A video showing an officer methodically spraying pepper spray in the faces of seated protesters has created an uproar. While some say the incident represents a wider problem with the way police confront protesters, Santa Clara University professor (and founding editor of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor) Marc Bousquet argues that misses the point.
Police club and pepper spray students and professors at the University of California
Nov. 18, 2011: letter from English professor Nathan Brown to Chancellor Katehi
Nov. 18, 2011: UC Davis students pepper sprayed:
Nov. 9, 2011: police club UC Berkeley professors and students:
Nov. 9, 2011: UC Berkeley students drive out police:
Check out the full Rouge Forum update here.
Little Red Schoolhouse:
Alfie on Assessments, Goals, and Big Tests: What is its basic conception of assessment? To get a sense of how well things are going and where help is needed, we ought to focus on the actual learning that students do over a period of time—ideally, deep learning that consists of more than practicing skills and memorizing facts. If you agree, then you’d be very skeptical about a program that relies on discrete, contrived, testlike assessments. You’d object to any procedure that seems mechanical, in which standardized protocols like rubrics supplant teachers’ professional judgments based on personal interaction with their students. And the only thing worse than “benchmark” tests (tests in between the tests) would be computerized monitoring tools, which the reading expert Richard Allington has succinctly characterized as “idiotic.”
The Bottomless Pit of Evidence vs High-Stakes Tests (does evidence matter?): Children perform best in exams when teachers are not overly concerned about their test results, according to research published today. Pupils show greater motivation, are better behaved and are more likely to be independent and strategic thinkers when teachers are not obsessed by grades, the study by the Institute of Education found.
Krashen on VAT: Value-added evaluations of teachers assume that higher test scores are always the result of teaching. Not so. Test scores are influenced by other factors. We can generate higher scores by teaching “test preparation” strategies for getting higher scores without students learning anything. We can generate higher scores by testing selectively, making sure that low scorers are not in school the day of the test. And of course we can generate higher scores by direct cheating, sharing information about specific test questions with students. Teachers who prepare students for higher scores on tests of specific procedures and facts are not teaching; they are simply drilling students with information that is often soon forgotten. Moreover, research shows that value-added evaluations are not stable year to year for individual teachers, and that different reading tests will give you different value-added scores for the same teacher. If The Times is serious about helping children, don’t bash teachers, address poverty. American children from high-income families do very well on international tests, but our children of poverty do much worse.
The One-Sided Truth About Value Added Teaching: From the LA Times owner’s perspective, they tell the truth on behalf of important sections of the ruling class, and occasionally those sections fight it out both on the editorial pages and in the rest of the paper too. Within that context of what is really their truth, the value added research “works,” in that it sees school workers (who have always been workers and have been professionals almost only when bosses want educators to make sacrifices) as people whose minds must be stripped; their minds and creativity replaced with the minds of managers as in the common (bourgeoisie) core standards, in other regulated curricula, in high-stakes exams (production quotas), and who must be won to this alienation as a necessity for, on one hand, the chance to keep a job, and on the other hand, for the good of the nation’s kids (future workers and warriors)…
The Lines of Influence in Education Reform (check the link to the draft/chart): Another example is the AFT, the American Federation of Teachers, where Bill Gates gave AFT $3.4M for “teacher quality initiatives” and $217, 200 for AFT conference expenses. See: Did Bill Gates Buy His Podium at the AFT Convention? Sometimes a breakdown of the numbers provides a more clear picture of the power and influence of money. Then there is money “with stipulations” that the Gates Foundation provided to NPR. The purpose of that money is “to support coverage of education issues on NPR programs, including the Morning Edition and All Things Considered”. The amount provided was $750,000. I don’t feel comfortable with that on many levels.
UC Boss Lives Like Czar (Flees Lease): Mr. Yudof, 65, moved with his wife into a 10,000-square-foot, four-story house with 16 rooms, 8 bathrooms and panoramic views. He said he needed the house, which rented for $13,365 a month by the end of the lease and was paid for by U.C., to fulfill his obligation to host functions for staff members, donors and visiting dignitaries.
Mr. Yudof held 23 such functions over a two-year period, according to the university. He also ordered a list of improvements and repairs — including air conditioning and 12 phones — that drove up costs and, according to staff members, tied up university officials in meetings and lengthy negotiations on issues ranging from water bills to gopher eradication.
