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I think the first simple question is not about if a student is doing homework incorrectly. The first simple question is why was it assigned. To many of our teachers are handing out homework because they grew up doing homework, they are using tradition and personal experience to justify assigning homework. We see personal experience and tradition influence a great deal of things in our education system however it is counter productive to "assume" anything works because that's "how I grew up in education".

Additionally "the research shows" has been used to justify both sides of this issue. Additional practice is very important, for students that need additional practice. Teachers who assign homework "just because" which I personally believe to be the huge majority, are screwing up education….Going back to David's last point, what we see a great deal of is the teacher who does a crappy job of pacing or writing a lesson plan and consistently has work that still needs to be accomplished, so their solution is to assign it as homework. Now you have a student who may not even had a chance to practice the content once, attempting it as homework. This fight starts with teacher training, it needs to be a professional development topic at all schools and administrators need to ask their teachers more then "how much homework are you assigning" and begin asking the hard questions of why is this getting assigned as homework?

Re: Final Project by christopher sheehanchristopher sheehan, 03 Jul 2014 16:09

Technology Issues in Education

Many students’ lives today are filled with technology that gives them continuous access to information and resources, enables them to create multimedia content and share it with the world, and allows them to participate in online social networks where people from all over the world share ideas, collaborate, and converse. Outside school, students are free to pursue their passions in their own way and at their own pace. (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, 2010). The opportunities provided through technology are limitless, borderless, and instantaneous. Technology is so prevalent in the lives of students so individuals in education has taken an interest in using technology to enhance student learning and engagement within classrooms. While using technology in education has become a powerful tool it is not void of issues. Three issues that will be addressed in this paper are adequate technology infrastructure, ongoing professional development for staff, and the issue of digital citizenship.

Schools and districts continue to battle to keep pace with ever increasing demands to upgrade their technological infrastructure. This paper will address three areas of infrastructure weakness for schools using technology; Internet connectivity, system upgrades, and equipment available. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 97 percent of schools across the country had Internet connectivity as of 2010 (FCC, 2010). Far fewer, however, were able to successfully meet the need for higher speed access. The lack of high-speed Internet connectivity can affect many avenues of technology such as, the running of hardware/software, interactive video features like virtual field trips, and a vast amount of research resources. In my school, one reason, selected teachers were unable to complete the PARCC assessment field study was because of the lack of high-speed Internet connectivity available at our school. In addition to Internet speed, our computers failed to meet the minimum system requirements to run the PARCC assessment. Continuous upgrading requirements highlight another problem within technology infrastructures. Upgrading technology is costly for school districts and often overlooked as a result of financial constraints. Financial planning for information technology is a key challenge. Even well endowed schools that are able to buy the best equipment and software find themselves overwhelmed by the short life span of technology, constant maintenance/ upgrades, and escalating demand. Recent studies suggest that traditional financial planning and budgeting cycles will not work for information technology (Oberlin, 1996). Lastly, a problem faced by educators is the amount of equipment available to them. On my campus, we have smart board equipped classrooms with one computer. The computer has Internet access and access to the schools server in order to share resources with colleagues via a share drive folder. Collectively, there are five iPod touches per grade level (each grade level shares), two laptop carts, and a computer lab that can occupy thirty-five students. The teachers on campus agree that the technology on campus is not adequate to meet the learning goals of the students. Through a survey conducted on campus, it was found that K-3 teachers desired devices such tablets, e-readers, or iPods in order to differentiate reading instruction for their students through listening to reading. The 4-6 teachers targeted updating laptops for students to work on research projects and participation of web based discussion groups, as their key technology need. Oberlin (1996) expresses the failure to recognize that initial equipment purchase and installation is only the beginning of the required funding stream. Ongoing maintenance and periodic equipment replacement, if not expansion, will be required over time. Technology purchases made by schools have long-term financial responsibilities, as items need updating, replacing, and maintenance. Also, some equipment such as projector bulbs, batteries, speakers, headphones and other items need to be replaced periodically, as do wireless student assessment responders or remote controllers that go missing or become damaged. School districts can address the issue of weak technology infrastructures by creating a technology budget. A technology budget should consist of sustainment funds based on the technology maintenance needs projected within 3-5 years from the date of purchase (Gray, Lewis, Thomas, 2010). This predictive planning would ensure technology purchases will be maintained and provide classrooms with adequate funding in order to stay up to date with the current technology trends.
Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman (2002) found that professional development focused on specific instructional practices increases teachers' use of those practices in the classroom. Furthermore, we found that specific features, such as active learning opportunities, increase the effect of the professional development on teacher's instruction. The issue of inadequate technology professional development affects the way technology is implemented in the classroom. In order to achieve the best use of technology, schools need to ensure that strong professional development programs are in place and that teachers have a variety of opportunities for learning and growth (Desimone, et al. 2002). To begin with, teachers are often less knowledgeable about the technology in their classrooms than the students. Teachers must be aware and understand how the technology they are given to intergrade works. This is especially relevant to the technology resources your students are using. Teachers will use this knowledge to monitor their students and be engaged in their learning experiences. Simply put, “Many teachers do not have the technical knowledge or skills to recognize the potential for technology in teaching and learning. Just knowing how to use a computer is not enough. Instead, teachers must become knowledgeable about technology and self-confident enough to integrate it effectively in the classroom” (Rodriquez, 2000). Teachers must be trained through professional development on how to navigate and use the technology resources before they can use them to enhance learning for their students. Most teachers want to learn to use educational technology effectively, but they lack the time, access, and support necessary to do so. Educational technology is not, and never will be, transformative on its own, however, it requires the assistance of educators who integrate technology into the curriculum, align it with student learning goals, and use it for engaged learning projects. (Rodriguez, 2000) Traditional sit and listen training sessions or one time only workshops have not been effective in making teachers comfortable with using technology or adept at integrating it into their lesson plans (Desimone, et al. 2002). Overall, a important aspect of technology implementation is to develop a well-planned, ongoing professional development program that is coupled with the school's curriculum goals, and sustained by adequate financial and staff support is essential if teachers are to use technology appropriately to promote learning for all students in the classroom.
Technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and educators must govern it to provide engaging, authentic and powerful learning experiences and content to students. The article, “Navigate the Digital Rapids”, by Davis and Lindsay (2010) states that educators must facilitate students to participate in global collaborative learning environments and digital citizenship through technology. Digital citizenship is defined as a concept that helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students should know in order to use technology appropriately. (Larson, Miller, & Ribble, 2009) Digital citizenship addresses the norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. Digital citizenship should be systematically taught across all grade levels. It is imperative that students understand the norms governing the use of technology. The role of the teachers is to gather students, lead by example, and make sure students don’t cross the line when participating in digital assignments. Digital assignments consist of online chat groups, social media such as Edmodo, and web-based collaborative learning activities and opportunities. It is important that all students and teachers conduct themselves in a professional and culturally sensitive manner. Davis and Lindsay (2010) suggest the teacher takes on the role of coaching the students through making sound digital citizenship choices. Another consideration is to have a plan when students misuse their digital privileges. Students need to know the importance of digital citizenship and the consequences of crossing the line when collaborating digitally. Not addressing digital citizenship leads to problems such as cyber bullying. The norms that govern students and staff are imperative to a successful technology plan because the norms establish a set of socially acceptable behaviors for the proper use of cyber socialization and conduct. The students of today are growing up in a digital era. Teaching students how to have digital citizenship while collaborating and creating a digital footprint is a key tool student will need in the generation of digital learning (Davis & Lindsay, 2010).

