I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Halliburton High: It's Spreading

Here's a fun game for the summer! Below are several stories about education; can you spot the pattern?

Major execs invested in Hall

In February 2010, some of Atlanta’s top business leaders realized they had a problem.
For a decade, they had aligned themselves with Beverly Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. They willingly accepted Hall’s story line of rebirth in an urban school system. They promoted and sometimes exaggerated Hall’s achievements — for her benefit and for their own.
State officials, though, were suggesting gains by Atlanta schools resulted from widespread cheating. Suddenly, the deal between Hall and the business community took on Faustian overtones.
The way business leaders responded underscores their complicity in creating the fa├žade of success that hid a decade of alleged wrongdoing, an examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. Their reaction also hints at the role business executives might take in rebuilding the school district’s reputation amid Hall’s departure and a still-unfolding cheating scandal. [emphasis mine]

Gates Foundation launching new CMS PR blitz

To those of you concerned about big-money foundations and their influence on local schools, hold onto your hats: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today is announcing a new public relations campaign on behalf of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Given all the uproar over expanded testing, performance-pay and other initiatives critics see as being driven by foundations like Gates and Broad, this one is sure to attract a lot of attention. You can read some of what we've written about the influence of foundations on school reform here. [emphasis mine]

The Widening Murdoch Scandal and the Wireless No-Bid Contracts

NYC's former Chancellor, Joel Klein, now works for Murdoch, and has been put in charge of his "internal investigation" of this scandal. At the same time, questions have been raised surrounding several no-bid contracts that the NY State Education Department and the NYC Department of Education intend to award Wireless Generation, the company that Murdoch bought immediately after Klein announced he would run Murdoch's new online learning division. The state no-bid contract is $27 million for Wireless to build a statewide version of ARIS, the expensive data system that has received widespread criticism from NYC parents, teachers, and principals alike, who say that there are far less expensive and more useful data systems available. There are also troubling conflict of interest questions, given that these contracts were announced shortly before and after Joel Klein's departure from the DOE. See also the summary of this controversy from Think Progress.[emphasis mine]

Get to Know an EduScammer: David Tepper

This rich parasite is now channeling his loot into destroying public education to make way for the Wall Street takeover, using money he gained from the same taxpayers he is now disenfranchising! 
Just another in a long line of unsavory characters behind the Corporate takeover of public education "education reform."[emphasis mine]

President Obama’s unusual education roundtable

President Obama hosted an education roundtable at the White House on Monday and I’ll give you one chance to guess who wasn’t high on the guest list.
[Story then lists all the CEOs invited to the roundtable; no educators are listed] 
There’s no reason not to believe that Obama personally has respect for teachers and the hard job that they have. The problem is that his policies don’t show it, and education roundtables with corporate leaders serve only to underscore that sad reality. America’s CEOs have enough problems keeping their own businesses running. They should leave education to educators. [emphasis mine]

Hmmm.... let's see: test cheating scandals, paying to influence public policy, no-bid contracts and cronyism, Wall Street vultures funding education astroturfing, CEOs setting policy without educators...

Gosh, what could they all have in common?

(Drew Sheneman from the Star-Ledger)

And the Halliburtonization of our schools continues apace.

Since all of these captains of industry seem to be for "data driven" reforms, may I be so rude as to point out a few facts about their performance?

CEO pay has soared while average worker pay stagnated and the minimum wage dropped.
And we all know the unemployment rate is awful.

Maybe American business needs to get its own damn house in order before they start telling those of us who actually teach kids how to do our jobs.


calugg said...

Actually, there are a host of things educators could recommend to companies to help their bottom lines.

1. Invest in people for the long term.
2. Continuous professional development for every member of your organization (from custodians to CEOs) is key.
3. Micromanaging (see testing mania) is de-skilling and morale killing.
4. Rewards, even small and symbolic, are better motivators than sanctions (and real rewards, not trash).
5. Pay a living wage to every single person in the organization.
6. Promote talent from within and make sure there are multiple pathways for advancement.
7. Make sure the pay distribution is fair (no outrageous outliers on either end of the TOTAL compensation scale for the organization).
8. Encourage constructive dissent. You have talented people, make the most of it.

Anyone care to add?

Duke said...

Maybe we should have a teacher roundtable on reforming business at the White House...

calugg said...

Duke, absolutely. I think most public school teachers are fabulous at human resource development. How many other fields can say that?