After the Yudofs vacated the property at the end of June, Brennan Mulligan, the landlord, informed university officials that he intended to keep the U.C.’s $32,100 security deposit. Mr. Mulligan requested an additional $45,000 to cover the repairs for hundreds of holes left from hanging art, a scratched marble bathtub, a broken $2,000 Sivoia window shade and other claims.
WSU’s Tragic Detroit Trajectory–Falls to 4th Tier, then This: Wayne State University is failing its African-American students, graduating fewer than one in 10 while success for their white counterparts is four times higher, according to a report issued this month. The graduation gap between white and black students at WSU is the worst in the nation among public universities, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Education Trust.
After Painting School Doors Blue (closing 40, laying off hundreds of teachers) Detroit PS sends 62 page Homework Packages to Students 2 Weeks Before School Opens but 2000 teachers and Dozens of Principals Have No Assignments: Detroit elementary and middle-school students don’t resume classes for two weeks, but they already have homework. Detroit Public Schools announced Monday it will mail 62-page packets of homework this week to 28,650 students in grades three through eight. The packets, which must be finished and turned in the first day of classes, focus on areas in which DPS students have tested poorly.
The initiative is the first time DPS students have been given homework before the start of school, said DPS spokeswoman Kisha Verdusco.
Detroit Foundations Release List of Worst Schools in Detroit (August 25): The first-ever ranking of the city’s public, charter and private schools is being released today in an effort to help parents choose good schools and pressure failing schools to shut down…
listing of schools in the city is produced by Excellent Schools Detroit, a broad coalition that includes Detroit Public Schools, charter school leaders and several foundations. The list is divided in three categories — elementary, middle and high schools — and the schools are ranked based on test scores and other data averaged over a three-year period.
What if There Was a Parade for Schools and Only Fools and Crooks Came? (Cosby pops up waiving his bogus doctorate): Waving from the final float were Mayor Dave Bing, activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, comedian and activist Bill Cosby, and Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency financial manager under whose watch the parade was launched last year…The crowd was fairly thin.
California–No School Funds for September: California will delay paying $2.9 billion of subsidies to schools and counties in September, a month earlier than projected, to save cash amid an impasse that has left the state without a budget for 54 days.
RaTT Saps: The department chose nine states – Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island – and the District of Columbia for the grants (which means that teachers in the “winner states” will suffer, but so will education workers in the “sucker states” which entered the shell game, and lost–States that did not apply are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Delaware and Tennessee, as Round 1 winners, were not eligible to apply). USE RATT MAP
Obamagogue’s Errand Boy, Duncan, Wants More Data For Merit Pay and Firings: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will call for all states and school districts to make public whether their instructors are doing enough to raise students’ test scores and to share other school-level information with parents, according to a text of a speech he is scheduled to make Wednesday.
SoCal Bans Literature With Help of Teachers and Profs: “The Old Man and the Sea,” “The House on Mango Street,” and “The Great Gatsby” are so last century when it comes to high school English classes in Chula Vista and National City. Once literature-based, English classes throughout the Sweetwater Union High School District — and elsewhere in California — have been revamped in an attempt to better prepare students for college and the real world.
That means reading lists once dominated by the classics now consist of newspaper editorials, historic documents, advertisements and some nonfiction. Assignments no longer dwell on the symbolism in a poem or focus on an entire novel. Instead, they emphasize expository, analytical and argumentative writing.
Developed by professors from the California State University system with help from high school teachers, the new “rhetorical approach” to English was designed to curb the growing number of high school graduates who need remedial instruction in college…the district saw a jump in scores on statewide English tests.
Vita For Professor McClish
Secrets of the Wag-the-Dog CSU Foundations Begin to Leak: California State University officials are concerned that they have erroneously mixed public and private funds in accounting for the foundations that support the system’s 23 campuses, according to a report the California Faculty Association is releasing today.
Remember the upcoming Rouge Forum Conference:
Education in the Public Interest
August 2-5, 2010
George Williams College of Aurora University, Williams Bay, WI
Little Red Schoolhouse
White House Appears to Dump Teacher Bailout: “A $23 billion payout to save thousands of educators’ jobs faltered Thursday — perhaps for good — to election-year jitters among moderate Democrats over deficit spending and only lukewarm support from the White House.”
Adjuncts! File For UCB Now! “The New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct advocacy group, plans to formally announce on Monday a campaign to push more out-of-work adjuncts to file for unemployment insurance between academic terms and during summer breaks.”