In closing, Technology is a great tool to utilize in education. School districts, principals, and educators must work together to overcome some of the hurdles that integrating technology brings. A strong technology infrastructure including a plan for future fiscal planning is necessary to sustain technology curriculum. Professional development that educates the teachers’ on how the technology works and how to use it to enhance learning is a key component to successful implementation. Also, teaching students’ about digital citizenship is important to move forward productively while engaging in web-based learning and projects. Technology is a staple of society and it is imperative that we prepare our student for the global world force by teaching them how to use technology though learning and exploration.

References

Davis, V. & Lindsay, J. (2010) Navigating the Digital Rapids. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 12-15.

Desimone, L., Porter, A., Garet, M., Yoon, K., & Birman, B. (2002) Effects of professional development on Teachers’ instruction: results from a three-year longitudinal study. American Educational Research Association. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol 24. No 2. 81-112.

Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. (2011). Issues A-Z: Technology in Education. Education Week. Retrieved from: http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/.

Federal Communications Commission. (2010). FCC Enables High-Speed, Affordable Broadband for Schools and Libraries. Retrieved from: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-enables-high-speed-affordable-broadband- schools-and-libraries.

Gray, L., Thomas, N., and Lewis, L. (2010). Teachers’ Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools (NCES 2010-040). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Larson, L., Miller, T., & Ribble, M. (2009) 5 Considerations for Digital Age Leaders. International Society for Technology in Education: Leading & Teaching with Technology; December/January 2009-10: 13-15.

Oberlin, J.L. (1996). The financial mythology of information technology: The new economics. CAUSE/EFFECT magazine. Vol 19, No 1. 21-29.

Plair, S. (2008) Revamping professional development for technology integration and fluency. The Clearing House. Vol 82. No 2.
November/December 2008. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.nau.edu/ehost/detail?sid=d180d65d-276b-4c5b-92da- 38bdbd8bfa82%40sessionmgr113&vid=4&hid=102&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2 ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=35041978

Rodriguez, G. (2000) Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use. Professional Development in Education. Nov2013, Vol. 39 Issue 5, p732-753. DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2012.759127. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.nau.edu/ehost/ resultsadvanced?sid=d180d65d-276b- 4c5b92da38bdbd8bfa82%40sessionmgr113&vid=7&hid=102&bquery=(technology+AN D+professional+AND+development)&bdata=JmRiPWE5aCZ0eXBlPTEmc2l0ZT1laG9z dC1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. (Report No. ED-04-CO-0040). Washington: D.C. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010-execsumm.pdf.

Final Project by Jennifer MadyJennifer Mady, 03 Jul 2014 10:08

Victoria Blue
ECI 696

Riding the Shock Waves of Education Reforms
The education system in the U.S. has undergone recurring changes throughout history as set forth in Joel Spring’s (2012) “The American School, A Global Context: From the Puritans to the Obama Administration”. Recent education reforms include No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Race to the Top (RTTT), and Common Core Curriculum Standardization (CCCS). William Reese (2013) in “The First Race to the Top” establishes that the current standardized testing craze has roots in 19th Century Boston.

In 1837, Horace Mann, a lawyer and legislator in Massachusetts became secretary to the State Board of Education as an effort of the Whig Party’s focus to centralize authority and make schools modern and accountable. Politics entered the realm of education. A close friend of Mann’s, Samuel Gridley Howe, was elected to the School Committee. He gained a position on the examining committee, and masterminded the design of written tests seeking black and white determinants of learning (Reese, 2013).

The first race to the top and subsequent testing mania took public and private schools by storm in the summer of 1845. The Boston School Committee expanded on traditional examinations whereby local English grammar schools were reviewed. Inspectors questioned a few students orally and then wrote a brief report – filed and forgotten (Reese, 2013). School assessments were about to change, drastically.
The examiners tested 530 students – the highest achievers below high school in both Boston and Roxbury, an affluent suburb of Boston. The timed exams were preprinted and the questions on them were drawn from textbooks. Master teachers were angry and the students, frightened. Most of the students flunked the exams and citizens were shocked. Critics denounced the testing as an overarching means to demean teachers and students, and promote political agendas using education as a springboard (Reece, 2013).

Students in the affluent suburbs faired better than their counterparts in the poorer Boston schools. Controversies surrounded the exams, e.g. teachers were caught leaking test questions to students, and teachers began teaching to the test rather than focusing on deep learning and understanding. Angry parents protested and Mann instructed Howe to blame Master teachers for the low scores and inter-community rankings. The School Committee fired a few head teachers, however, parents pursued Howe as their adversary in deliberately embarrassing students. The public’s call to action was evident in upcoming elections. Howe lost reelection (Reese, 2013). Still, testing continued but at a slower, more infrequent rate as members of Howe’s education reform committee pressed forward in their search for statistical measurements of teaching and learning outcomes. They did, however, signal this warning:

Testing yields essential, valuable knowledge about school performance, but its exaggerated use distorts teaching and ignores the broader purpose of education. Test results should not be the full and final judgment on schools and their teachers. There is more to a child’s education than positive information, in black and white (Reese, 2013).

Education reform in 19th Century Boston creates a contextual framework and the beginnings of high-stakes testing created by a small group of influential elite with political aims. The first race to the top in 1845 is not much different than current education reforms. The same disparities surfaced; reforms drafted by a select few; teaching to the test dominated classrooms; testing integrity (cheating) arose; achievement gaps between affluent and poorer schools was evident; and the concern that schools often support learning not easily measured statistically, e.g. the breath and depth of learning dispositions and abilities, the impact of environment, and the importance of the arts, sciences, and character development. Other crucial elements include supporting curiosities to fuel a love of learning, igniting creativity, problem solving and social justice issues, and viewing schools as a community endeavor full of reciprocal relationships.

The history of education’s approaches and assessments have waxed and waned for over a century. The most recent onslaught of changes has been especially hard-hitting. Education reform in the 21st Century entered with more races, mandates, measurements, funding, and adversities than imaginable. Stepping back to gain a broader perspective allows critical space to consider other elements influencing education reform today, and the ever-expanding circle of timing, intent, and stakeholders. The impacts on children, teachers and schools, and the public’s response to current education reforms must be included in the conversation.

The present Common Core ‘National’ Standards, including curriculum, standardized tests, standardized teacher assessments, and teacher compensation frameworks is an extension of “No Child Left Behind (NCLB)” and presents another wave of reforms as do public school closures and the proliferation of charter schools.

The NCLB Education Reform Bill became law in 2002 under President George W. Bush. NCLB passed through Congress in December 2001, barely 3 months after the tragedy of September 11. The new Education Reform Act consumed eight years of mandated teaching, learning, and testing in public schools. The praxis of the NCLB initiative promised equal, standardized education for all children in the United States. According to Paul Manna (2013) in “The No Child Left Behind Act: Educational Accountability in the United States”, NCLB had mixed outcomes and a wide degree of variability factors including states’ flexibility in implementing policy and processes.

