RNC Convention Day 1 - Ugly

Tuesday, August 29 was the first day of the RNC convention. As part of their proceedings, they released their education platform, which takes a sideswipe at educators

Parents are responsible for the education of their children. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level. Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education, with high standards, in which all students can reach their potential. Today’s education reform movement calls for accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of State and local control of our schools, and it wisely sees consumer rights in education – choice – as the most important driving force for renewing our schools.

Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a personal and cultural identity. That is why education choice has expanded so vigorously. It is also why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have not succeeded, but they have done immense damage.

Privatization and "choice" also take prominent position in the platform, as Ed Week notes

•Doesn't see more money as the solution for improving education. That tracks with the budget proposed by the presumptive veep nominee, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, which calls for big cuts in domestic discretionary spending, the category that includes education.

•Pushes what does works in the GOP view instead of more funding: accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers; higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; and periodic testing in math, science, reading, history, and geography.

•Calls for rigorous academic standards, but doesn't actually mention the words "Common Core State Standards Initiative." Instead, it "affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations."

The biggest news from day 1 of the RNC Convention had little to do with education at all. According to widespread media reports, an attendee at the Republican National Convention threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals”.

This shocking and ugly event followed on from an earlier event that was similarly ugly

Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism

The video of the event is here.

Later in the evening Ann Romney spoke, and so did Governor Christie - both appearing to speak at cross purposes.

Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention tonight:

Tonight I want to talk to you about love. I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children's children.

Chris Christie, 20 minutes later:

But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever. I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.

While Ohio Governor John Kasich didn't speak of love, he did espousethe economic recovery in Ohio. He failed to mention however, the repeal of SB5 and his own budget that has caused a school funding crisis and local tax hikes.

So that was an eventful day 1. Probably a day the GOP would like to have back.

Education News for 07-16-2012

Statewide Stories of the Day

  • New state law: Third graders must read to pass (Marion Star)
  • MARION - An educator will tell you that, until the third grade, a student learns to read. When that student reaches third grade, that's when the student reads to learn. A new law in Ohio adds another layer to that adage. A third-grader will have to read to pass. A compromise in Columbus postponed the full implementation of what's called the third-grade reading guarantee. Students entering third grade in 2013 will have to pass a threshold to be determined by the Ohio Board of Education. Read more...

  • Troubled tutoring service gets dismantled (Dayton Daily News)
  • A troubled tutoring program that drew allegations of fraud and mismanagement locally and across the state has been dismantled in favor of giving local school districts more control over providing help to struggling students in low-performing schools. The Ohio Department of Education revamped the federally-funded Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program as part of its waiver under No Child Left Behind. Individual school districts will now receive money through the program and be in charge of providing the necessary oversight. Read more...

Local Issues

  • Property owners pay to ‘settle’ schools’ tax-value appeals (Dispatch)
  • Property owners owe taxes to schools, parks, libraries, county agencies that protect children and help the developmentally disabled, and others. But what if they could cut a deal to pay just the schools and make part of the potential bill that they owe the others disappear? It’s happening more and more as businesses settle property-value disputes with a “direct payment” to a school district in return for the district dropping a case in which it claimed that a parcel’s appraised value was too low. Read more...

  • Talk about East Holmes schools over breakfast (Times Reporter)
  • BERLIN — Residents of the East Holmes Local School District are invited to join board members and administrators for breakfast and conversation about the schools during a series of meetings in the coming weeks. Residents will have the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns directly with the board and to have any questions answered. Meals will be paid for by the Citizens For East Holmes for any East Holmes resident willing to attend. “We want to talk about whatever they want to talk about,” said Superintendent Joe Edinger. Read more...


  • Talk to kids about sexting (Houston Chronicle)
  • There was a time, not that long ago, when a young person's occasional minor lapses in judgment were treated mostly as private matters involving his or her parents, maybe school officials and perhaps a member of the clergy or other trusted counselor. No more. Technology has made many a young person's "What was I thinking!" moment a matter of public and unfortunate permanent record - before discretion and privacy concerns intervene. This is not brand-new. Read more...

Straight Talk on Teaching Quality

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University recently published a paper titled "Straight Talk on Teaching Quality: Six Game-Changing Ideas and What to Do About Them" , described this guide as being "about game-changing strategies for improving teacher effectiveness".