Life is Good in Kalamazoo: “Jeremiah is a kindergartener in Kalamazoo Public Schools, which is working to create a college-going culture for its students starting as early as preschool. Sparking the district’s effort was the Kalamazoo Promise, a program launched in 2006 by anonymous donors that pays college tuition for high school graduates in the district.”
Schools as Huge Markets: “Detroit Public Schools on Thursday announced the kickoff of work under the $500.5-million bond that voters approved in November.”
So Long Adjunct! CSU System Down 10% Profs: “California State University lost 10% of its teaching force in the last year, a result of crippling budget cuts that reduced job opportunities on many campuses…”
The CSU System’s Programs: Home to Fear, Secrecy, Racism, Ignorance and Opportunism: The California State University sought dismissal Monday of a lawsuit seeking documents related to a campus fundraising appearance by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, arguing that it has already released more than 3,000 records about the controversial event. The request was in response to a lawsuit filed last month against Cal State Stanislaus and its private foundation by the nonprofit government watchdog group Californians Aware. The lawsuit alleges that campus officials who are state employees are violating the California Public Records Act by withholding documents related to Palin’s June 25 appearance at the university’s 50th anniversary gala. The group and other open-government advocates have been seeking details of Palin’s contract, including her speaking fee.
Underground History of the USA [pdf] by Jim Obrien and Nick Thorkelson (good stuff for teachers):
Read the full RF Update here.
On to The Twenty Tens!
“When everyone is dead, The Great Game is finished, not before.” Kim, speaking for Kipling.
On the Little Rouge School Front This Week:
The Rouge Forum News Latest Edition is Now Available
The Call For Papers for the Next Edition of the Rouge Forum News
Louisville Education Dean To Plead Guilty; Those of us who have followed this case wish the dean every bad year he deserves. “…Bryant Stamford, a former faculty member who worked at U of L for more than 30 years and who has joined other former education faculty in criticizing the university for its handling of Felner, said Monday he had “mixed feelings” about news of a plea agreement.… It was good that he was finally caught and held accountable for his actions, but I think all of us still sort of default back to: How is it possible that this man was allowed to operate in such a manner for years? He wasn’t operating in a vacuum.”
The Detroit Federation of Teachers’ Contract–the Worst Ever? “The core issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded social and economic inequality and the promise of perpetual war, challenged by the potential of mass, class-conscious, resistance. Will we win? The best news is: we do not know. We might if we form trusting communities of care and resistance. If we do not, we can wind up alone disappearing like Johnnie Redding. It is a choice. Community or barbarism.”
Detroit Reading Corps Gears Up (Old South African Saying, “Before the missionaries arrived, we had land but no bibles; now we have bibles and no land”): “Soon the Detroit Public Schools could be overrun with thousands of retirees, former teachers, grandparents, stay-at-home moms, corporate employees and even a student from Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills.”
Charters Blossom in LA: “Even now, there are those who believe that charter schools are private (they aren’t), that they are run by for-profit companies (rarely in California), that they primarily serve affluent communities (the opposite is true) and that they are better than traditional public schools…Nearly 9% of Los Angeles public school students now attend charters, which offer great variety. Ocean Charter, a predominantly white, middle-class school on the Westside, emphasizes “experiential learning” based on the Waldorf model. The Alliance for College Ready Schools, whose 16 schools south and east of downtown mostly serve low-income black and Latino students, use a strict and structured adherence to state curriculum standards.”
No Charges Filed in Attack on UC Boss’ House: “Eight people arrested after protesters vandalized the campus home of the UC Berkeley chancellor have not been charged with any crime and may never be, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office.
“There is insufficient evidence…”
Dan Perstein on Attack on UC Boss’ House: “I believe that the university administration not only set the stage for a violent turn in protests by acts which have repeatedly raised tensions and undermined belief in its good will, but actually engaged in most of the violence that has occurred… “
Walton’s, Broad, Fund Top Brass in LA United: “Private money is paying for key senior staff positions in the Los Angeles Unified School District — providing needed expertise at a bargain rate, but also raising questions about transparency and the direction of reforms in the nation’s second-largest school system.”
Michigan Signs Up For Ratt: “Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Monday signed into law a sweeping series of education bills that give the state new power to close failing schools, dump bad teachers and administrators and measure if students are moving ahead… legislation also expects more from students, requiring them to stay in school until age 18, starting with the class of 2016. Students now can leave school at age 16. It allows up to 32 more charter schools to open each year but gives the state the power to close poorly performing charter schools. It also gives professionals from areas other than education an alternative way to become teachers and allows merit pay for excellent teachers and cyber-schools for students who have dropped out.”
