User:Jon Awbrey/BCE

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Jun 26, 2011 — Reform At Expense Of Our Schools

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BCE -- Reform At Expense Of Our Schools

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Brenda J. Pickett • “Reform At Expense Of Our Schools” (June 26, 2011)

• http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20110627/OPINION03/106270302/Reform-expense-our-schools

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Comment 1

Here's a current article on what the research is saying —

David Bloomfield • “Research Calls Data-Driven Education Reforms Into Question”

• http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bloomfield/education-reform-standardized-testing_b_882718.html

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Comment 2

I always love it when Billionaire Boys' Clubbers, Corporate CEOs, and Emergency Manglers have the unmitigated gall to call public school teachers “greedy”.

Seriously, People, you haven't seen greed and wheeler-dealer corruption until you get the *real* experts into the game — private corporations who can use their very “privacy” to keep the Public from finding out where the money went until it's way too late.

Just to recall this week's example —

Detroit Free Press • “Under Bobb, Consultants Got Raises, Perks” (June 24, 2011)

• http://www.freep.com/article/20110624/NEWS01/106240443/Under-Bobb-consultants-got-raises-perks

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Comment 3 (Reply)

You are missing the point that the Detroit Public School system has been under State control for a decade now.  Robert Bobb was the last Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) under the old law, and Roy Roberts is the current Emergency Manager (EM) under the new law, Public Act 4.

EFM Robert Bobb is the person responsible for Managing the Emergency in DPS, and he did a bang-up job of magnifying the emergency beyond all previous magnitudes.  Unlike teachers, however, no politician would one ever suggest that Emergency Magnifiers should be evaluated on the basis of their performance.  They and their corporate consultant cronies get their golden parachutes no matter what they do.  That is the rule, of course.  Captains of Industry always manage to have their private lifeboats at the ready just before the ship goes down.

It's what they call “Just In Time Management”.

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Comment 4

The following Facebook page is a good resource for learning how communities across the nation are dealing with the ongoing degradation of their public education systems.

Wear Red For Public Ed • http://www.facebook.com/wearredforpubliced

Many people across the country are beginning to realize that there is a coordinated campaign by corporate-dominated State governments to turn back the clock on American education to the days and ways of private privilege we once had the good sense to revolt against.

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Comment 5

Here's a good update on some of the things that educators, parent activists, and others will be doing over the Summer to protect our system of democratic education from hostile takeover by corporations, ideologues, and other private interests.

Education Week • “Frustrated Educators Aim To Build Grassroots Movement”

• http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/06/15/35activists_ep.h30.html

<quote>
Thousands of educators, parent activists, and others are expected to convene in the heat and humidity of Washington next month for a march protesting the current thrust of education policy in the United States, especially the strong emphasis on test-based accountability.

Organizers say the effort aims to galvanize and give voice to those who believe policymakers, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and state governors, have gone astray in their remedies for improving American schools.
</quote>

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Comment 6 (Reply)

I completed my elementary and secondary education more than — he clicks his calculator app — 44 years ago, mostly in public schools, but with a brief stint in a parochial school and another in a military school. I have come to the late realization that those early teachers gave me more than I can ever repay, not only in knowledge of the many splendid arts and disciplines, but in their transmitting the very soul of democracy, education, and inquiry.

I find it rather curious that I spend the better part of my semi-retired days doing little more than reciting the lessons they taught me — “in my own words”, as they say.

They always said, “Yes, it will all be on the test”.

I just didn't know till now what they meant.

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Comment 7

Here's a good article that will help Michiganders understand the brand of Billionaire Boys' Club financed PR campaign that we can expect to see spreading from Detroit to the rest of the State over the coming year — unless we put a stop to it —

Michael T. Martin • “Waiting For SuperFraud”

• http://ksdcitizens.org/2010/12/22/waiting-for-superfraud/

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Comment 8 (Reply)

The CPAs who run our Statehouses these days love any quantity they can measure to the 5th decimal place — they couldn't care less if it has anything to do with genuine learning, much less the qualities of caring, character, citizenship, creativity, critical thinking, and culture that they have no clue how to run through their strainers.  So they'll measure what's easy to measure and ignore the rest, dragging us back to the 1-dimensional mentality of behaviorist pigeons and rats that professional educators left in the decimal dust 30 or 40 years ago.  But hey — What they don't know don't count as knowledge.

Or maybe it's time for Real Teachers to wash these Amateur Bean Counters out of their hair.

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Comment 9

The main thing that everyone needs to understand is that what you see happening in Benton Harbor, Detroit, and Pontiac will be coming your way sooner or later if not already arrived. It has nothing to do with black vs. white, left vs. right, liberal vs. libertarian, or any of those old-fangled diversions. It goes beyond education, public safety, public services, and even beyond the public sector to the very ideas of community and the common good.

If you don't comprehend the reality of that yet, then you owe it to yourselves to find out about the corporate ideology groups that fly under the banners of ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), the Broad Foundation, the DeVos family, the Koch brothers, MCPP (the Mackinac Center for Public Policy), plus a complex web of derivatives and spin-offs almost beyond counting — but have mostly been flying under the radar of public attention for decades now.

