Grades on “commitment to public education.” *Oh, Goody.* (Just in time for the elections.)

barberhandsSomething called the Network for Public Education has issued grades for each of the 50 states evaluating their “commitment” to public education.  On their web site, I notice that The Round Rev hisself is the keynote speaker at NPE’s April conference in Raleigh.  This sounds like a, um, *fair-minded* bunch.  It couldn’t possibly be a front for the Occupy or Moral Monday tools now, could it?  

Let’s find out a little on the group’s views on education:

[…] No High Stakes Testing.This year, only 5 states earned a grade of “A.” Grades in the criteria Chance for Success are lower than they would have been a decade ago, due to rising numbers of students living in poverty and increased racial isolation in schools. And when it comes to school finance, our national grade is a dismal “D.” Still there are bright spots. Seven states have rejected charters, vouchers and other “reforms” that undermine community public schools.

Sooooo — putting kids on a bus for an hour or more at a time to bus them across town for the sake of “diversity” doesn’t undermine community schools? MORE: 

Three states — Alabama, Montana and Nebraska — each earn an “A” for their rejection of both high stakes testing and privatization. No state, however, received high grades across the board. For example, although Alabama scored high in resistance to high stakes testing and privatization, its schools are underfunded and far too many students live in poverty or near poverty in the state.

At the end of this summary, the states are ranked by their overall GPAs. Throughout the report you can see each state’s grade for each criteria. On our website, www., we provide an interactive map to allow readers to see the full landscape of grades at a glance. Admittedly, we were tough graders. No state overall grade exceeded a “C.” We did not assign scores based simply on comparative measures, but rather against the values we hold and research supports.shake

Soooo — this has nothing to do with objective observations, but merely with opinions pulled out of their posteriors. (Isn’t it interesting how the worst grades get handed out to states with Republicans in charge?)

NPE ranks the “commitment” of Iowa, Nebraska, and Vermont (Bernie Sanders country) the highest with a 2.50 rating and a grade of C.  North Carolina is tied with Georgia, Florida, and Indiana with a 0.83 rating and grade of F.  Mississippi came in dead last with a 0.50 rating and a grade of F.

So, what were the categories each state was judged on?:

No High Stakes Testing
Tests become “high stakes” when they are used to make critical decisions about students, teachers or schools. Every time high stakes are attached to test scores to determine grade retention, high school graduation, the dismissal of a teacher, or a school closing, there are negative consequences for students. The scores themselves become less reliable as diagnostic measures of learning, curriculum and instruction. The results of high stakes tests are an especially unfair and often arbitrary method to make important and irrevocable decisions about a student’s future – and can have discriminatory impacts on particular racial and ethnic groups.

Arbitrary, huh?  Kind of like these ratings and this report?   MORE: 

Professionalization of Teaching
Countries with model education systems value their teachers. In Finland, teaching is not only the most highly respected profession; elementary school teaching is the most sought-after job.

Ah, holding up Finland as a model. President Bernie Sanders would be sooooooo proud.  MORE: school

Teacher preparation is university-based and rigorous. Professional development and classroom autonomy are integral features of a teacher’s work. Many of the current popular American reforms give lip service to the professionalization of teaching while displaying an appalling lack of understanding of what professionalization truly means. Teachers are viewed as interchangeable — experience is discounted, even viewed as a flaw. Courses that provide potential teachers with a deep understanding of the history of the profession, learning theory or cognitive development are regarded as fluff. Instead, current reforms promote online teacher preparation, on the job training and summer training that push inexperienced young people, with inadequate preparation, into classrooms. Yet research tells us that fast track teacher preparation and licensure programs serve to lower professional status.

This sounds like a defense of teacher unions, university education departments, and union-approved certification programs and bashing of lateral-entry.  Gosh.  Who would want a math or finance teacher who has been working on Wall Street, when you can have some skull-full-of-mush who has made it through the local college’s education department and 542 hours of “diversity” seminars and can’t survive without the teachers’ manual?  MORE: 

Resistance to Privatization
“School choice” policies move the control of schools from democratic, local control to private control. Market-based approaches such as vouchers, charters, and parent trigger laws take the governance of schools out of the hands of democratically elected officials and the local communities they serve, and place it in the hands of a few individuals — often elites or corporations with no connections to the community.[…]

Never mind all of that pesky data showing private school, charter school, and home-schooled kids outperforming the average public school student.  screamer

School Finance

In order for all students to have equitable educational opportunities, states must adequately and fairly fund their schools. We know that the level of poverty in a school is the single best predictor of average student performance.14 Money matters in education. More spending is positively associated with better learning outcomes. Resources like smaller class sizes, and more support staff lead to significantly higher achievement and graduation rates – especially for poor and minority students.15 Yet despite concerns about gaps in student performance, states have still not implemented policies that address inequitable funding between schools attended by the children of the rich and the poor. During the past decade, in fact, the gap in spending between rich and poor districts grew by 44 percent.16 Equitable educational opportunity can only be achieved when every child and every school has access to the resources and services needed for academic success. States must sufficiently fund public education and then implement financial policies that are “progressive,” meaning they provide the most funds to districts that demonstrate the greatest need.17

Yep.  That throwing money at a problem thing suuuuuuuure worked well in that whole “War On Poverty.”  Fifty-one years and counting, now?

Aaaaaand last but not least:

Chance for Success

There are many societal factors that affect the likelihood of a student’s academic success in school. From birth, interactions with the environment can have a profound effect on an infant’s communication, cognitive and motor development. Social and physical stressors have been shown to be significant negative contributors to long-term learning and behavioral outcomes,24 and such stressors are experienced more often by children who grow up in poverty.25 Students from low-income families are more likely to suffer from inadequate nutrition and medical care, and exposure to environmental toxins. […] scream

*Those dad-gum Republicans! Always trying to poison the babies!*

NPE lists some of their “friends and allies” on their web site.  In addition to Bill Barber, some of their friends include some real-mainstream sounding folks like:  Occupy the DOE in DC, United Students against Sweatshops, United Church of Christ Worship & Justice Ministries, and Stop Rick Scott’s Voucher Scheme.

My point?  These are leftists with an agenda.  I am SURE we’ll hear about this during the campaign.  National Group gives North Carolina an ‘F’ on Education!   (The N&O is already setting the type for this story.   Miz Leslie and the Bink are already priming the mobile news unit as we write.) 

Remember — when you hear this, think about what and who is behind this so-called study.