Ruminations*: Reformer Plans For Athletics

by EdwardBerger on March 22, 2015

The powerful education reform movement is well underway. Taxpayers must be pleased with the progress so far. Legislators have turned the distribution of public tax dollars collected for public schools over to irresponsible hedge fund billionaires, profit-driven companies like Pearson PLC, foundations run by proven ‘winners’ like Eli Broad, Billy Gates, and the Waltons, and compromised public servants placed in the USDOE and the Departments of Education in most states.

The success of the privatization (pronounced reform) movement has led to new thinking based upon reliable profit-generating information.

The next targets, according reliableto word on the street, are the terribly wasteful and ill-managed athletic programs now being run by our public schools and universities.

The analysts are drooling as they peruse financial data from middle schools, high schools, community colleges, state colleges and especially major universities. The information of projected earning potential for corporate citizens is motivational. This new wealth pool will enhance every portfolio. It projects the income from the “gifting” of public facilities to corporations, and the operation of corporatized athletics. Most encouraging is that precedents already exists in most states for turning over facilities paid for by local citizens, to charter (pronounced partial) schools. New York City is a classic example of this. None dare call it theft because the distribution of public resources is the responsibility of legislatures.

Stripping athletics and athletic programs from public schools provides the seed money that will enhance investors and provide corporate sports (pronounced gladiatorial) events for the public.

Let’s postulate using the State of Arizona as a model. Arizona has been leading the privatizing and profiteering movement for over twenty years. Arizona has three outstanding universities, each with big budget athletic programs. The University of Arizona has approx. 45,000 enrolled. The University of Northern Arizona enrolls about 23,000, and Arizona State University has the largest enrollment at over 80,000 – plus the massive potential cash-cow, Sun Devils Stadium.

The newly elected Governor follows a long line of state officials who have been placed through gerrymandering, through control of the primaries, by ALEC members (American Legislative Exchange Council), and by the Koch-John Birch Society cults who run the state. The Governor has clearly stated “… I want to change the way money is spent to put more dollars in the classroom.” He is chopping-slashing-destroying university and public school budgets one might guess, to establish the need for athletic reform. The elephant in the room is literally sitting on billions of dollars that they claim do not benefit the classroom.

As a review of recent leadership decisions at ASU, for example, shows that the privatization of university resources is already being considered. Many Libertarians and ‘true-believers’ have been working on these reforms for years. Charter schools are denied athletic stadiums or even competitive athletic programs. Legislators have required that these partial schools be able to use public school facilities, which creates chaos and brings us one step closer to the need for corporate run athletic programs.

When those who manage by facts and profit-potential take over the athletic programs in our schools these amazing things will happen:
1) The silly and controversial rules about academic eligibility will end. Being a good athlete is not dependent on ability to read, compute, or make grades. Athletic eligibility will be based on performance measured by value added to the corporation. Athletes may be required to take on-line courses, but even that may not be necessary.
2) Competitive sports at the high school level will be removed from the control of educators and elected school boards and taken over by competitively selected corporate program managers. The best athletes from a region or group of schools will represent corporate banners and totemic symbols in the corporate games. Public school schedules will be arranged by the corporate leaders to provide time for students to attend required athletic events. Admission to the corporate games will be paid by the taxpayers of course.
3) To support the stripping-off of athletic facilities, corporations can lease stadiums and training facilities for as little as a dollar a year. Out of necessity, the taxpayers will continue to be responsible for upkeep and maintenance. Surely the benefits to the greater community outweigh the costs to local schools and taxpayers.
4) Schools will be able to focus on academics (pronounced test prep) and most important, the tests necessary to collect information about racial limitations, future potential, social class, and family social, mental health, and economic status.
5) Extracurricular activities like pep rallies, cheer leading, and marching bands at halftime will be ‘away from school’ corporate responsibilities. The training of musicians is obviously something that can best be left to the schools.
6) Using the non-profit NBA model, all earnings from these corporate athletic programs will go to investors pronounced oligarchy) and to high salaries for the best managers. There will be a pay scale that guarantees athletes are compensated adequately, although many powerful business men and women are in favor of the Iron Law of Wages, which creates motivation and hard work.

Reliable sources assert that as wonderful as this reform movement sounds, it may be a year or two before objections can be stifled and the first Athletic Reform Movement succeeds. It will be difficult to strip the athletic supporters away from the old guard as their jobs in public school sports programs are eliminated, but look to Arizona to lead the way. Arizona may be the first state to have an Athletic Reform Governor working with athletic supporters in the Legislature.

*Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia


Saving Community Schools

by EdwardBerger on January 18, 2015

“We did not declare this war, but we have to win it.”
Diane Ravitch

1. Define what is worth saving

Parents across America are fighting for quality education. There are many options, but only one addresses the needs of the complete child: Comprehensive Education. What is that? It is a well-balanced curriculum like the curricula found in public schools that introduces every child to the ways of thinking in at least ten disciplines.

It is a curriculum that begins pre-K and extends through the university level. It is a foundation approach that creates threads running through each level of schooling, becoming more pronounced and visible in secondary schools where the disciplines are studied separately, but in an interdisciplinary manner.

Teaching is done on a continuum. The acquisition of learning skills and knowledge is not a one-time, one shot approach to educating a child. Taking a child out of this skills-building education approach has lasting damage. Even a “good” partial school breaks these threads and often is unable to provide the foundation skills every child needs.

