Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating (Salon.com)

The “tl;dr” version is the current-day “education reform” efforts are not true populist grass-roots movements.  The so-called “reform” efforts are the illegitimate love-child of conservative ideology and corporate greed.

The “reform” efforts were defeated in Colorado, Idaho, and Indiana.  Maybe one day the same thing will happen in Louisiana.

You can read the Salon.com coverage here.

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14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools (MotherJones)

You won’t believe the crazy ideas being taught in Louisiana taxpayer-funded voucher schools.

“Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time” … “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ” … “[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross”

All of this and more will be taught in Louisiana schools using taxpayer dollars:

Thanks to a new law privatizing public education in Louisiana, Bible-based curriculum can now indoctrinate young, pliant minds with the good news of the Lord—all on the state taxpayers’ dime.

Under Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program, considered the most sweeping in the country, Louisiana is poised to spend tens of millions of dollars to help poor and middle-class students from the state’s notoriously terrible public schools receive a private education. While the governor’s plan sounds great in the glittery parlance of the state’s PR machine, the program is rife with accountability problems that actually haven’t been solved by the new standards the Louisiana Department of Education adopted two weeks ago.

For one, of the 119 (mostly Christian) participating schools, Zack Kopplin, a gutsy college sophomore who’s taken to Change.org to stonewall the program, has identified at least 19 that teach or champion creationist nonscience and will rake in nearly $4 million in public funding from the initial round of voucher designations.

Many of these schools, Kopplin notes, rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based “facts,” such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience that researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra have thankfully pored over so the rest of world doesn’t have to.

Gutting the public education system in Louisiana in favor of teaching nonsense will not prepare our citizens for the 21st century.  And we won’t be able to attract the best in business and academia with Gov. Jindal’s so-called “reforms.”

You can read the rest of this story online here.

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Won’t Back Down: Myth-Making Can’t Stand Up to Real Life Education Heroes” (Beacon Press Blog)

Here’s an essay about the movie Won’t Back Down  from Nancy Schniedewind (Professor at SUNY New Paltz and co-editor with Mara Sapon-Shevin of Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education) and Julie Woestehoff  (contributor to Educational Courage):

Walden Media’s Won’t Back Down portrays the heroism of one parent and one teacher fighting harmful educational practices by taking over their school. Their victory is as mythic as it is misleading. Those who should be celebrated by such media attention are the real-life heroes at the grassroots who have been fighting for meaningful educational change day-to-day, year-to-year.

You can read the rest of the story online here.

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“School reform’s propaganda flick” (salon.com)

More about right-wing funded corporate propaganda disguised as a major motion picture:

The first thing to know about Friday’s opening of the school-choice drama “Won’t Back Down” is that the film’s production company specializes in children’s fantasy fare such as the “Tooth Fairy” and “Chronicles of Narnia” series. The second thing is that this company, Walden Media, is linked at the highest levels to the real-world adult alliance of corporate and far-right ideological interest groups that constitutes the so-called education reform movement, more accurately described as the education privatization movement. The third thing, and the one most likely to be passed over in the debate surrounding “Won’t Back Down” (reviewed here, and not kindly, by Salon’s own Andrew O’Hehir), is that Walden Media is itself an educational content company with a commercial interest in expanding private-sector access to American K-12 education, or what Rupert Murdoch, Walden’s distribution partner on “Won’t Back Down,” lip-lickingly calls “a $50 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

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Won’t Back Down: Why do teachers’ unions hate America?” (salon.com)

Andrew O’Hehir’s column on Salon.com describes this movie as ” … an offensive, lame, union-bashing drama, which somehow stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal.”

Here are a few excerpts from this article:

So teachers’ unions don’t care about kids. Oh, and luck is a foxy lady. This is what I took away from the inept and bizarre “Won’t Back Down,” a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product. Someone needs to launch an investigation into what combination of crimes, dares, alcoholic binges and lapses in judgment got Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal into this movie. Neither of them seems likely to sympathize with its thinly veiled labor-bashing agenda and, way more to the point, I thought they had better taste. Maybe it was that actor-y thing where they saw potential in their characters – a feisty, working-class single mom for Gyllenhaal, a sober middle-class schoolteacher for Davis – liked the idea of working together and didn’t think too much about the big picture.

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Doonesbury tackles Louisiana science education (16 September 2012)

Doonsbury 16 September 2012

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“School vouchers are only beginning” (shreveporttimes.com)

More info on Gov. Jindal’s so-called “education reform” measures:

Of Louisiana’s 700,000 public school students back in class, 7,000, 1 percent, are attending private or church schools on state-funded vouchers. The proportion suggests that for all the commotion, from the Legislature to the courts, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s scholarship program will do neither much good nor much harm to the great mass of schoolchildren.

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