"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Walk away from School Districts Striving to have "Distinguished" Teachers Under Bill Gates' LEAP Program.

According to Bill Gates' funded assessments,  Denver teachers need to teach social action to become a "distinguished" teacher. 

Walk away from public education in Denver as fast as possible.  Stop the silly talk about how charters, vouchers and education reforms will "save" education.  Find other alternatives for your children.  It's a sinking ship. As long as schools are directed by special interest money for certain agendas, public schools' curricula may have other purposes in mind than just the 3 R's.

Read below and determine if this is a system worth saving.  From utahnsagainstcommoncore: "The 4th 'R' of Education: Rebellion":

Last night, former gubernatorial candidate and talk show host, Morgan Philpot posted online a link to this alarming article from the Daily Caller:

According to NBC affiliate KUSA, Denver Public Schools is implementing a new system to evaluate teachers. In order to achieve a coveted “distinguished” rating, teachers at each grade level must show that they “encourage” students to “challenge and question the dominant culture” and “take social action to change/improve society or work for social justice.”
The new DPS teacher assessment system, called LEAP (Leading Effective Academic Practice), stems from state legislation passed in 2010 and is overwhelmingly funded by a $10M grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
So let me get this straight. The Gates Foundation signs a 2004 agreement with UNESCO to create a global education system, puts $100 million into funding and promoting Common Core, sponsors a conference on eugenics, funds biometric tracking of children, and now they are funding social justice based teacher evaluation systems. Darn, I wish I could find a pattern here that our state leadership could latch onto.
Debbie Hearty, executive director of the Office of Teacher Learning and Leadership at DPS, told KUSA that she wants kids as young as first graders to emulate Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks and others.

“Education that causes action is really important,” Hearty said. “It’s what our kids do with what they learn and apply in the real world.”

John Peterson, a history teacher at Denver’s East High School, was less enthusiastic about the new metric.
“I really don’t think it’s the right place for the school district to expect teachers to push students to become activists,” Peterson said.

KUSA stressed that LEAP is a pilot program subject to change based on input from teachers and others.
“I hope it’s seen by the district as an overreach or an error,” Peterson added.

Pam Benigno, the Director of Education Policy for the Independence Institute, a libertarian-leaning Colorado think tank, said she views the evaluation criteria as an abuse of power.

Younger children could become confused after receiving encouragement from teachers to attack the dominant culture, Benigno suggested. She also wondered how the new criteria would be used to assess algebra and music teachers.

“Half of the kids in DPS aren’t even reading at grade level, yet the school district wants to make them into little social activists,” Benigno said. (MEW emphasized)

Want to know more about LEAP in Denver?  It's amazing what Bill Gates' $10 Million will buy in a school district.  Susan Ohanian wrote an excellent article last year about LEAP and Bill Gates' involvement.  Ask yourself why Bill Gates is spending so much money telling school districts (and it's not just in Denver) how to operate.  From "A Monster Rubric to Define Who's Effective and Who's Not":

NOTE: The Denver Public School System and the teachers' union are partners in a $10 million grant from the Gates Foundation to fund an overhaul of the district's teacher support and evaluation system. Here's how the Denver Post described it:

Denver Public Schools testing system to give teachers in-class evaluations and feedback

By Yesenia Robles
The Denver Post
Posted: 01/30/2011

An effective teacher will ask students to explain their answers whether they are right or wrong. Effective teachers also wait about 3 to 5 seconds for students to respond, but will give more time to students who are English language learners.
Those are part of the specifics outlined in a 28-page rubric that will be used to evaluate teacher effectiveness at Denver Public Schools using a new framework two years in the making. A pilot version of the framework, called Leading Effective Academic Practice, or LEAP, has been sent out for testing in 16 DPS schools this month.
"We have to roll it out to see how it works, but we really hope it will help us identify our highest performers so we can learn from them and spread that knowledge to the lower-performing teachers who need support," said Tracy Dorland, executive director of educator effectiveness for DPS. . . .

Here's the announcement from the Gates Foundation:
Date: January 2010
Purpose: to accelerate the district’s human capital reform by implementing an aligned teacher performance management system based on research findings from the measures of effective teaching project with student achievement and growth at its core

Amount: $10,000,000

Of course, this is peanuts. Elsewhere, Gates spent big bucks to define teachers in its image:
Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching sites:

  • Hillsborough County Public Schools (Tampa, Fla.): $100 million

  • Memphis City Schools: $90 million

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools: $40 million

  • The College-Ready Promise (five charter school networks in Los Angeles: Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Inner City Education Foundation, and Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools): $60 million

  • Ohmygod, how many pages are in their rubrics? 

    I'll add my own OMG statement.  Dorland has taken a page from the Nancy Pelosi handbook of explaining health care reform and applying it to education reform:

    "We have to roll it out to see how it works, but we really hope it will help us identify our highest performers so we can learn from them and spread that knowledge to the lower-performing teachers who need support," said Tracy Dorland, executive director of educator effectiveness for DPS. . . . 

    Are you ready to take your child out of public school systems supported (or taken over by Bill Gates, take your pick) by LEAP and the Gates Foundation?  Are you tired of these educrats utilizing unproven and untested theories and methods on your children?  I want children to learn in this type of classroom (Ohanian's description) rather than a classroom dictated by assessments and rigidity:

    The education managers who add up the points from official classroom observations can't judge what really counts: Flexibility, the ability to bounce back after 63 defeats, ready to try again. I'm not much interested in seeing how a teacher carefully structures her lesson so that the kids stick to the objectives and the bell always rings in the right place--just after she makes her summary and gives the prelude for what will come tomorrow. I want to find out if that teacher is flexible and tough and clever and loving. I want to be sure she's more nurturing than a halibut.

    What does she do when a kid vomits (all over those neat lesson plans)? Or an indignant parent rushes in denouncing a book? Or the worst troublemaker has a meltdown? Or somebody spots a cockroach under her desk?

    The most wonderful satisfactions of teaching happen in the blink of an eye and are usually unplanned and unexpected. You can miss their importance and lose their sustenance if your eyes are glassily fixed on the objective your lesson plan promises you'll deliver that hour. Our joy is in the daily practice of our craft--and often in those unexpected interruptions. We must talk, not of time on task but of the tantalizing vagueness and the lumps in the throat, the poetry and true purpose of our calling.

    Bill Gates be damned: Keep your eye on the sparrow, not on the Standards.

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