Most parents understand the importance of the K-12 approach to teaching and learning. Before removing their child from a public school with a comprehensive program, they explore other options their school district provides. (For example, changing teachers or exploring a different approach to mastery).

Over 90 % of parents trust and want to save public district schools. The reasons for the war we have to win is that profiteers and ideologues have severely damaged our schools by financial starvation and campaigns of misinformation. The main reason for this is that they want access to the tax dollars we citizens pay for public education. They do not want community elected school boards. They want only minimal accountability and that only in areas where they assume they can provide better test scores. For-profit partial schools take approximately 30% out of the money the state provides for each child and puts it in private pockets. Yes, there are well-meaning people who really believe they can take over and do education better. None – I must repeat that, NONE – have demonstrated that they can provide quality comprehensive schools that work for the whole child.

Think about your public school experiences. Outside of class, many other very important activities were supported by the school. Clubs played a major role in introducing students to different ways of thinking. Astronomy may not have been taught as a course but there was probably an astronomy club. If you were not out for a sport, there were intramural opportunities to learn games and sportsmanship. Work-study programs and field trips provided real adventures in the world outside of school. The school paper, the annual staff, theater, the arts, marching band, competitions like We The People, and so many more opportunities were available. Our public schools provide so much more.

Combined with the threads of learning and thinking in many disciplines, these activities – including play and physical movement – must be present for all children. These are the components of comprehensive education.

2. How to win the war

A majority of parents, teachers, and community members want to win this war. But how?

We must stop assuming that people know what public schools do. Identify the strengths of your public schools. Their staff. Their graduates. The history of your district schools. Be able to explain how important our schools are to the community and what they do. Be able to explain the damage a partial school can do to children and to community.

Prepare so that you can explain what teacher certification requires. How teachers train to be experts in their fields and understand how learning takes place. Be able to go into depth about how certified, experienced teachers identify learning styles, learning readiness, developmental readiness, and overcoming the effects of disabilities,poverty and other negative factors. These skills are not “gut feelings.” Untrained and un-vetted individuals are not good teachers. Nor would they be good doctors or good accountants. They may be caring people, but that doesn’t make them good educators. Teachers are trained and prepared to deal with the needs of children. It does not come naturally.

Form a community education group working with the district administration, teachers, and key community leaders. Focus on educating your community. You must counter the misinformation and lies put out by those who intend to kill public education and the teaching profession.

The most important rule that all must remember and follow is:Ownership through contribution.

Get locals involved in the solutions and they will have ownership. Ownership is the basic element in contribution. Donations of time and money flow from ownership. Votes for overrides and bonds flow from ownership.

I have never seen a program or ‘fundraising’ succeed if the people who are asked for help do not know they are an important part of the solution.

Finally, fight like hell! You have the majority on your side. When you ask, you will find the community is already sold on quality schools. Educate and ask!Talk about children and their needs, not administration needs or operational costs. Those issues fall into line when you serve children.


BARBERISM Raises Its Head

January 1, 2015

Let’s agree to use simple terms to describe complex matters. Think of a sieve used for separating coarse, from fine parts of matter. Now imagine people who believe that running students through a sieve built of data will allow them to correct or remove unacceptable thinking – like getting rid of individuality, and those who […]

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Charter Schools are Set-up To Fail

December 18, 2014

For many years, I have written about the charter school movement. As you know, I label the majority of these schools “Partial Schools,” because they deprive students of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum. They discount the need for teacher certification and experience, and they duplicate many services and programs the taxpayers are already providing. What happened […]

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Arizona Ethics? The Most Corrupt State? How Corruption Affects Arizona Schools

December 8, 2014

According to researchers at the Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center For Ethics, I live in a State that is home to the most political corruption in America. I am 75-years old and have been an educator all my life. I have taught, mentored, pioneered, and researched. I am a leader in experiential education. I […]

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We Need To Know … We Don’t Want To Know

November 23, 2014

IS EDUCATION REALLY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO All CHILDREN? If so, where are the follow-up studies of those dropped on their heads by the schools? We don’t have information – at least not in any district or charter schools I know of – about the kids pushed out of schools. We like to call them […]

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President Obama Destroyed His Educator Base

November 6, 2014

The Obama administration, and especially Arne Duncan, dealt a blow to educators, parents and educated citizens when they sided with corporations like Pearson, and those who believe a punishing blow to teachers and public community schools will improve American education. The USDOE is now an agency without credibility, driven by ideologies that are not based […]

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Opening The Door To the Space In-Between

September 4, 2014

There are questions we don’t ask because…? Maybe we never thought about the possibilities and couldn’t form the question. Or, maybe we thought about the possibilities and decided that what we imagined couldn’t happen – even if the changes wrought would make a significant contribution. This is a true story, my story as a young […]

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Focus On The Children – What We Do for Them And to Them

August 23, 2014

Many communities are fighting to save their public schools. When the administrators and elected board members interface with their communities to pass bond issues or stop the drain of students pulled away by partial schools, they assume everyone knows they are fighting for kids. That must be the reason they don’t focus on education issues. […]

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August 9, 2014

NOW THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE… While America was asleep at least three groups have moved to control American Education: Group one, the most damaging, is motivated by gaining access to the tax dollars citizens pay for public education. They hide behind a pretense of serving children and building America’s future. They are ruthless pirates who […]

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