A new and improved national, standardized plan – The Common Core (CC) was officially announced to the public by President Barack Obama in 2009 during the backlash of economic decline in 2008. It was sold to the public as part of his “Race to the Top” program. Of interest, the inclusion of ‘state’ into the plan name, i.e. Common Core ‘State’ Standards is part of a branding scheme from the public relations sector and corporate interests to manipulate public thought. To be clear, States, President Obama, educators and administrators were not involved in drafting the CC (ReThinking Schools, 2013). Reminiscent of the Boston School Committee of 1837-1845, a select group led by David Coleman, Achieve, Inc. and financed by The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation ($233 million dollars) crafted and imposed the CC reform on an unsuspecting population (Layton, 2014). The incentives for such reforms, the exorbitant funding supplied, and the resultant timing without public or legislative representation is open to speculation.

As with NCLB, when implementation of CC began, educators, students, and parents were in shock. Materials and training were scant and an in-depth, understanding of the education reforms and ramifications were elusive. In “Common Core: More Testing Madness, Not the Sound Assessments We Need”, Guisbond & Neill (2013) agree that teaching to the test occupied classroom time often to the exclusion of other teaching-learning activities, e.g. art, science, social studies. The authors also suggest that testing procedures and subsequent school ratings blurred the line between deep, meaningful learning and regurgitation of test prep material for statistical reporting.
Robust discussions among educators and administrators have sounded the alarm for another wave of reform failures and the systematic demise of public schools (Mann, Guisbond, and Neill, 2013). Proliferation of privatized charter schools is already on the rise, exponentially. The number of American charter schools has grown from 500 in 16 states and the District of Columbia to an estimated 6,400 in 2013-14. By contrast some 200 public schools closed for reasons including low enrollment, financial concerns, and low academic performance (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 2014).

The timing of both NCLB (2002) in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 and CC (2009) in the wake of the 2008 economic avalanche, present in very chaotic, emotional times. For disaster capitalists and others of motivated stripes, any event - natural, perceived, or designed that catapults a population into physical and emotional instability presents opportunities for intentional action for desired outcomes. Reforms can be sociopolitical, economic, educational, corporate, etc. Once an event or series of events has occurred, persons of influence mobilize predetermined strategies while the populace is preoccupied with regaining balance from the shocking circumstances they have experienced. For all practical purposes, they are impotent, at least temporarily. Further, once the public has regained minimal equilibrium, the realization that policies have become operational is clear, however, the possibility for their reversal is remote (Klein, N., 2007).
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) is another example of political education reform and disaster capitalism in full operation. A few months post Katrina, Milton Friedman, the free-market guru, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins… this is a tragedy; it is also an opportunity to radically reform the education system.”

Within 19 months, the New Orleans’ public school system was almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools. Before Hurricane Katrina, the school board had run 123 public schools; now it ran just four. Before the storm, there had been seven charter schools in the city; now there were 32. Further, Friedman, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal stated, “it is crucial that this fundamental change not be a stopgap but rather a permanent reform” (Sanchez. A., 2010.)

When residents returned to New Orleans, physically and emotionally distraught, they not only had to put the threads of their lives back together, find jobs and housing, but they also faced a new kind of schooling for their children. The reforms that had been swiftly enacted escaped recourse. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (2014), 60% of schools in New Orleans are now charter schools.

Another hurricane related debacle involving education and the Federal Government arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy made land fall on October 29, 2012 in New York City and battered New Jersey 2 ½ hours later. Populations in both cities were without basic necessities, e.g. food, water, electricity, shelter, and medical supplies for over a week, and in some places, longer.

Prior to the hurricane, school districts were working tirelessly to complete their applications for President Obama’s competitive “Race To The Top (RTTT)” initiative. According to The White House Fact Sheet: The Race to the Top (2009), application requirements to obtain government funding had to provide details for:

• Designing and implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments
• Attracting and keeping great teachers and leaders in America’s classrooms
• Supporting data systems that informs decisions and improve instruction
• Using innovation and effective approaches to turn-around struggling schools
• Demonstrating and sustaining education reform

When Hurricane Sandy descended, such matters were not a focal point, even if the buildings where this work was in progress remained safe and free of flooding. On October 29th, the U.S. Department of Education reopened the RTTT competition to extend the deadline for submitting applications due to the fact that that Hurricane Sandy prevented many applicants from submitting their RTTT by the October 30, 2012 deadline. The President issued a major disaster emergency declaration that the new deadline was 4:30 p. m. Washington D.C., time on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 (FEMA, 2012). For all intents and purposes, the deadline extension of seven days was unrealistic. How could administrators focus on an application tied to heavy government funding in the midst of survival mode - for themselves, their families, and community members? Why wasn’t the deadline extended longer? How many applicants from these hard hit areas were able to successfully fulfill this task? Unearthing information to answer these questions poses a challenge.

Thus far, a brief overview of current education reforms, the timing and the intent have been discussed. The possible benefactors are included in the recap below.

•What: National NCLB & CC Standardized Education Reforms; Replacement of public schools with charter schools in New Orleans. Loss of RTTT application opportunities in New York City and New Jersey.

•When: Post 9/11/01, Post Hurricane Katrina 8/2005, Post 2008 economic decline, Post Hurricane Sandy 10/2012.

•Where: Nationally in Public Schools; New Orleans Public Schools; School districts in New York City and New Jersey.

•How: NCLB – signed into law; CC extension of NCLB; Destroyed or damaged public schools in New Orleans replaced by charter schools; Un- reasonably short RTTT extension for NYC, and NJ.

•Why: Promoters view: To raise education standards, test scores for college and career readiness. Non-supporters view: to dismantle the public education system to further business, industry, and political agendas (control), and not in the public’s interest.

•Who: Benefactors include political and corporate interests, and other stakeholders in privatizing education, i.e. charter schools, and controlling public education in all facets. Control of education = control of the people. Opportunities arise for companies in the education industry to participate in very lucrative businesses, i.e. charter school management, curriculum, textbooks, testing and other assessment materials, remedial materials, educational hardware and software, etc.

Education has a long history of abuse and misuse by individuals and groups to further their goals, however, current trends appear more complex than 19th Century Boston. Today, educators, children, families, and communities are caught in the cross fire of changes - often abrupt and often following a disruption in normal life as mentioned in three examples. Not included here are equally devastating reforms in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia (ReThinking Schools, 2013). It would appear that shock doctrine practices have infiltrated education in the American Public School System. Lance Fialkoff proposes a short, focused description.

1) Manufacture crisis, edu-performance and/or consequences of NCLB/grant compliance failure (measured against often unattainable standards).
2) Close neighborhood public schools.
3) Replace with charter schools linked to private Charter Management Organizations (CMOs), corporate edu-service providers, e.g. Pearson and others, and for-profit online learning. Staff with Teach for America (TFA) temps and indebted recent college graduates.
4) Real estate developers rally for land once occupied by neighborhood schools (Previti, 2013).

The shock and awe of education reforms and the agendas they support can be dismantled – eventually, if an awareness of the processes and the call to action is unyielding. Ultimately, the American public must initiate the changes they wish to see. The citizens of 19th Century Boston did just that and citizenry today can model their resolve.

