommendations through E4E’s teacher leadership training programs.
In just a few years, E4E has quickly grown into a national network of over 12,000 progressive teachers, united by the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs. The work of E4E and E4E teachers has resulted in modifications to legislation on issues such as layoffs and teacher evaluation, the publication of nationally significant teacher-created policy papers, and national and local media attention highlighting progressive teacher voices.
With chapters currently operating in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Minnesota, Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices. Grounded in the experience of educators, E4E’s culture revolves around an innovative, entrepreneurial, roll-up-your-sleeves spirit backed by a shared commitment to continuous improvement.
For more information, please visit Educators4Excellence.org.
ABOUT THE POSITION:
This is an exciting opportunity for a mission-driven professional to shape and execute the communication strategy for a high- growth and ever-changing organization that places student achievement first and seeks to elevate the teaching profession.
Reporting to one of the Co-Founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers and serving as an E4E National Team member, the Director of Communications will manage the overall organizational communications strategy and design internal communications systems for Educators 4 Excellence. This includes developing an organization-wide branding, messaging, and media strategy to help E4E be seen as a leading conduit of education policy information and ideas; seeking channels so members’ voices can be heard; and training and coaching chapter staff on messaging. The Director will be the organization’s primary brand ambassador, and will build relationships with the media as part of E4E’s overall efforts to advance relationships with current and prospective members and drive broader awareness of the organization. In collaboration with other national team members and external partners, he/she will also oversee the integration and day-to-day maintenance of E4E’s communications.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Public Relations and Media Relationship-Building
Manage E4E’s relationship with its public relations firm, and work in collaboration to seek and prioritize media opportunities
Enhance E4E’s image through publicity, messaging and publications
Cultivate and manage relationships with local and national media outlets to ensure steady and consistent coverage of the organization, with a priority on helping members share their voices publicly
Communications Strategy Development and Execution
In partnership with senior leaders , develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance E4E’s brand positioning, broaden awareness of its programs and priorities, and increase the organization’s visibility to current and prospective members along with key stakeholders
Create and ensure cohesion of branded print, Web, and multimedia materials for national and chapter functions
Build, implement and improve internal communications systems and processes
Manage the development and distribution of all print and electronic collateral, including E4E’s weekly membership e-mail and key internal and external communications campaigns
Team and Member Development
Train and coach chapter executive directors and other team members for local media interactions and grassroots communications
Develop and implement a training curriculum to prepare chapter staff and members for media interactions
Work with chapter teams and members to ensure that new and consistent information is posted on E4E’s website and social media platforms – especially teacher-generated content
Eventually build an internal communications team of results-oriented, entrepreneurial, creative thinkers and assume responsibility for their professional growth and development
Desired Skills and Experience
CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS:
The ideal candidate for this position will have:
Bachelor’s degree
Minimum five years of work experience
Knowledge of and/or experience in education, education policy, community/campaign organizing, communications, and/or advocacy
Experience in planning, writing, editing, and producing high stakes collateral (e.g., newsletters, press releases, annual reports, and marketing)
Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing a complex initiative preferably in a non-profit setting
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Ability to build systems, processes and structures to achieve measurable goals
Proven success in project and vendor management, leveraging time and resources as efficiently and effectively as possible
Appetite for proactively building relationships with reporters and editors, and in successfully positioning subject matter with the media to achieve high-impact placements
Training, facilitation, and/or coaching experience
Experience working with and influencing a wide variety of stakeholders
A track record as an innovative thinker, problem-solver, and communicator, especially in regards to utilizing new media technologies
Moreover, all E4E candidates will have a/an:
Empathy for, understanding of, and respect for the teaching profession; previous classroom teaching experience required
Deep commitment to the values of E4E and passion for students, improving education, and closing the achievement gap
Understanding of education policy and the education reform movement, both locally and nationally
Demonstrated record as both a team player and a self-starter, including exceptional organization and time management skills; a demonstrated ability to design a work plan, prioritize and meet goals; grace under pressure and a good sense of humor; and an innovative spirit
Ability to work non-traditional hours, including weekday evenings and some weekends
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
Salary for this position is commensurate with experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included.
Educators 4 Excellence is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.
About this company
Follow company
For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table: the voice of classroom teachers. Founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers, Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers.
E4E envisions a high-quality, prestigious teaching profession that is responsible for driving positive student outcomes. E4E provides teachers opportunities to:
Learn about the latest education policy news and research;
Network with like-minded colleagues and policymakers through panel discussions, speaker series, and networking events; and
Take Action by advocating for teacher-created policy recommendations through E4E’s teacher leadership training programs.
In just a few years, E4E has quickly grown into a national network of over 12,000 progressive teachers, united by the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs. The work of E4E and E4E teachers has resulted in modifications to legislation on issues such as layoffs and teacher evaluation, the publication of nationally significant teacher-created policy papers, and national and local media attention highlighting progressive teacher voices.
With chapters currently operating in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Minnesota, Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices. Grounded in the experience of educators, E4E’s culture revolves around an innovative, entrepreneurial, roll-up-your-sleeves spirit backed by a shared commitment to continuous improvement.
For more information, please visit Educators4Excellence.org.