The six headlines (organized around "The problem, what needs to happen, who is doing something good, and what can I do) are:

  • Follow Your Bliss: Career Pathways for Teachers
  • Evaluation Nation: Multiple Ways of Measuring Performance
  • Support for Teachers, Not Just Rewards and Sanctions: Why Firing Teachers Won't Lead to Large-Scale Improvement
  • Environmentally Friendly: Why School Culture and Working Conditions Matter
  • No Teacher is an Island: the Importance of In-School Partnerships and Teacher Collaboration
  • No School Is an Island: Partnerships with Parents and Community

It's a short read, and worth the time.

Straight Talk on Teaching Quality: Six Game-Changing Ideas and What to Do About Them

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known -- if it was known for anything at all -- as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life -- Newsweek ranked it number one last year -- and Finland's national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.

Finland's schools owe their newfound fame primarily to one study: the PISA survey, conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best.

Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model -- long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization -- Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play. All this has led to a continuous stream of foreign delegations making the pilgrimage to Finland to visit schools and talk with the nation's education experts, and constant coverage in the worldwide media marveling at the Finnish miracle.

So there was considerable interest in a recent visit to the U.S. by one of the leading Finnish authorities on education reform, Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Earlier this month, Sahlberg stopped by the Dwight School in New York City to speak with educators and students, and his visit received national media attention and generated much discussion.

And yet it wasn't clear that Sahlberg's message was actually getting through. As Sahlberg put it to me later, there are certain things nobody in America really wants to talk about.

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Why won’t Ms. Rhee talk to USA Today?

Michele Rhee has suddenly gone tight lipped

It’s hard to find a media outlet, big or small, that she hasn’t talked to. She’s been interviewed by Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey. She’s been featured on a Time magazine cover holding a broom (to sweep away bad teachers). She was one of the stars of the documentary “Waiting for Superman.” ... And yet, as voracious as she is for the media spotlight, Ms. Rhee will not talk to USA Today.
On May 2, another Rhee spokeswoman e-mailed to say the reporters were too interested in cheating and not enough in StudentsFirst. She said they could submit a list of questions.

There were 21 questions; Ms. Rhee did not answer 10 of the 11 about cheating.

Mr. Gillum, who recently took a job at The Associated Press, said he was surprised by how unresponsive Ms. Rhee has been. “She talks about how important data is, and our story is data driven,” he said.

The whole article sheds an enormous amount of light on the shady way Michele Rhee and her "StudentsFirst" organization operates.

Gov Kasich "I'm done talk, talk, talking

How big of an empty promise was the Governor's offer to sit down with labor and discuss a meaningful compromise? ProgressOhio captures his flip-flop on tape.

From the Governor's press conference Wednesday 17th August, 2011

Governor Kasich, "We're inviting them to talk. We think that would be a good thing for all of us to sit down, see if we can reach some agreement."

Governor Kasich, "erm, when I was approached, err, by, by, er, by, the former Speaker Joanne Davidson, about should we sit down and talk, I said are you kiddin' me? Absolutely we should talk."

On February 26th, 2011 the Governor appeared on the Bill Cunningham radio show and told a very different story. Roll the tape.

Bill Cunningham, "Even at this late date in February are you willing to sit in a room with the representatives of the public employment unions, waway from the television and away from the radio and listen to the legitimate concerns of those that..."

Governor Kasich, interupting, "Listen, I've heard their concerns, I mean it's on TV and in the newspapers everyday. I know what their concerns is, they do not want ot give up the right to collectively bargain."

Bill Cunningham, "Meet with them Governor, You've got to get in a room with 'em Governor."

Governor Kasich, "Bill, Bill, let me explain to you. I'm not gonna let you put me in a position to say that I don't listen. I've listened. I've Heard. I've made a decision. It's not like I'm not talkin' to people. But y'know we spend a lot of time in Ohio talk, talk, talk ,talk, talkin'..."

Bill Cunningham, "And the Governor's done talkin', you;re walkin?"

Governor Kasich, "It's time to do some things."

Here's the video

As if to punctuate the insincerity of the offer ot find a compromise, here's Speaker Batchelder quoted in the WSJ regarding the offer to repeal then deal

Republican House Speaker William Batchelder rejected the unions' suggestion to craft a new law. "That dog won't hunt," said Mr. Batchelder

Urge your lawmakers to do the right thing. Call 888-218-5931 and tell your lawmakers NO DEAL until they repeal SB 5.


The Governor, Speak and President sat alone waiting for a meeting they knew was not going to happen. They even went to far as to create silly cardboard name tags. When asked if they would repeal SB5 so negotiations could happen in an atmosphere of trust they said no to repeal first because it's an "ultimatum" and we would "lose leverage".

Three men, sitting alone. That's what is has come to for the proponents of SB5.