Read the complete RF Update here.
On October 24 more than 800 students, teachers, and other workers met to plan how to advance the struggle to defend and transform public education in California and beyond.
The 10/24 conference endorsed the U of California and California State U strike and mobilization on Nov. 17th– 20th and decided to call for statewide solidarity actions on these days.
In addition, Conference participants also called for a “Strike and Day of Action that is inclusive of all different tactics, including: walkouts, rallies, march to Sacramento, teach ins, occupations, and all other forms of protests chosen by schools and organizations.”
On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education – Pre K-12, Adult Education, CC, CSU and UC – to “decide on a statewide action plan capable of winning this struggle, which will define the future of public education in this state, particularly for the working class and communities of color.”
After hours of open collective discussion, the conference democratically voted, as its principal decision, to call for a statewide Strike and Day of Action on March 4, 2010. The conference decided that all schools, unions and organizations are free to choose their specific demands and tactics – such as strikes, walkouts, march to Sacramento, rallies, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. – for March 4, as well as the duration of such actions.
We refuse to let those in power continue to pit us against each other. If we unite, we have the power to shut down business-as-usual and to force those in power to grant our demands. Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services.
We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations across the state to endorse this call and massively mobilize and organize for the Strike and Day of Action on March 4.
Let’s make this an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and educational segregation in California.
Below are some links and commentary from the latest Rouge Forum Update.
Read the full update here.
October 16/17, is the 150th Anniversary of John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry. Brown knew that the very definition of racism was sharpening (the notion of a separate species) and that slavery sought new territory as well. He knew slavery and exploitation are violent, and profitable, slavery being the cornerstone of industrial capital. And he knew the Masters do not adopt the ethics of the slaves. From his last speech, “Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.”
Action and Reaction in the Schools
UPTE Calls for General Strike: The following resolution calling for direct actions up to / including ageneral strike of public education workers was passed overwhelmingly earlier today by the statewide convention of University Professional and Technical Workers (UPTE / CWA). UPTE is the union that called a one-day strike on September 24, one of the key events in the September 24 day of action at UC Berkeley. OEA’s Rep Council passed a similar motion on October 6. [UPTE represents 12,000 research, technical and health workers at the University of California.
“Therefore be it resolved that we work in concert with other public sector unions, students and community members to organize a unified response that could include a general strike, a walkout from classes and other direct actions.”
Blackwater Ousted at Southwestern College After 2 Year Fightback: “CHULA VISTA, CA (Oct. 16) – Southwestern College District Governing Board approved the cancellation of their agreement with Blackwater-Xe in their October 14, 2009 board meeting. The agreement had students from Southwestern College enrolled in law enforcement training programs using shooting ranges in the Blackwater-Xe Otay Mesa mercenary training facility.”
AFT Lines Up For Merit Pay at Obama’s Trough: “Education reformers were pleasantly stunned when the American Federation of Teachers announced today that two of the winners of their new Innovation Fund grants planned to use the money to create teacher-evaluation systems that give weight to students’ standardized test scores.”
What of NEA With 3.5 Million Members? NEA Prezzie Dennis Van Roekel addressed the recent AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh where the narcissist Richard Trumka was anointed President of the corrupt Federation. NEA’s bosses have been trying to work a secret merger pact with the AFL-CIO for twenty years. It would add a lot to their salaries, and add another layer of enemies to NEA members. Then Van Roekel traveled on Air Force Two with Arne Duncan, Joe Biden, to Syracuse, to tout education “reform.”
What to do with this “unionism?”
Army Wants to Recruit in Middle School: “Wichita’s program uses a military structure to teach civics lessons…“The Army’s got a lot deeper pockets than education,” he said.”
Rothstein on NCLB Reauthorization: “The Obama administration’s ESEA re-authorization proposal should reject the continued punishment of schools based on flawed standardized tests, and instead focus on the careful and cautious design of new forms of qualitative evaluation.”
The full version of the latest Rouge Forum Update is here.
Here are some of the links from the Update:
In the Little Rouge Schoolhouse:
War, War, War But What is the Plan? Who is the Enemy? What is Winning? Don’t Dither!
An Oldie But Goodie From Country Joe in honor of those young people sitting in the mud in Afghanistan, wondering what their ruling class plans for them, what the strategy is, who the enemy will be and what tactics will be used next (and can we trust that our officers care?)
