A person named, "Orangepetal," commented on my Huffington Post article. My response follows…
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. My first recommendation for the President-elect or anyone else interested in improving education is to appoint competent thoughtful accomplished educators to set policy. America is loaded with them. American learning theorists and brilliant school-level practitioners inspire educators across the globe.
While I am under no obligation to write any more than I have already done on the subject, I will attempt to write some cogent recommendations for school reform over the holidays. Of course, it is impossible to cover such a complex issue in this forum.
In the meantime, there is a large collection of my work and ideas represented at http://www.stager.org/articles.html
The CEO of Hooked-on-Phonics(r), obviously a digital native, issued a global press release highly critical of my article in the Huffington Post, Obama Practices Social Promotion. I would have been more grateful if the press release honored traditional netiquette and linked to the article in dispute. I could use the eyeballs.
After all, I was courteous enough to link to their press release endorsing the nomination of Duncan in my article
The CEO of Smarterville, purveyor of Hooked-on-Phonics(R) even took the time to comment on my personal blog urging all of you in bloggerville to participate in their philanthropic activities.
I would however like to correct the Hooked-on-Phonics press release. They repeatedly refer to me as Mr. Stager, when I am Dr. Stager or Gary Stager, Ph.D. I did spend nearly 40 years practicing with flash cards in order to earn that doctorate. It would be a shame to waste it.
All I want for Xmas is comments on my Huffington Post article
I think I’ve been good, even if the Hooked-on-Phonics(R) folks think I’ve been naughty!
Happy Holidays to All!
Thanks to Will Richardson for the tip!
Alfie Kohn says, "In education, parody is impossible."
Obama said it was time for Washington to move beyond "tired debates" such as whether to approve the use of vouchers for students to attend private schools.
"We cannot continue on like this. It is morally unacceptable for our children and economically untenable for America," said the president-elect.
Is he for vouchers AND unqualified Secretaries of Education too?
Four years ago I wrote about the profound stupidity of merit pay in John Kerry’s Education Plan – Do we need a tip-jar for teachers?
I’m getting tired of repeating myself.
For decades, Substance, has reported on public education in Chicago. They have made enemies in the teacher’s union, school board and central administration. It’s editor was terminated by the Chicago Public Schools during the Duncan/Vallas regime for whistle-blowing on standardized testing. The legal case waged in the courts for 6+ years until the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.
The following is a portion of the editorial written by the Substance team about President-Elect Obama’s Secretary of Education nominee and basketball buddy, Arne Duncan:
For the past six years, we’ve watched while Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan lied repeatedly to the public about how and why he was closing dozens of public schools. Duncan was not trying to improve public schools in Chicago for all children, but was in command of a ruthless privatization plan that is designed to undermine traditional notions of public education for urban children and replace them with a crackpot version of “market choice” that exists only for the wealthy and the powerful.
The key to Duncan’s ability to get away with the Big Lie, however, is not Duncan’s own eloquence, but the face that he has the backing of Chicago’s ruling class. From the CEOs of the city’s largest corporations (organized into the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club) to the editorial boards of the two power daily newspapers, Duncan’s lies are amplified every day, and except for the pages of this newspaper and a few other places, unchallenged in the public arena where democratic debate is supposed to take place.
After we reviewed the school closings in Chicago since 2001, when Mayor Daley appointed Duncan the second “Chief Executive Officer” in CPS history, the shocking details began to become clear. Not only were poor black children being forced out of their homes (public housing reform, it was called), but they were also being deprived over and over of access to public schools.
Take some time to read Substance online and consider subscribing to the most independent journalism in public education.
But wait, there’s more! All of the test-crazy, data-obsessed, name-calling, teacher-shaming, kid-harming, fact-manufacturing, union-busting, privatization schemes of the Bush Administration are on track for another four years under the leadership of President-Elect Barack Obama and his unqualified basketball buddy nominee for Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
Make no mistake. The education policies of Arne Duncan and No Child Left Behind are indistinguishable. In fact, President Bush’s trainwreck of an Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, practically nominated Duncan to be her successor four days ago.
Joking that she doesn’t want to "hurt his chances," Spellings nevertheless put in a plug for Duncan during a trip to Chicago to help Mayor Daley dole out $350,000 in merit pay to outstanding teachers and school employees.
"He’s a terrific school leader. I consider him a fellow reformer and someone who cares deeply about students. He’d be a great choice," Spellings said in a news conference at Westcott Elementary School, 409 W. 80th St.
Pressed on what makes Duncan special, Spellings said, "You all know. I mean–you live here with the guy, for goodness sake. He’s a visionary leader. He’s a guy who looks at results. He cares a lot about kids. He’s focused and on point. He has a lot of support from this community."
Merit pay? Now that’s change you can believe in!
President-elect Obama’s nomination of his unqualified basketball buddy, Arne Duncan, sends one very clear message to American educators. "Not a single one of you or the leaders you respect is qualified to run our nation’s public schools."
A basketball metaphor might be timely.
Wake up teachers! If we don’t start playing offense, teaching in the United States will enjoy the same level of joy, purpose and security as working on a General Motors assembly line.
Apparently, "Change you can believe in," stops at the schoolhouse metal detector.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.