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Jun 27, 2011 — We All Benefit From Government

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BCE -- We All Benefit From Government

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Karmel Puzzuoli • “We All Benefit From Government” (June 27, 2011)

• http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20110628/OPINION03/106280302/We-all-benefit-from-government

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Comment 1

The English word “govern” comes from a word in ancient Greek that means to pilot or steer a ship.

If you look at our whole society and you look at all the forces that it takes to govern it, to steer it on whatever course it takes, for good or ill, you will realize that only a small part of that governance is managed by elective officeholders. That part of the “rudder crew”, if you will, is what we know as our representative government, the genuinely democratic portion that is supposed to represent the People's concerns and interests to the Helm. Those are the hands that are most visible, and it is well that we keep our eye on them — whenever we catch a second to raise our heads from the oars, that is. But there are far more hands on the rudder, far less visible hands, and we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to open our other eye to what those quicker hands are about.

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Comment 2

Speaking of Clean Water — Not ! — here's a couple of recent stories on the activities of Michael Stampfler, Pontiac's shiny new Emergency Magnifier.

A²Politico • “Michigan EFM Outsources Water Treatment to Company Indicted By DOJ For Felony Violations of the Clean Water Act”

• http://www.a2politico.com/?p=8518

Detroit Free Press • “Pontiac Emergency Manager Not Lost, Just On Vacation”

• http://www.freep.com/article/20110625/NEWS03/106250407/Pontiac-emergency-manager-not-lost-just-vacation

Those of you who believe in suing contractors for negligent performance — I can hardly wait for the day when you try suing one of these Corporate Caesars for their Emergency Mayhem — of course, you'll have to find them first.

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Comment 3

It is well past time we woke up to the fact that the wool being pulled over our eyes in the realm of public education extends to the entire sphere of public infrastructure and public services, all the things that the American People simply cannot afford to abdicate to the agents of private corporate profit, not to mention foreign national interests. Just by way of a hint, here's a recent article —

Dylan Ratigan • “America for Sale : Is Goldman Sachs Buying Your City?”

• http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/america-for-sale-is-goldm_b_877285.html

<quote>
In Chicago, it's the sale of parking meters to the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi. In Indiana, it's the sale of the northern toll road to a Spanish and Australian joint venture. In Wisconsin it's public health and food programs, in California it's libraries. It's water treatment plants, schools, toll roads, airports, and power plants. It's Amtrak. There are revolving doors of corrupt politicians, big banks, and rating agencies. There are conflicts of interest. It's bipartisan.

And it's coming to a city near you — it may already be there. We're talking about the sale of public assets to private investors. You may have heard of one-off deals, but what we'll be exploring with the Huffington Post is the scale and scope of what is a national and organized campaign to shift the way we govern ourselves. In an era of increasingly stretched local and state budgets, privatization of public assets may be so tempting to local politicians that the trend seems unstoppable. Yet, public outrage has stopped and slowed a number of initiatives.
</quote>

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Comment 4

When democracie­s run into problems,
They solve them by democratic means,
Or else they cease to be democracie­s.

We either believe in democracy or we don't. That belief may be a kind of faith, but it is based on reason not fantasy. If you believe in democracy then you deal with the problems of society by working within the framework of democratic principles.

If you believe in democracy then you don't go jumping on the first excuse to toss democracy aside. That is one of the first resorts of all dictatorships to get their feet in the door, because there are always lots of problems to serve as convenient excuses for martial law. And if there aren't enough troubles to throw the People into a state of crisis, then it's the easiest thing in the world to create a bunch more.

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A number of voices in the air these days are trying to sell us on the idea that we have a choice between Big Government and Small Government.  A shrewd buyer would be wise to ask why they are trying to sell us that.

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Jun 28, 2011 — Marshall Schools Make Cuts, Dig Into Savings

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BCE -- Marshall Schools Make Cuts, Dig Into Savings

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Marshall Schools Make Cuts, Dig Into Savings To OK New Budget (June 28, 2011)

• http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20110628/NEWS01/110628001/Marshall-schools-make-cuts-dig-into-savings-OK-new-budget

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Comment 1

The Governor and his Privateers are starving the Public Sector in Michigan out of existence for a reason, so that private corporations can complete their hostile takeover of all public services. They stopped being content with tax abatements, bailouts, bribes, incentives, kickbacks, and worker concessions a long time ago — they want nothing less than the automatic funneling of tax dollars directly into their private corporate bankrolls without the annoying interference of all us pesky commoners.

Mackinac Center For Public Policy • “State Needs Privatization”

• http://www.educationreport.org/15050

Lansing State Journal • “Going Private? — Snyder, Republicans Put New Focus On Merits Of Privatization”

• http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110515/NEWS04/105150528/GOING-PRIVATE-Snyder-Republicans-put-new-focus-merits-privatization

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