Suggested Discussion Outline

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Click here for the Suggested Discussion Outline for Prof. Diane Ravitch’s “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.”

After reading Prof. Ravitch’s book, isn’t it obvious that what is really needed is for former President Bill Clinton to read it also and then to pronounce with one of his inimitable smiles – “IT’S THE SOCIOLOGY, STUPID!!!”

After all, John Karls has reminded us each time we study the inner-city holocaust that Identical-Twin Studies (the Gold Standard for determining what is hereditary and what is environmental) consistently show that when inner-city identical-twins are orphaned before their first birthday and one is adopted by a suburban family while the other continues to live in the inner-city, the identical twins adopted by suburban families develop by adulthood measured IQ’s equal to average suburban measured IQ’s, while their identical twins who remain in the inner-cities develop by adulthood measured IQ’s equal to average inner-city measured IQ’s.

And then John Karls always reminds us each time we study the inner-city holocaust that when he was the volunteer treasurer for Eugene Lang’s National “I Have A Dream”® Foundation during the 1990’s when John was one of 179 people (mostly CEO’s of major corporations) who stepped forward to replicate what Gene had done at Harlem P.S. 121 by adopting an entire third-grade class in an inner-city school or an entire third-grade cohort in an inner-city public housing project, that the prevailing conditions in the 51 inner-cities in which the original 179 projects operated were –

· 99% of the “Dreamers” living in single-adult households,
· 95% of total “Dreamer” households headed by single-adults who were drug addicts,
· 75%-80% of total “Dreamer” households headed by a single-adult druggie who turned over any receipts to the pusher so the kids had to steal just in order to eat,
· 100% of the 35-40 kindergartners in the Sunday School of the Baptist Church across the street from John Karls’ first public-housing project drawing only WHITE nurses, teachers, airplane pilots, chefs, etc., when asked to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNEW AT THE AGE OF FIVE THAT THEY WERE INELIGIBLE FOR THEIR DREAMS!!!
· In an environment where the pushers recruit the third graders to be runners, every child knows by third grade that their only realistic career objectives are to be a pimp or pusher, or a girl friend of a pimp or pusher.

And then John Karls always reminds us that those original 1979 IHAD programs in 51 American cities transformed the prevailing SINGLE-DIGIT High-School graduation rates to 60%-65% high-school graduation/college-matriculation rates and that, if the IHAD tutors/mentors told their female “Dreamers” for whom the pregnancy rate was 50% in the first group of IHAD projects that “You could make something of yourself with this program AND IT WOULD BREAK MY HEART IF YOU DIDN’T,” the high-school graduation/college-matriculation rates exceeded 90%.

So, as Bill Clinton would ask, why does anyone in their right mind see the prevailing SINGLE-DIGIT High-School graduation rates in America’s inner-cities as an EDUCATION problem rather than a SOCIOLOGY problem, for which significant results require tutors/mentors who become surrogate parents, coupled with a transformation of the prevailing atmosphere in a third-grade inner-city class (or third-grade cohort in a public housing project) as a result of a college-tuition guarantee as the class/cohort proceeds from third grade through high school???
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johnkarls
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Suggested Discussion Outline

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Discussion Outline – DOES CALLING A RATTLESNAKE A CANARY SOLVE THE PROBLEM IF THE “CANARY” BITES YOU??? – September 12th

A. INTRODUCTION

After reading Prof. Ravitch’s book, isn’t it obvious that what is really needed is for former President Bill Clinton to read it also and then to pronounce with one of his inimitable smiles – “IT’S THE SOCIOLOGY, STUPID!!!”

After all, John Karls has reminded us each time we study the inner-city holocaust that Identical-Twin Studies (the Gold Standard for determining what is hereditary and what is environmental) consistently show that when inner-city identical-twins are orphaned before their first birthday and one is adopted by a suburban family while the other continues to live in the inner-city, the identical twins adopted by suburban families develop by adulthood measured IQ’s equal to average suburban measured IQ’s, while their identical twins who remain in the inner-cities develop by adulthood measured IQ’s equal to average inner-city measured IQ’s.