To date, education grass roots movements are gaining national momentum. Most have begun with parents and include teachers - forming the two largest representations. Outspoken administrators, legislators, and others have “opted-in” to either greatly modify testing and curriculum standards or to abolish them altogether. Issues of family privacy are also of concern as testing database corporations collect personal information on children and families in addition to test scores. The proposed changes, however, are slow in coming and not without a web of bureaucratic tangles. The “Race to the Top” has morphed into a public “Race to Reform” the reforms.
In the Education Reporter, “The Push Against the Common Core”, detailed areas of concern from a vantage point of support and nonsupport include state legislative initiatives, federal education standards, federal standardized testing, invasion of student’s privacy, and follow the money (2013). The current uprising focused on standardization of curriculum and testing moves beyond mere formats. The education debate and subsequent campaigns require a closer look at the legitimacy and empirical study of the CC and standardized testing, the constitutionality of reforms, especially the 10th Amendment, which limits federal influence over states and The General Education Provisions Act which prohibits federal overreach. “The U.S. Department of Education gave $360 million from the federal economic-stimulus act of 2009 to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) to develop national standardized tests” (2013). The Obama administration made changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which, through Common Core testing, allows student’s personal information, i.e. name, address, social security number, attendance, test scores, learning disabilities, and family information to be recorded, stored, and available to third parties including researchers and private companies. “The Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. have funded and developed this database system” (2013). As for following the money, beyond previous accounts here, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering fresh bait. Their latest initiative, ‘“Shifting into High Gear: Accelerating the Common Core Through Teacher Network” is funding grants ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 to organizations working to accelerate implementation of the Common Core across an expansive teacher network” (GatesFoundation.org).

It is critical for anyone associated with or concerned about today’s education forecasts to keep abreast of new developments. They are occurring fast and furious – positive, negative and in between. The in between relates to legislative initiatives that are pending for a variety of reasons. Education Week carries trackers and updates of CC Bills in the House of Representatives. Truth in American Education also provides the latest information on House and Senate Bills in progress. Legislation varies from state to state as do Bill modifications should they be rejected in their original form. States focus on different concerns, e.g. CC, testing, privacy, teacher compensation. Some states’ legislations includes a few concerns, others may include all. In Texas, NCLB and CC are not up for discussion; Texas never joined either and flatly denounced both. Further, “a bill passed in 2013 prohibiting the state from ever participating” (Scott, 2013). To gain a wider perspective on what is percolating at the state level in legislation and also with grass roots movements, a look at Education Without Representation’s website offers variances by state as well as other education movements nationwide.

In summary, reforms are an integral component of the U.S. schooling system. The pension for excellence as a nation and on the world stage is deeply entrenched. Races, reforms, and renunciations continue to cycle through. Children, families, educators, and communities absorb the shock waves until the public gains equilibrium and takes action on their behalf. Schooling has become synonymous with testing, standards, assessments and ratings. Education has become a whipping post for much that ales American society. Reforms appear in various shadows and shapes; they surface and dissipate like a coastal fog. When reforms descend, the point of origin is obscured lingering below the public’s radar. Why reforms arise when they do and for what purpose adds to the confusion. Why reforms flourish or flounder is speculation at best.

Just as education and reforms have a history – a story, so too, the American public has a history and a story – a narrative of resilience. The last decade has been a time of unprecedented turmoil. As citizens regain their balance, renunciation of imposed reforms will circumvent the rhetoric from social engineers, financiers, and corporateers. A new race will evolve – one for education of human beings versus human capital; one for nurturing hearts and minds versus compiling test scores and data. The American people are ready for a race, one that signifies changes - of their voice and their choice. The starting gate has opened.

References

“Clear-Cutting Our Schools” (2013). Rethinking Schools. Op ed. Vol 28 No. 1. Retrieved online June 28, 2014.
“Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools & Students, 2013-2014". National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. February 2014. Retrieved online June 23, 2014.

“Fact Sheet: The Race to the top” (2009). The White House. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/fact-sheet-race-top. Retrieved online June 28, 2014.

FEMA (2012). Timeline of Hurricane Sandy. http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-timeline. Retrieved online June 28, 2014.

Guisbond, L. Neill, M. (2013). Common Core: More testing madness, not the sound assessments we need. District Administration.
http://www.districtadministration.com/article/common-core-more-testing-madness- not-sound-assessments-we-need. Retrieved online June 23, 2013.

Klein, N. (2007). The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada.

Layton, L. (2014). How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-bill-gates-pulled-off-the-swift-common-core-revolution/2014/06/07/a830e32e-ec34-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html. Retrieved online June 29, 2014.

Lynch M. (2014). The Ultimate Demise of Common Core, Part I: The politics. Education Week.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures/2014/06/the_ultimate_demise_of_common _core_-_part_i_the_politics.html. Retrieved June 23, 2014.

Manna, P. (2013) The No Child Left Behind Act and educational accountability in the United States. In Peter Graefe, Jullie Simmons, and Linda White (eds.) Overpromising and Underperforming? Understanding and Evaluating New Intergovernental Accountability Regimes. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Previti, K. (2013) Shock Doctrine USA: The urban school privatization script-Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Newark, Milwaukee, Detroit, New Yoark, California, etc. http:// www.reclaimreform.com. Retrieved online June 28, 2014.

Reese, W. (2013) The first race to the top. The New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/the-first-testing-race-to-the- top.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& Retrieved online June 23, 2014.

Sanchez, A. (2010). The education “shock doctrine”: Disaster schooling. International Socialist Review.
http://isreview.org/issue/71/education-shock-doctrine Retrieved online June 23, 2014.

Scott, D. ( 2013). “Why the common core fell short.” Governing. http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-why-the-common-core-rebellion-fell-short.html. Retrieved online June 28, 2014.

“Shifting into High Gear: Accelerating the Common Core Through Teacher Networks.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. https://gatesfoundation.org. Retrieved online June 30, 2014.

Spring, J. (2012). The American School: A global context from the puritans to the Obama era.
McGraw Hill. New York, N.Y.

“The Push Against Common Core Gains Momentum” (2013). Education Reporter. http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/educate/may13/push-against-common-core-gains-momentum.html. Retrieved online June 27, 2014.

Swasey, C. (2014) “Rejection of Common Core and its tests. Education Without Representation. http://www.whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/ Retrieved online June 27, 2014.

Resources

Education Week. http://www.eduweek.org.

Education Without Representation. https://www.whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. http://www.fairtest.org/get-involved/opting-out.

Truth in American Education. http://www. http://truthinamericaneducation.com.

United Opt Out: The Movement to End Corporated Education Reform. http://unitedoptout.com.

Blue Final Project by Viki BlueViki Blue, 03 Jul 2014 06:04

That would be nice! :)

But, money to spend on materials, supplies, equipment, and support personnel would be very helpful, as well. I set up a science/math room for the methods courses shortly after I arrived at NAU. I used grant money. We had salt and fresh water aquariums and tons of other equipment and supplies. I hired students to help maintain the aquariums and to keep the room clean and organized. Once the grant was over, the dean spent money to redo the room …. for show … to impress NCATE, but no money to support the operation of the room. I had to give away the fish and take down the aquaria, except for a simple pond aquarium. The room is a mess. People who use it, dump their stuff in the back room, leave dirty supplies in the sinks, and don't put away supplies into the appropriate boxes or shelves. And, they look to me to be the one to keep it clean (which I did for a while, but I don't have the time). What would it cost to hire a student? And, what would it mean to the student?

The excuse from administrators is that the money for building is in a different budget line. What they don't tell you is that it is pretty easy to change the budget lines.

These kinds of approaches are all about appearances. "All sizzle and no steak."

Re: Final Project by JeffBloomJeffBloom, 03 Jul 2014 03:55

Well, this is the long-held view of what colleges and Universities are supposed to look like. Learned men and women, experts in their particular field, standing before the masses imparting their wisdom on young minds. Lecture halls, filled to the rafters with eager students hanging on every syllable. We of course know this is far from the truth, and as you cited, far from effective in affecting any meaningful learning. Many professors still refer to their teaching simply as "lecture".