A Teacher’s Thoughts Inspired by the “Philosophers Camp on Education Reform”

May 4, 2014

CampPhilos

As I write, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joe Williams, executive director of Education Reform Now, Senator Mary Landrieu, film maker M. Night Shyamalan and other non-educators are ensconced in the bucolic bosom of Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York to “convene Camp Philos.” The non-educators, who compare their $1000 board meeting to an 1858 meeting of Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Russell Lowell, are engaged in what they have billed, straight faced, as a “Philosophers Camp on Education Reform, ” “ three Spring days of fun, fellowship, and strategy with the nation’s thought leaders on education reform.”

“Thought leaders.”

I swear I am not making this up.

Needless to say, anyone who can convince themselves that they could place the words “Philosopher’s Camp “ before the words, “education reform”, in the same breath as they are comparing themselves with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, is well nigh in need of a good teacher, a course in philosophy 101, or at the very least, a dictionary.

On the other hand the event – which achieves a kind of horrible sublimity in its sheer vulgarity — is perfectly consistent with the tactics of the long stealth campaign to privatize the school system that built America. Of the privatizers many repugnant tactics, none is more consistent, intrinsic or effective than the conscious manipulation of language and images. In this way does a half assed experiment, hatched up in secret by shills and testing companies and financed by a ruthless billionaire, come to be known as the miraculous Common Core State Standards, the answer to all that ails us, the solution to all problems, the alpha and the omega. In this way does the almost biblical struggle for civil rights come to be employed by the privatizers’ public relations department as a tool to strip teachers of the right to due process and undermine unions. In this way does the word “philosophy”, one of the most transcendent and spiritually charged words in any language, come to be used in Lake Placid, as a fig leaf for yet the latest episode in the most rapacious campaign against a vital public trust in American history.

The privatizers know little or nothing of education but they do know, as Orwell knew, that those who control the language control reality. See his “Politics and the English Language.”

Cuomo, coming off orchestrating what is surely the most egregiously unfair education law in the history of New York state, is the “honorary chairman” of the philosophical retreat. It troubles the philosophical Chairman Governor not at all that no educator was invited to Camp Philos, nor even that those who attempted to attend were summarily rejected, one and all.

Still, even as I find the privatizers among the most cynical, ignorant and narcissistic people on the face of the earth, I must admit there is one place in which I agree with them, even as I radically disagree with their methods and ends and even as they would disagree with me till the end of time.

Like the “reformers “, if for radically diffent reasons, I too agree that the public school system as it has been operating for decades has, in some essential ways, failed America.
Further, I would state unambiguously that this failure is generational and so long standing as to be invisible.

I would define the failure as philosophical in both nature and cause. Allow me to elaborate. Education is, in its essence, a philosophical endeaver. Yes, of course we need to insure that our citizens gain the practical skills that will enable them to navigate the always unknown road ahead. Yes, of course, it means that schools must do all they can to insure our students have the requisite skills to gain employment in an ever more frighteningly competitive world in which jobs are now routinely “out-sourced” or mechanized out of existance altogether. That said, education is not job training. Job training is a wonderful thing and a necessity but it is not education. Education serves a much larger, deeper, and more vital role, and that is where the philosophical element, directly or indirectly, enters into the picture. Accordingly, in the front and center of our education system should be some variations of the following questions:
What, as a society, do we value ?
What kind of a people are we ?
What do we really believe in ?
Do we live our beliefs ?
What kind of citizens do we wish to produce ?
What does it mean to be educated ?
What, if anything, are our responsibilities to each other ?
How are we to live together ?

Andrew Cuomo and his pals omitted  discussion of the Death of Socrates  at the Philosopher's Camp on Education Reform]

Andrew Cuomo and his pals omitted discussion of the Death of Socrates at the Philosopher’s Camp on Education Reform]

In America we have reduced education to job training.

Were it within my power to do so, I would immediately and unapologetically do all I could do to introduce the study of philosophy on some level beginning in the third grade, the age of my daughter as of this writing. And I would make it an essential part of the curriculum in every grade until high school graduation. Implicit with this undertaking would be the understanding that some may not grasp the meaning of the study for years if at all but all would benefit from the exposure as surely as they would exposure to the history of art and music and architecture.

