Monday, March 07, 2005

Odds and Ends

Here's a note from Sue Allison of Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing. She makes some great points about the latest attack on high schools, including:

"Bill Gates' biggest mistake was to hitch his wagon to Achieve Inc. guys, the corporate shills who have been crisscrossing the country celebrating the fact that Massachusetts denied 4,800 diplomas to seniors who were supposed to graduate in 2003. These fellows insist that they are fighting to lower the drop-out rate and to get more kids into college while in truth they are fighting to make sure we deny diplomas and thereby ruin college plans of students who have earned their diplomas fair and square by doing acceptable work in our classrooms."

Go get 'em Sue! There's also a great quote from Paul Wellstone at the end.

And here's one from the Dallas Morning News. It's about Sandy Kress:

" He's a lawyer, a lobbyist, an education policy wonk and a once-prominent Democrat who became a top adviser to Republicans. And today, at age 55, Mr. Kress is among the most influential players in the education-industrial complex... "One of the things that irritates people is that he wraps George W. Bush around his neck like a mink stole, and he is really this highly paid hired gun who opens up education markets for big companies," said Carolyn Boyle, a former PTA mom who lobbies to maintain funding for public schools...Mr. Bush saw him as the perfect choice to shepherd No Child Left Behind through Congress. Mr. Kress got much of the credit for passing the law. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called him the president's "smooth talker."... Rarely mentioned publicly, however, are Mr. Kress' connections to powerful companies and business associations that have a stake in a $500-billion-a-year public education machine fueled by a politically volatile mix of federal, state and local taxes."

This one really is worth the read.

And finally one from
Duncan Waite of the San Antonio Express-News. He writes about the recent attempt in Texas to get the "business model" into schools. As he says,

"Think HMOs. Think Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae, Tyco, the Securities and Exchange Commission, JP Morgan Chase, Bristol-Myers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Halliburton and Arthur Andersen. The list of recent corporate scandals goes on.

Is this the model we want for our schools — a slippery ethical footing where almost anything is justified in pursuit of profit?"

I whole heartily endorse his final comment, "The business model is a bad idea for education. Let's keep public schools public."

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