Re: Final-Sheehan by David MarksDavid Marks, 03 Jul 2014 00:00

Teachers here in the building will be keeping time in their class at least twice a week during lunches as a means of both tutoring and affording students extra "practice". The aim is to do this practicing in a more controlled environment and make it a much more focused situation.

I would ask a simple, but fundamental question. What if a student, from the outset, is doing the homework incorrectly. What a waste of time and energy, leading to even greater discouragement and quite probably poorer performance.

Re: Final Project by David MarksDavid Marks, 02 Jul 2014 23:53

I like the idea of differentiating homework. I don't know what the answer is but it does seem like some students need extra practice while others do not. If that is the case,why give everyone the same assignments?

Re: Final Project by cmabcmab, 02 Jul 2014 22:17

I agree with your perspective. I wonder why everyone (almost!) is falling for this crap when we know what works and what doesn't. Why spend money on technology when teacher programs are not that selective and salaries are so low? It's like NAU spending money on parking garages instead of professor's salaries.

Re: Final Project by cmabcmab, 02 Jul 2014 22:12

What is very interesting to me is that we train teachers at a university setting to teach in K-12. Pre-service teachers are taught how to provide opportunities for their students to work with the information using active learning strategies. Many K-12 evaluations are based on some specific ideas behind modeling, and peer to peer interaction which are the base of active learning.

The garden variety "instructor" (that is teacher at a University for those of you taking score) has no training at all to actually teach in the classroom! As an instructional designer/technologist I work with faculty daily. When working with faculty, most of my time is spent on course design and attempting to move them away from the lecture classroom. This is an example where K-12 practices are beginning to infiltrate the University.

Re: Final-Sheehan by christopher sheehanchristopher sheehan, 02 Jul 2014 18:44

Very clear and concise explanation of this issue, which continues to plague education. It is interesting that this type of "active learning" is old news to instructors in a setting we usually would not associate with this style, the military. They have used the method of "see one, do one, teach one" for decades. I would also employ this methodology when I was coaching. There was no bigger boost to the learning curve of players than to have them see a technique, employ the technique in a practice and then game setting, but then finally adapt that technique in a meaningful way to explain and demonstrate it to someone else.

Re: Final-Sheehan by David MarksDavid Marks, 02 Jul 2014 18:31

I wrote my CA#2 on this topic. What I found interesting is the lack of any training or guidance in what homework is. How can we expect teachers to get it right when we are asking them to wing it from day one. I found that "learning labs" a before school after school opportunity to get additional practice for students that need support is the new trend that is overtaking archaic home work practices.

Re: Final Project by christopher sheehanchristopher sheehan, 02 Jul 2014 17:46

Active Learning-Christopher Sheehan

Lecturing has been the primary means of content delivery since Universities first opened their doors. Today at Universities across the country, a shift from lectures to an active learning approach is taking place. According to Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard University and a leader in the active learning movement, lectures do not accomplish nearly as much as teachers and students think. A series of reports beginning in the 1980s by the National Institute of Education (1984), the Association of American Colleges (1985), and also educational studies conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s by scholars including Astin (1987), Boyer (1987) and Tinto (1987), noted that a growing number of institutions began to reform educational practice and restructure classrooms to involve students more actively in learning (Burton 2010).

The word “lecture” comes from the Latin word meaning “to read”. Typically, an instructor stands at the front of the room talking or presenting while the students sit quietly, some taking notes. A famous painting from 1350 by Laurentius de Voltolina shows Henry of Germany delivering a lecture at the University of Bologna. Lectures are often viewed as promoting a one-way transfer of information from the lecturer to the students, who adopt a passive role within the learning environment (Fry, Ketteridge & Marshall, 2006). The painting depicts students seated in rows. Some of the students are talking to each other while other students are sleeping, all while the instructor is presenting to the students.

Lecturing has some obvious limitations. Teachers who primarily lecture assume a great deal about the ability levels and skills of their students. For students to successfully receive lecture based content, the student must have the ability to take notes effectively. Note-taking is a skill that needs to be developed. According to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Center at Columbia University, “students capture only 20-40 percent of a lecturer's main ideas in their notes”. Additionally, for students to receive lecture-based content successfully, the students must have a strong auditory learning style. According to the University of Southern Maine’s Student Success Center, “most students don’t naturally listen in the way that the lecture setting demands, yet 80% of content is gained through listening.”

A large reason for the shift away from lecturing is the technological innovations that are now available in education. According to Dr. Tim Lahey, infectious diseases specialist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, “A large reason for the shift is that much of the information conveyed in a typical lecture is already available for free, at any time, online, freeing up class time for more in-depth, hands-on work.” Many faculty members at universities are now wondering if it still makes sense to deliver a lecture during class time when lectures from the world’s leading instructors are available for students to watch on their own schedule.

Simultaneously, there are other factors influencing the shift away from lecturing. Administrators, parents, politicians, and even advocacy groups want to see evidence that students are truly learning in college, especially for the increasingly large sums of money that students are paying. These external forces agree that instructors cannot continue to just push out information and hope that their students are learning it. If the purpose of a college education is for students to learn, then academe is failing according to Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. The book cites data of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, 45 percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills—including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing—during their first two years of college (Arum and Roksa 2011).

When I was 19 years old I took my first science courses in a university setting. My first science course was an introduction to physics course. I was always a strong math and science student in middle school and high school so I felt comfortable walking into my new science class at the university. I remember walking into the auditorium and thinking I must be in the wrong place or took a wrong turn. I looked around and there were at least 90 people in this class. It turns out that I was in the right spot. I had never experienced a large enrollment course before and for the first time at college, I was a bit overwhelmed. I remember finding a seat about 35 rows from the teacher and settling in. The class started shortly thereafter.

Physics 101 is actually a very difficult course. Physics 101 in a room full of 90 people became extremely difficult. My instructor was a very fast talker. He also got very excited so his tone would fluctuate a great deal giving me a false sense of importance about nearly everything he said. After the first five minutes of class, I found myself attempting to write down nearly everything that he said. Sadly, I was not doing a very good job of it. Soon class was over and many of the students huddled after to clarify aspects of the instructor’s lecture with each other. After a few classes went by, the post-class huddle session quickly became a post-class complaint session. Students were confused about content and as uncomfortable as I was about not being able to ask questions. Although our instructor had a great deal to say about physics, the content was not well organized or easy to follow. It seemed that we were all tasked with learning physics on our own. None of us felt involved in our physics course.

It was after the fourth or fifth class that a group of us headed down to the tutoring area and signed up for additional tutoring. This constituted the first time in my academic career I needed “additional support” and I was a bit frustrated. When we finally met with our tutor, her name was Bina, we all began a series of activities she devised to help us learn physics. We would work through problems as a group and she would regularly stop us and have us discuss with each other the steps that we were completing. Bina would also switch things up about every ten minutes or so, it was very clear to me that Bina had a two-step process for teaching physics. She had the information transfer but she also wanted her students to make sense and assimilate the information. Bina was a great teacher. Bina used active learning strategies.