If I have seen a little further,” wrote Issac Newton, “ it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

Children would begin with a study of the word: “philo,” which means “love. “Sophia,” which means “wisdom.” Let them spend a week, a month, a year — whatever it takes – discussing and attempting to grasp those two words alone and the concept of those together, and you cannot help but have a child with an imagination larger because it is more unleashed than before. Help a child understand that this thing called “wisdom” exists and is real and has been honored and revered by the civilized since the beginning of civilization, that it has nothing to do with the accumulation of material wealth, nothing to do with gaining power over others, nothing to do with competition or control, and you have opened the portals of that child’s mind. And you have done something else: you have given a child a way of seeing that affords he or she some mode of mental protection against a corporate assault that, for many, begins at the moment of consciousness. Worse, the assault is designed to wed that struggling to be formed identity with a product, now and forevermore.

The study of philosphy would not merely help make our children “college and career ready”
( what ever those weasel words actually mean), it might help them to understand this mystery called Life in all of its paradoxical, tragic and wonderous nature. It is the epitome of critical thinking.

We now live in a nation where most citizens seem to believe that the word “philosophy” is synonymous with “opinion.” We have all heard vulgar examples in statements such as, “My philosophy is to hit guy before he hits you”, or some such foolishness. It is, I would argue, the absence of philosophical knowledge that has contributed to much of America’s horrible and dangerous confusion of technology with science, data with knowledge and knowledge with wisdom. Most of all it has led to the savage idea that knowedge is power rather than liberation from the need for power.
This is worse than sad. No decent society, never mind an alleged democracy, can exist in this kind of mass confusion.
And, yes, many of these same people are products of the public school system and yes, that school system failed them. And it continues to fail them. But rest assured: it will fail them that much further under a system dominated by the likes of the privatizers.

When I have asked my students why they go to school and why they study, overwhelmingly they reply with some variation of “ to do well on the test.” This is sick but it is hardly an accident. But why should they think differently? We are now in the process of incubating our children with this shrunken head madness.

It is, indeed, a kind of crime: the crime of starving the imaginations of millions of children by sheer neglect. And it is a crime that the miraculous Common Core will not only not correct but will, in fact, perpetuate.

I do not believe in magical thinking. (I leave that for the proponents of the Common Core.) I am well aware that the study of philosophy will not automatically and magically make thing better for all. Pre-Nazi Germany had the most rigorous school curriculum in the Western world but it did little to stop millions from embracing Hitler. Something more is needed. That said, I know this: the absence of something as immense as philosophy can only diminish this nation. As I see it, the problem is ecological. By this I mean if you deprive a child of philosophical awareness you do not get child minus philosophy. You get someone radically different and radically weaker. You get a person whose imagination, the key to all, has been severely diminished.

The purpose of education is not to be found in the vulgar slogan, “knowledge is power. ” Indeed, the absence of philosophy is one reason why that slogan is so readily swallowed in our increasingly competitive, miserable, punitive land and is in the very name of the KIPP charter empire. Philosophers and artists and spiritual geniuses have known for thousands of years that education is many things but above all, it is the emancipation of the human imagination: the purpose of education is freedom.

As I write, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joe Williams, executive director of Education Reform Now, Senator Mary Landrieu, film maker M. Night Shyamalan and other non-educators are ensconced in the bucolic bosom of Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, making a mock of the language that they use, discussing the creation of conditions that mock the very idea of freedom and positing efficacy, compliance, control and profit above all things. They are mocking, that is, the very essence of philosophy. This they do in the name of education. This they do in the name of children. This they do under the aegis of philosophy.

“All that is now proved was once only imagined”, wrote William Blake. I revere Blake as much as any soul who has ever walked this earth but, considering the combination of unimaginable fortunes wed to political power that is determined not only to privatize education but to use the educational system as THE vehicle to permanantly forge the character of America into a corporate fiefdom, it is at this moment very, very hard to imagine a happy ending to this horrific story. And yet, as souls like Blake and Kant and Hegel and Camus and Arendt knew, our imaginations are the only faculties that can possibly sustain us, as they are the only ones that ever have.

We must honor our lives and our language, and by doing so outlast the bastards and expose them for what they are.

Addendum: I’ve just found out that Andrew Cuomo, apparently at the last minute and doubtless to the great disappointment of his hosts, decided it was a better idea to philosophize with his fellow philosophers via video screen. Hmmmmmm. I’m guessing Cuomo got the willies from reports of hundreds of teachers and parents so filled with disgust with the man that they were willing to brave the rain to make sure he got their message, loud and clear. Cuomo may have been frightened of a repeat of what happened when he showed up recently on Long Island, as reported with relish on Perdido Street School. Good. It’s about time this treacherous invertebrate started to get his comeuppance.