And then John Karls always reminds us each time we study the inner-city holocaust that when he was the volunteer treasurer for Eugene Lang’s National “I Have A Dream”® Foundation during the 1990’s when John was one of 179 people (mostly CEO’s of major corporations) who stepped forward to replicate what Gene had done at Harlem P.S. 121 by adopting an entire third-grade class in an inner-city school or an entire third-grade cohort in an inner-city public housing project, that the prevailing conditions in the 51 inner-cities in which the original 179 projects operated were –

· 99% of the “Dreamers” living in single-adult households,
· 95% of total “Dreamer” households headed by single-adults who were drug addicts,
· 75%-80% of total “Dreamer” households headed by a single-adult druggie who turned over any receipts to the pusher so the kids had to steal just in order to eat,
· 100% of the 35-40 kindergartners in the Sunday School of the Baptist Church across the street from John Karls’ first public-housing project drawing only WHITE nurses, teachers, airplane pilots, chefs, etc., when asked to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNEW AT THE AGE OF FIVE THAT THEY WERE INELIGIBLE FOR THEIR DREAMS!!!
· In an environment where the pushers recruit the third graders to be runners, every child knows by third grade that their only realistic career objectives are to be a pimp or pusher, or a girl friend of a pimp or pusher.

And then John Karls always reminds us that those original 179 IHAD programs in 51 American cities transformed the prevailing SINGLE-DIGIT High-School graduation rates to 60%-65% high-school graduation/college-matriculation rates and that, if the IHAD tutors/mentors told their female “Dreamers” for whom the pregnancy rate was 50% in the first group of IHAD projects that “You could make something of yourself with this program AND IT WOULD BREAK MY HEART IF YOU DIDN’T,” the high-school graduation/college-matriculation rates exceeded 90%.

So, as Bill Clinton would ask, why does anyone in their right mind see the prevailing SINGLE-DIGIT High-School graduation rates in America’s inner-cities as an EDUCATION problem rather than a SOCIOLOGY problem, for which significant results require tutors/mentors who become surrogate parents, coupled with a transformation of the prevailing atmosphere in a third-grade inner-city class (or third-grade cohort in a public housing project) as a result of a college-tuition guarantee as the class/cohort proceeds from third grade through high school???


B. TERMINOLOGY

A brief review of the following terms is suggested to facilitate effective communication at our meeting –

1. Voucher Programs
2. Voucher Schools (vs. public or private schools at which vouchers may be used)
3. Charter Schools (whether managed by teachers, parents, a non-profit or a for-profit)
4. Privately-Managed Schools (whether public or charter)


C. REVIEW OF PROF. RAVITCH’S “DEATH AND LIFE”

It is respectfully suggested that we pause for, say, 5 minutes for reactions to each of Prof. Ravitch’s chapters in “Death and Life” –

1. What I Learned About School Reform
2. Hijacked! How the Standards Movement Turned Into the Testing Movement
3. The Transformation of [N.Y.C.] District 2
4. Lessons from San Diego
5. The Business Model in New York City
6. No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Measure and Punish
7. Choice: The Story of an Idea
8. The Trouble with Accountability
9. What Would Mrs. Ratliff Do?
10. The Billionaire Boys’ Club
11. Lessons Learned
12. Epilogue: School and Society


D. A “WORK IN PROGRESS” SUMMARY OF STUDIES OF SCHOOL-CHOICE PROGRAMS

NB: Prof. Ravitch chronicles that by the 1990’s, Voucher Programs and Voucher Schools had faded from the scene and been replaced by Charter Schools.

Their effectiveness is best summed up at p. 142 of “Life and Death” –

“A national study in 2009 concluded that students in most charter schools performed no better than those in traditional public schools. Researchers at Stanford University, led by economist Margaret E. Raymond, analyzed data from 2,403 charter schools in fifteen states and the District of Columbia (about half of all charters and 70 percent of all charter students in the nation at the time) and found that 37 percent had learning gains that were significantly below those of local public schools; 46 percent had gains that were no different; and only 17 percent showed growth that was significantly better…The results were sobering, especially since the study was funded by such pro-charter groups as the Walton Family Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.”

And at p. 143 of “Life and Death” –

“A summary of research on charter schools by Tom Loveless and Katharyn Field of the Brookings Institution in 2009 found, as one might expect, a large divide between advocates and critics of these schools. Some researchers found positive effects, some found negative effects, but on the whole ‘NONE OF THE STUDIES DETECTS HUGE EFFECTS – EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.’ Their review also indicated that charters probably promoted racial segregation, since parents chose schools ‘with a racial profile matching their own.’” (All-caps emphasis added.)


E. ETHICAL ISSUES

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1. First Ethical Issue = Turning A Blind Eye

Americans aren’t dumb!!! They know that America has created a Permanent Under-Caste as a result, however unintended, of financing public education through local property taxes. Which means, of course, that inner-cities [which typically have negligible property-tax bases] are not in a position to provide adequate public education. And that American pangs of conscience which have produced some degree of equalization through state grants financed by state-government taxation, have not solved the problem even in those states that provide the greatest levels of equalization.