Recently a meta-analysis of 225 studies published (May 2014) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led by Scott Freeman of the University of Washington found that undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses with a lecture-only format were one-and-a-half times more likely to fail than were those in classes involving some form of active learning. “The change in the failure rates is whopping,” Freeman says. And the exam improvement—about 6%—could, for example, “bump [a student’s] grades from a B– to a B.” Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work commented about the importance of the newly published article, “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.” (Bajak 2014)

According to the University of Minnesota Teaching and Learning Center, “We might think of active learning as an approach to instruction in which students engage the material they study through reading, writing, talking, listening, and reflecting. While this definition could include activities such as homework, active learning is truly the activities that are introduced in the classroom setting. An example of an active learning strategy is the “peer instruction” strategy developed by Eric Manzur. The following excerpt is from a presentation on active learning Mazur did with the faculty at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine on April 4th, 2013."The teacher poses a question to his or her students. The students ponder the question silently and transmit their individual answers using the clickers. The teacher checks the histogram of student responses. If significant numbers of students choose the wrong answer, the teacher instructs the students to discuss the question with their neighbor. After a few minutes of discussion, the students submit their answers again. This technique often (but not always!) results in more students choosing the correct answer as a result of the peer instruction phase of the activity. This is a fairly simple way to use clickers to engage a large number of students in discussions about course material. This approach can also set the stage for a class-wide discussion that more fully engages all students."

In addition to the lecture, another area that active learning is impacting is the physical classroom space. New active learning classrooms are being built at universities across the country with the primary goal of establishing a highly collaborative, hands on, interactive learning environment. The origins of the active learning classroom come from the SCALE-UP project at NC State University. From the original one classroom redesign, at last count there are now over 150 institutions adopting or adapting the SCALE-UP approach. According to the SCALE -UP website “Rigorous evaluations of learning have been conducted in parallel with the curriculum development and classroom design efforts. Besides hundreds of hours of classroom video and audio recordings, different schools have conducted numerous interviews and focus groups, conducted many conceptual learning assessments (using nationally-recognized instruments in a pretest/posttest protocol), and collected portfolios of student work. NC State has data comparing nearly 16,000 traditional and SCALE-UP students taking physics. Their findings can be summarized as the following:
● students' ability to solve problems is improved
● their conceptual understanding is increased
● their attitudes are better
● failure rates (especially for women and minorities) are drastically reduced
● "at risk" students do better in later courses.

It is clear that the lecture will never die, and I am not arguing that it should. I believe there are appropriate times and reasons to deliver content using a lecture. It is also clear that a shift needs to take place from the lecture being the primary content delivery mechanism to much more frequent opportunities for the students to work with the information the instructor is providing, a shift to active learning. Active learning engages the student. The benefits to incorporating active learning are many. They include improved critical thinking skills, increased retention and transfer of new information, increased motivation, and improved interpersonal skills.

References
Anyone Still Listening? Educators Consider Killing the Lecture. (n.d.). MindShift. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/anyone-still-listening-educators-consider-killing-the-lecture
Burton, H. B. (2011). Efficacy of active and collaborative learning environments in community. S.l.: Proquest, Umi Dissertatio.
Felder, R. M. and Brent, R. (2010), The National Effective Teaching Institute: Assessment of Impact and Implications for Faculty Development. Journal of Engineering Education, 99: 121–134. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2010.tb01049.x
Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds. (n.d.). Science/AAAS. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://news.sciencemag.org/education/2014/05/lectures-arent-just-boring-theyre-ineffective-too-study-finds
SCALE-UP. (n.d.). SCALE-UP. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://www.ncsu.edu/per/scaleup.html
Scott Freeman, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics PNAS 2014 111: 8410-8415.
Wasley, P. (2006). Underrepresented students benefit most from engagement. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(13). Retrieved November 18, 2006, from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i13
<What Is Active Learning?. (n.d.). What Is Active Learning?. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/active/what/http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/anyone-still-listening-educators-consider-killing-the-lecture/>
.

Final-Sheehan by christopher sheehanchristopher sheehan, 02 Jul 2014 17:32

Great job laying out the different perspectives Mike. Here are some simple numbers from my perspective when talking about improving teacher effectiveness. I will have about 32 teachers to evaluate in the coming school year. I will be expected to get into each of those classrooms at least twice for informal evaluations of at least 15 minutes, and then one comprehensive evaluation of a full period, There are pre-observation meetings, and post-observation meetings. There are meetings that are dictated by deficiencies, and then inservicing on aspects of the evaluation instrument itself. All of this over the course of 18 weeks, or in reality more like 14 because you have to leave yourself room for the evaluation cycle in the spring as well.

Oh, and as an assistant principal in charge of activities and a grade level of about 800 students, I have a few other things on my plate as well.

Improving instruction? If I am lucky, I might get to do that meaningfully a couple of times a semester.

Re: Final Project by David MarksDavid Marks, 02 Jul 2014 08:24

Thanks Mike, here is an interesting follow up. Many of the people on the "inside", fellow administrators, they already KNOW this, and recited to me that schools are, statistically speaking, substantially safer and less prone to the violence of 20 years ago. But those on the "outside" all were floored when I quoted them some of the statistics, and were all for things like zero tolerance and school-based policing.

Re: Final Project - Marks by David MarksDavid Marks, 02 Jul 2014 08:16

Recently I have had students transfer from my public high school to a charter school. Two of my favorite students were enrolled in my Algebra Applications class. This class is my school’s lowest track for mathematics students that struggle with the subject. These two students were always energetic and eager to learn, but struggled to grasp concepts at the same pace as the majority of their peers. At the end of the year they both came to see me, sad and embarrassed. They had flunked out of public high school and had decided to transfer to a charter school. They said the charter school had much lower expectations for its students and they knew that they would be able to graduate and receive a high school diploma there. This frustrated me an educator that they had an “easier option” at a charter school and that we were not able to retain them as students This experience led me to do some research on charter schools as I was curious why my former students had chosen to pursue that route instead of trying to earn credits back at our public school.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate as a private business with the goal of educating students to the highest levels. These schools have become increasing popular across the United States as many parents have lost their faith in the general education that can be found at traditional public schools. Many “politicians are quick to help open new charter schools and create high levels of optimism but they are reluctant to shut down these same charter schools when they clearly underperform.” (Turnamian, 2011, p. 163) Charter schools depend on state and national funding to operate, but they are not held to the same standards as public schools. Some of the main issues associated with charter schools are accountability, misuse of funds, inability or unwillingness to take on all students and the fact that they are not required to have certified educators and administrators to teach the students. According to Peter Turnamian (2011), a former charter school founder and current elementary principal, “the charter school movement stakes its very effectiveness and value on increased levels of accountability and measurable student achievement results; but it fails to hold itself to these same standards.” Because of this some of the best and worst schools in this country are charter schools.

Today many people view the charter school movement as a modern reform of public education.
There are several historic phenomena that began to resonate with educators, parents, and the general public during the 1980s. These phenomena include: the disillusionment of legislators with public education's ability or inclination to solve the perceived education equity issues, a mainstream-mediated and publicized impression that the United States is falling behind in the world economy … and that the declines are the result of failures of within American public schools, more focus on test results, the opportunity given to parents for choice and control of school and curriculum for their child, and the media reports of high success charter schools. (Knaak and Knaak, 2013) These are all deep public concerns that helped to lead to the creation of the first charter school. “Minnesota opened the first charter school in 1992. Today, 40 states and the District of Columbia have approved them.” (Mooney, 2007) State laws allow for the formation of charter schools either as a completely new school or a district school that can be converted to a charter school. Each state has their own unique law for how charter schools are governed and funded.

