As I wrote recently, when you look at what education reformers do versus what they say, a sane person would run away as fast as he can. It’s all the more galling since reformers, in fine technobrat style, act as if they are highly competent. Well, the takeover of Detroit’s schools by Republican Governor Rick Snyder using the EAA puts the lie to that (boldface mine):
They took over the 15 lowest-performing schools in Detroit and Detroit is already as low as it is. And then they introduce this new model but they really never had a real curriculum, even to this day. In August, when I got to the school, what did we do? We threw out all of the text books. We literally threw them away or sold them to other companies for cash.
A perfect example is that, when I was teaching in middle school, I was trying to teach them how to work with informational text because when they get to college or university, that’s what they’re going to be reading a lot. But I had no textbooks to teach them with so I had to bring in my own magazines and newspapers.
It’s ridiculous. And they gave these kids laptops without blocking any sites at all. I had a class of 40 middle school students and they could go on any site they want. Facebook. Instagram. Youtube. None of it was blocked. They’re supposed to be on this cartoonish BUZZ system which is for like a third grader or a second grader and then expect teachers to put curriculum into it. They actually had teachers on the weekends putting curriculum in it because they couldn’t write it themselves. To this day, they’re doing the same thing.
This is the kicker (boldface mine):
I eventually got to the point as a teacher where I realized that the SCL model was not working. I actually had one of my students come to me and she asked me, “Mr. Glaze, could you please give us a lecture so I can take some notes?”
I was at a loss for words and I had to tell her, “Unfortunately, this is the curriculum that the EAA has and that I have to follow. I’m sorry.”
Again, the problem is teachers unions. Always. So what do you do when even your flagship model school is set up to fail? Lie, of course:
Nolan is one of these schools where they bring philanthropists and people with money to show them that the EAA is working. What my principal did was, to make it look so quiet and normal when visitors came, she would send all of the teachers an email telling us that we were not allowed to let students in the hallway when visitors were in the school. She would threaten us with being written up and told us, “If you don’t want to teach here, you can just go. Teachers are a dime a dozen.” There was a total lack of respect….
Then, when she wanted the kids to do a rap or a song or dance about the curriculum, THEN she’d talk to them and walk them into her office and give them treats and then send them back to the room…
Once when we had visitors come, they asked one of my students what she thought about the EAA and the BUZZ program. She honestly said that it wasn’t helping her. She said, “Why are we doing this? Why are we on the computer all day?”
What happened after that? I was told that, when we have visitors, she’s to stay in her homeroom with me.
So what’s worse: bribing kids with unhealthy food or teaching kids to be dishonest? (We report, you decide, to use a phrase).
It’s worth noting that this inflicted on the needest students. It’s probably also worth noting that if this happened in a wealthy white suburb, well, it wouldn’t continue for very long–though, due to the state takeover, there’s very little parents or local officials could do about it.
But it’s only cognitive development of poor children–blahs no less–so who cares?