Money, Profits, Losses, Fear, Greed: The Economy
100th Bank Failure of 2009 Coming to Your Hometown? “Mr. Cassidy projects that as many as 1,000 small banks will close over the next few years…Together, the 8,176 smallest banks control just 15 percent of the industry’s $13.3 trillion in assets.”
More Education and Resistance:
North American Labor History Conference, Detroit, October 24 to 26
Below is note from Rich Gibson (San Diego State University) on the anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan.
Today is the 8th Anniversary of the US assault on Afghanistan, a full invasion, war, in response to a crime.
In my section A section of the New York Times (CA) , there is no mention of that.
Since then, $12.9 trillion was given to the banks. The wars will cost around $3 trillion if they project into next year, as they will.
The government became a full blown corporate state, an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich. Schools merged with the effort, becoming full-blown missions for capitalism. Those educators who collaborated became, knowingly or not, its missionaries.
The American public, having agreed to shop during Bush’s wars, can no longer shop. The US economy, 2/3 rooted in consumerism, cannot consume, nor produce, and the banks will not loan to the unemployed. Spectacles continue, more and faster. Baseball! Football! Porn!!
The demagogue, Obama and his friend, Arne Duncan, now throw the Bush agenda for education into hyperspeed: Regimented curricula promoting witless nationalism, anti working class high stakes exams, militarization, layoffs and cutbacks, some privatization, and, with perfect logic, merit pay.
The union leadership of every major union cooperated at every turn, played a significant role in electing Obama, in harmony with their Quisling roles of the past. They are the nearest and most vulnerable of workers’ enemies. Harsh measures for them.
Professional organizations accepted the division of academic labor they represent; remained largely impotent. Historians talked to historians, wrote a few petitions, rarely crossed the hall to deal with the sociologists. Some took up petitions, begging.
The rich grew much richer as barbarism rose. The poor became much poorer. Segmented by race, class, gender, split against each other by reactionary unions, now we see impoverished people battling for scraps.
The education agenda is a war agenda. The core issue of our time is the reality of the promise of endless war and booming inequality met by the potential of mass, activist, class conscious resistance, connecting reason to real power.
The youth at the occupation of UCSC point the way. Having a good school within this capitalist society is like having a reading room in a prison. Not acceptable.
The choice is clear enough. Community and resistance—or Imperial Barbarism.
Up the rebels!
Good luck to us, every one.
To the UC Faculty:
We at the Rouge Forum applaud, admire, and support your efforts to respond to tuition hikes, enrollment cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and increased class sizes, which are indeed, complicit with the privatization of public education.
The Rouge Forum is a group of 4500 educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned with questions like: How can we teach against racism, nationalism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals AND teach? Whose interests do schools serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring those into practice. (http://www.rougeforum.org/, http://www.therougeforum.blogspot.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouge_Forum).
In the German Ideology, Marx submits, “The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”
The connection and simultaneous control of this material and mental production comes into ever-sharper relief anytime we are confronted by our corporate media. The level of discourse is less than satisfying. And, frankly, frightening. Pick the issue: health care, immigration, worker’s rights, war, education. While all of the issues are truly critical, the last is particularly problematic since control of schools is a final domino to fall in the imperial quest to completely (re)fashion our reality. Remove critical thinking, make children compete against each other for perceived scarce resources (standardized tests), use the results to reify hierarchies based on social constructions like race and gender and class status, make teachers compete against one another for perceived scarce resources (merit pay), boil dissent down to participation in (mostly) corrupt unions, excuse and/or cover-up the school to military and prison pipelines, monitor and make impotent our schools of education through if-it-wasn’t-so-sinister-it-would-be-comical accrediting bodies like NCATE, and regulate truth. This has been the agenda. And, it has already buried itself deep into our educational psyche.
Your willingness to confront this reality on September 24 is an illustration of the work we will all have to do to protect public education toward the creation of a more whole and healthy society. Where Rouge Forum members are affiliated with the UC system, we have encouraged them to join you. Where Rouge Forum members are unaffiliated with the UC system, we have encouraged them to take part in campus wide discussions relative to the status of higher education, academic freedom, and the importance of public education.
We stand in solidarity with you and offer the graphic, created by Rouge Forum member, Bryan Reinholdt, an elementary performing arts teacher in Louisville, Ky.
the Rouge Forum Steering Committee