Education Historian Prof. Diane Ravitch has been unable, in “Death and Life,” to describe a single Charter School [only 17% of which, as she chronicles, perform better than their local public-school competitors] which was successful AND whose success is not attributable largely to: (1) cherry-picking its students from among applicants who, by virtue of applying, come predominantly from the 1% of inner-city households headed by more than one adult or, at least, from the 5% of inner-city households that are not headed by a single-adult druggie, and (2) maintaining their standards by discharging failing and/or unmotivated students which public schools are not permitted to do.

Accordingly, the First Ethical Issue is the morality of politicians who, unlike how we theorize President Bill Clinton would do, pretend this is an EDUCATION issue rather than a SOCIOLOGY issue in an effort to give the American public permission to ignore the problem and their complicity in perpetuating it.

And the “flip side of that coin” which is the morality of the American public in permitting their politicians to lie in order to make the American public feel better -- after all, politicians aren’t doctors who have a license to lie to their patients to make them feel better!!!

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2. Second Ethical Issue = Churchill’s Concentration-Camp Decision

During World War II, worldwide Jewish leaders met with Churchill in an unsuccessful attempt to request Churchill to bomb the Nazi Concentration Camps in order to save Jews.

Their reasoning was that Jews already in the concentration camps were doomed anyway, but destroying the concentration camps would save Jews who had not already been sent there.

Killing thousands who were doomed anyway in order to save millions!!!

The Second Ethical Issue is the converse of the Concentration-Camp question = if a politician is convinced that America will never do anything about the Permanent Under-Caste that it has created, is s/he morally justified in supporting school choice (whether in the form of vouchers or charter schools) in order to save a handful of inner-city children???

Saving a handful, and ignoring the millions!!!

[This Ethical Issue is discussed in greater detail on this Bulletin Board under “Participant Comments” in Pat’s essay entitled “Does Condoleezza Rice Know Whereof She Speaks” and in Pat’s “reply” to his own essay entitled “Upper-Class Condi Rice as Jeb Bush’s Pawn."]

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3. Third Ethical Issue = The “Crimes Against Humanity” Perpetrated by the Gates Foundation and Melinda Gates

In "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education," Diane Ravitch accuses the Gates Foundation, inter alia, of pushing for 10 years the breaking up of failing high schools into smaller high schools and, after admitting the failure of that approach, of now pushing teacher evaluations as the most important approach to failing high schools!!!

“Crimes Against Humanity” are defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court at The Hague as “any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: … (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, …[or] (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering…”

It should be noted that the United Nations Security Council has the power to confer jurisdiction on the I.C.C. with respect to citizens/organizations of countries that have not ratified the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C. which, incidentally, is how the I.C.C. acquired jurisdiction over war crimes in Bosnia.

It should also be noted that “persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law” does NOT require intent. And for a “strict constructionist,” the inclusion of an intent requirement in “other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering” is the “last nail in the coffin” of any attempt to claim that an intent requirement is implied for “persecution.”

Even if there were an intent requirement for “persecution,” there is a long legal tradition around the world including English-American common law, that if a perpetrator engages in reckless behavior, then the perpetrator DID INDEED INTEND the consequences of the reckless behavior. As chronicled by Prof. Ravitch, the Gates Foundation and Melinda Gates did engage in reckless behavior both with respect to their pushing for 10 years the breaking up of failing high schools into smaller high schools and, after admitting the failure of that approach, of now pushing teacher evaluations as the most important approach to failing high schools!!!


F. SIX-DEGREES-OF-SEPARATION E-MAIL CAMPAIGN

Whether to launch one of our Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-Mail Campaigns to request President Obama to propose at the United Nations Security Council a resolution conferring jurisdiction on the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Gates Foundation and Melinda Gates for their Crimes Against Humanity.

NB: As stated by John Karls in the 7/2/2012 Addendum (please see his “Original Proposal” referenced above) --

Yes, I am serious about having Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation prosecuted at the I.C.C. Not because I am delusional that such a prosecution would actually occur, despite how Melinda Gates’ and the Gates Foundation’s “Crimes Against Humanity” will condemn more American inner-city children to “fates worse than death” than the number of victims involved in any prosecution that the I.C.C. has undertaken to date. But because “talking truth to power” in this fashion is the most dramatic way left open to me, in the wake of the failure of the lawsuits against 15 large multi-national financial institutions [please see the third and fourth sections of this bulletin board regarding “Inner-City Holocaust and America’s Apartheid ‘Justice’ System (In Honor of Jonathan Kozol and In Memory of John Howard Griffin)”], to bring publicity to the plight of our inner-city children and how Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation have caused, and still are causing, America to turn away from The Promised Land and, instead, “to wander in the wilderness for another 40 years”!!!

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