In Arizona, charter schools receive funding based on student enrollment and additional funding for those students with disabilities. Charter schools also have access to funds not available to traditional public schools including low-interest loans and federal grants. Arizona law allows charter schools up to $200,000 from Arizona taxpayers for start-up costs and costs associated with renovating or remodeling structures. (Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services, 2014) Unlike district public schools, charter schools have more control of how many and what kind of students that they take on. Charter schools are allowed to limit the number of students that they can service each year and are simply required to have a waiting list for students that do not make the cut. This practice allows schools to discriminate as the students left off the list are not audited by local government. The students that tend to be hit the hardest are special education students with severe disabilities. Garcy (2011) conducted several studies regarding the enrollment of special education students in charter school. His findings were that students who had more severe and expensive disabilities were less likely to attend an Arizona public charter school than a regular district school. He also stated that “charter schools may be able to impede the enrollment of special education students by narrowly defining the educational mission of the school. This makes it improbable or impossible for some special education students to meet the demands of the curriculum.”(Garcy, 2011, p. 3) Demographics for charter schools differ based on location and the mission of each charter school. Some charter schools focus on assisting minority or high-risk students to graduate high school while other charter schools focus on achievement scores and tend to have mostly white populations. Since each school works as its own corporation they each have different goals which lead to varied results.

Charter schools have become prevalent because they promise a better education for students than district public schools can provide. However, how do they perform when actually compared with public schools? The chart below shows the test scores for district public schools compared to charter schools on the AIMS test in 2009. Looking at the results, it is clear that in the top three categories, excelling, highly performing and performing plus, charter schools have a smaller percentage of schools that received the high marks when compared with traditional schools. (Arizona Education Network, 2009)

(Not able to copy and paste here, please see my word document for chart)

These results tend to disprove the promise offered by many charter schools and if that promise is not kept, one has to wonder what other problems are associated with charter schools?

The main idea of charter schools is that they will operate as a private corporation outside of the state’s traditional educational system so that they can focus on learning as opposed to dealing with the bureaucracy that is associated with district public schools. However, the “trouble is that deregulation creates opportunities for mountebanks to pilfer the public purse, abuse children, and the like. As a matter of fact, to the extent that charter operators have freedom of action, the confidence tricksters and bunko artists among them find opportunities for fraud and misuse of public funds. (Clabaugh, 2009, p. 85) There are many examples that give credence to the issues mentioned above. Clabaugh (2009) discussed one such charter school in Philadelphia that the local newspaper reported had been involved in multiple scandals including diverting funds to its owning group to be used in other businesses and was being investigated by local law enforcement. The school was also only using 38.4 percent of the school’s budget for instructional purposes and test scores were dropping dramatically. Knaak and Knaak (2013) also stated that two charter schools in Pennsylvania were under investigation. At the first charter school, the school’s operator hired family members and routinely made purchases from companies he owned. The second charter school was investigated for high administrative expenses, including millions of dollars paid in rent, management fees, and salaries that went to a for-profit company associated with the school. These problems are a byproduct of the lack of accountability that states have for charter schools and display the vulnerabilities of the charter school system. Charter schools are growing rapidly every year and many parents are choosing to take students out of traditional public schools. Based on the research and statistics presented, being in a charter school is not necessarily a good thing for a student. Of course, there are some excellent charter schools out there; however there simply are not enough guidelines for how these schools should be run to make up for all of the charter schools that are misusing funds and taking advantage of our students.

“The charter school movement has attained acclaim as educational reform that is not sustained by juried research or evidential experience. Charter schools will likely continue to function in the United States because of influential backers … However … they are a failed initiative.” (Knaak and Knaak, 2013, p. 52-53) Charter schools should not be allowed to continue to function as they currently are in present day. Failure to address the issues presented by them will only lead to more potential issues and problems. Politicians and media love to create big, splashy success stories for charter schools because they are an easy story as opposed to looking at the underlying problems and solutions to our traditional public education system. Many people tend to forget the public education system exists to educate all students to the best of our abilities. Clearly, not all charter schools are accomplishing that goal. According to Turnamian (2011) the charter school movement must shrink, not expand. Failing and mediocre charter schools need to be closed and their resources returned to the traditional public school system. There is simply no reason to continue to put our faith in charter schools. The very way in which they were created allows for a lack of accountability and if charter schools are handled in the same way as traditional schools than there is no need for their existence.

References

Arizona Education Network. (2009). Arizona Schools – Quick Facts. Retrieved from http://www.arizonaeducationnetwork.com/2009/05/school-information/

Clabaugh, G. K. Deregulation and Charter School Swindles: When the Cat's Away…Educational Horizons, 87(2), 82-87 Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.nau.edu/ehost/detail
?vid=8&sid=4d0846e7-8579-4673-8cd2-8748f2a23960%40sessionmgr4003&hid=4111&bdata
=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eft&AN=508119326

Garcy, A. M. (2011) High Expense: Disability Severity and Charter School Attendance in Arizona. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 79(6), 1-27 Retrieved from http://eds.a.
ebscohost.com.libproxy.nau.edu/ehost/detail?vid=8&sid=4d0846e7-8579-4673-8cd2-8748f2a23960%40sessionmgr4003&hid=4111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eft&AN=508180302

Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services. “Arizona Charter Schools Want Bigger Share of State Funds” The Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved form http://azstarnet.com/search/?l=50&sd=desc&s
=start_time&f=html&byline=By%20Howard%20Fischer%0ACapitol%20Media%20Services

Knaak, W. C. & Knaak J. T. (2013) Charter Schools: Educational Reform or Failed Initiative? Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 79(4), 45-53 Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.
nau.edu/ehost/detail?vid=5&sid=4d0846e7-8579-4673-8cd28748f2a23960%40sessionmgr
4003&hid=4111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eft&AN=88216774

Mooney, Karen. “The ABC’s of Charter Schools” Abc News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.
com/WN/Spotlight/story?id=3700261&page=1

Turnamian, P. (2011) What I've Learned about Charter Schools after Ten Years on the Front Lines. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 47(4), 162-165 Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.
libproxy.nau.edu/ehost/detail?vid=7&sid=4d0846e7-8579-4673-8cd2 8748f2a23960%40
sessionmgr4003&hid=4111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eft&AN=508443457

Final Project by Kim HendersonKim Henderson, 02 Jul 2014 06:59

Nice work David,
I find it is difficult to find one system in any organization that everyone will be happy with.
Good Job

Re: Final Project - Marks by mkh29mkh29, 02 Jul 2014 06:04

I can definitely see the effects of good homework assignments. I do feel it is the teachers digression. As long as the teachers in communication with others and the student does not end up with a night of frustration attempting to complete too much homework.

Re: Final Project by mkh29mkh29, 02 Jul 2014 05:59

Public education [American] has historically been associated politics and power (Robertson 1996). From the earlier years the ideas of controlling the masses and providing the country with an employable workforce were implemented through the public schools. These ideas of education have been talked about (Everhart 2006) in terms of three periods. The second and third periods of education are considered overlapping and concurrent. By providing an education to the public those in power could use education to provide those that recently immigrated to the Americans a basic education and submerge immigrant children in the American belief system. The main focus of education of this time period, from about the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, was that of school attendance (Everhart 2006). That is that public schools expanded to include high school. During this time the attendance of more affluent families was considerably greater than that of lower economic status. Along these lines whites attended more than minorities and boys more than girls. While the school attendance expectations increased, the numbers of girls and minorities that met this expectation was considerably lower than that of white, males. The schools function during this period was to create a sustainable workforce that could meet the needs of industry.
Further into the 20th century, the expectations of schools morphed into one of access. Through the court system and federal actions this movement helped to place students from diverse backgrounds and social economic status in the same classrooms with the more affluent. While it can be argued that we are still in this movement today, the idea of access to education is considered attained. To delve into this is an entirely separate issue. Throughout this time period the idea of school completion was the focus and high school gradation was the pinnacle.
Moving toward the period we are currently in, achievement has come to the forefront of public school concerns. Many concerns and issues have surfaced in respect to this time of education. What should students learn? How do we know they have achieved a sufficient level of understanding? What is a sufficient level of understanding? How do we meet the needs of exceptional learners with these standards? In an attempt to address these questions as well as others that are not listed is an overwhelming task of schools. Despite the main controversy of who developed the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the highlighted concern of this writing is the funding of this initiative.
The CCSS, according to Wallender (2014) is encompassed by four main initiatives: creating common educational standards, preparing students for college, stressing quality education for all students, and increasing rigor in schools. The need for these four initiatives is no doubt a benefit to education, but the stress is coming from the discussions about how do we fund the increased rigor, when we know we have diverse learners and a financial strapped tax base. According to Everhart (2006) “ The wealthiest members of our society continue to grow not only through their wages but also through the earnings of their investments, the value of their real estate, and their access to tax advantages that those without money cannot claim.” It is through the use of these and other advantages that the tax burden to fund public education shifts to the disproportionate middle and lower classes. According to Sedensky (2004) “The wealthiest 20% of income earners now receive more than 50% of the income generated within the U.S., while the poorest 20% share a token 3.5%.” Even more upsetting is the Congressional Budget Office report that indicates 33% of federal income tax reductions have been given to the top 1% of income earners. The disadvantages that middle and low income earners are facing is appalling but when we look at the breaks given to corporations it can make one down right sick. Taxes paid by corporations have (Phillips 2002) decreased from 26% in 1950 to 10% in 2000. Phillips (2002) also stated how states are collecting fewer income taxes from corporations; the amount of revenue generated has dropped form 45% in 1970 to 16% in 2000. This means that the amount of individual taxes paid by the wealthy has decreased. Coupled with corporations paying fewer taxes, it is not hard to figure out what the income level of the corporate owners and CEO’s falls into, the tax burden falls right down upon the middle and lower classes. With the majority of financial support coming from these overtaxed individuals and smaller companies, education has had to turn to alternative sources for assistance.
Enter the new philosophy of our large philanthropic foundations. In the past foundations have invested in research (Katz 2012). The use of long-term strategies and goals to find solutions to underlying problems was the focus of foundations in the past. The idea of improving society by getting to the root of its issues was the main focus of their investments. As our society has become more enamored with instantaneous gratification, we tend to think as today’s young learners. As a student receives immediate notice of reaching a new high score or leveling up in their video games, education has adopted this desire for instant results. As Katz (2012) says, “A mood of impatience and frustration with that approach emerged. New foundations (whose leadership is frequently drawn from business) have turned to “strategic” grant-making geared to “effectiveness”.” This new strategic mode that these foundations are adopting is adjusting the focus of the educational institutions that they are in contact with. This includes the connections between the Gates Foundation and the Obama administration’s Department of Education. These new strategic organizations have stressed measurable outcomes and time frames to meet the requirements of the funding they are providing. Through the schools financial needs and the constraints provided by these new educational funders, schools are finding themselves at the mercy of big businesses. The increased political presences of these strategic foundations are also creating a stir in education. Not only are schools having to answer to the companies that are directly assisting them, they find that the political influences of these foundations is redesigning the educational playground. Robertson (1996) noted how American Express entered a partnership with a high school in Canada, and mandated that a class on travel and tourism be integrated into the curriculum. The financial power of these foundations and their growing network of influence have lead to the expansion of their realm. For instance, many of the Gates Foundation officers have been appointed to the Obama administration’s Department of Education by Arne Duncan (Katz 2012), these types of actions has increased the amount of influence the foundation possess.
These foundations and government officials want us to believe that corporations hold the key to fixing education. They contend that we are not performing like other countries. Notably South Korea, Finland and Singapore. In an article written by Michael Martin (2010), Arizona School Boards member, he outlines that the comparison and before mentioned solutions are far fetched. He tells how these countries use approaches to education that would be nearly impossible to implement here in the United States. The most prominent point is that these countries provide teachers with time to improve their skills through collaboration and peer observations. “Evaluations are supportive rather than punitive” (Martin 2012). Salaries and public respect for education and educators has been developed throughout their education system. It is not to say they do not have issues, they do have difficulty in filling high needs positions; their system is fundamentally different than ours. In funding they do not use a locally based school finance systems, so they are able to fund poor and affluent schools relatively equally. Being continually compared to these other systems brings to mind how foundations are throwing money at education and how this is not just for the good of the students.
Reading through reports and articles about how our education system is failing, it has brought many things to mind. The foundation that which our educational system has been built has always served an alternative purpose. In the early days it was to provide a workforce to supply the needs of industrialization. The needs of all learners were not taken into account during this period and many fell into lower classes. The ideology of social humanity grew in the next period. Our concern for all members of society shaped education during this period and continues to be adjusted to this day. Developing the minds of all learners is the current concentration of influence on education in our country. As social classes grow further and further apart, education is seeking alternative forms of financial support. In doing so, leaders and those in power, have created ventures that will increase their wealth and standing. Thus, perpetuating the separation of classes. All along selling to the masses that this is what is need to be more like other educational affluent countries. What really needs to happen is that since we desire a model to follow, why not adopt the practices of Singapore, Finland and South Korea (the big three). Make teaching a more selective profession by doing as the countries mention before do. That means increased investment in teachers from educating to salaries. Also we would need to allow teachers to have more of a say in the curriculum, evaluations and textbook adoptions, just as the big three do. Time for professional development and teacher collaboration is part of the standard operating procedures of these countries as well. These foundations look to successful business models to create their empires, so why don’t they support a swing in education to emulate these high achieving countries? The belief that they will incur a loss of control and power over the masses is the main reason. The association with politics and power must be severed in order for this to take place and that would be a threat to all of the members of the top 20% and their hold on the over 50% of over all income in our country.

Bibliography
Everhart, R. (2006, September). Why Are Schools Always Begging for Money? Phi Delta Kappan , 71-75.
Katz, S. N. (2012). Beware big donors. Chronicle of Higher Education,
Martin, M. (2010). McKinsey report analysis. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://susanohanian.org/show_research.php?id=370
Phillips, K. (2002). Wealth and democracy. (pp. 149). New York: Broadway Books.
Robertson, H. (1996). Whose business is education? Canadian Dimension, 30(6), 31.
Sedensky, M. (2004, August 17). Income gap up over two decades, data show. Associated Press.
Wallender, J. (2014). The common core state standards in American public education: Historical underpinnings and justifications. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 80(4), 7-11.

Final Project by mkh29mkh29, 02 Jul 2014 05:55

Marlena,
Good paper! Homework is definitely a tricky thing but I think you have a good point of view!

Re: Final Project by Ashley BashamAshley Basham, 02 Jul 2014 05:46

Completely agree! Subs should be highly qualified. When I am out of the class for some reason I would like to know that my students are in good hands.

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