Privatizing Education

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Concerned Teacher
Concerned Teacher's picture

I recently learned that teacher credentialing in some states is being turned over to Pearson, a large educational publisher.  In cahoots with Stanford, prospective teachers will, for a fee, take a 40 page test, which they will submit to Pearson, along with two 20 minute video tapes of themselves teaching a lesson.  About 5-7 states have already signed on to this program for certification of their teachers.

How have teachers been credentialed?  The predominant method has been for the accredited university from which they earned their teaching degree to recommend them to the state department of education's teaching credential division for certification once they have passed their coursework and their student teaching.  While most teachers will continue to enroll in teacher training programs, pass coursework and student teaching, the recommendation of their university will no longer suffice. 

This is a thinly veiled move to increase the financial burden of earning a teaching credential while siphoning a heretofore nonexistant income stream out of the pockets of aspiring teachers and channeling it toward a corporation that is already sucking $millions or $billions from our public educational systems. It perhaps additionally encourages gaining entry to teaching via alternative routes like Teach For America. 


Bush_Wacker's picture
They won't give up until they

They won't give up until they can get their greedy hands on everything and anything.  Eventually they will just privatize government completely and legislature will truly go to the highest bidder.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Here's a headline for

Here's a headline for ya!

Student loans -- for kindergarten?

Bush_Wacker's picture
Many rich people fight a tax

Many rich people fight a tax hike with all of their might but will think nothing of paying thousands of dollars for private school.  It's all about status.  Those same people will pay 20 grand a year to belong to a country club because it gives them "status" in the community.  If the government came up with a program that showed some kind of "Gold Plated Status" for rich people in exchange for a 3 percent tax hike, they would be volunteering in droves.

Isn't it interesting that the

Isn't it interesting that the socialist country of Sweden has a voucher system for education that is working well? Time to learn from other countries.

CollegeConservative's picture
cause its our money if we

cause its our money if we want to spend it on private school or country clubs its our decision. 

Bush_Wacker's picture

CollegeConservative wrote:

cause its our money if we want to spend it on private school or country clubs its our decision. 

You can have your country clubs and private schools.  More power to ya.  Just don't tell me that I have to pay for a privately run school for my kids.  I actually for some crazy reason would rather see my tax dollars go to education and health care than to subsidize huge profitable oil companies and the private military complex.  I guess the rich folk are the only one's who are afforded actual choices though.

douglaslee's picture
My kids went to the number 1

My kids went to the number 1 elementary school in the country [Sweden].  Their ranking has changed as they rank every year, but they have always been in the top ten. My oldest had 8 kids in her class, but they do combined teaching including the class of the  year ahead, and the year behind. Advanced students learn from the students ahead of them, and offer help to the students behind them. Learning is not competition, and some classes adopt a Montessori element. The schools are all incredibly high grade, and it's not based on rich neighborhood funding.  Our house went for 435,000 SEK [Swedish Kronor] which in 96  was 6.90sek to the dollar or about $63,000. Then the exchange rate under Clinton went to 11.00sek to the dollar that made our house cheaper, or $40,000   so we paid it off.  

Our schools are great, parents are allowed to come in and audit the class if they want. [both mine asked me often to come see them]  They had a sofa there, and on a break or during art class my kids could show me their work in progress.


CollegeConservative's picture
1 oil companies aren't

1 oil companies aren't subsidized all that happens is the government allows the companies to prorate the deprivation of their equipment. They get no government money unlike solindra and gm. 2 why should the individual pay for a service I'm not using? If my kids go to private school why am I still taxed for public school?Y economic message of withholding my children and my funds from the public system is drowned out by forced cooperation.

douglaslee's picture
Here is what schools are

Here is what schools are teaching


46% of Americans Cling to Creationism Email    Print    Share

    Posted on Jun 9, 2012Amy Watts (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

A Gallup poll last month revealed that almost half of Americans are anti-empiricists—that is, they trust ancient descriptions of the world they live in over scientific explanations developed through a direct experience of it.

Forty-six percent of Americans believe that a deity created humans in their present form some time in the last 10,000 years, according to what respondents told pollsters. The percentage has changed little in the last 30 years, during which time the backlash against teaching evolution in public schools has continued, if not expanded, with great strength.

One-third of Americans said humans evolved with God’s guidance. Fifteen percent said humans evolved, but God had nothing to do with it.

A 58 percent majority of Republicans hold the creationist view of the origin of human life. Forty-one percent of Democrats agree, along with 39 percent of self-described Independents.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly. Follow him on Twitter: @areedkelly.

Gallup Politics:

Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans’ views of the origin of the human species since 1982. The 46% of Americans who today believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years is little changed from the 44% who believed this 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question.

More broadly, some 78% of Americans today believe that God had a hand in the development of humans in some way, just slightly less than the percentage who felt this way 30 years ago.

All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins.

Read more

I guess that means 78% believe in the devil, too.

CollegeConservative's picture
Yes he is real

Yes he is real

douglaslee's picture

CollegeConservative wrote:

Yes he is real

Succubus is female

In this country, no one is

In this country, no one is forced to do anything, even when it comes to taxes.  Why?  If someone dislikes their taxes, they can just renounce their citizenship and leave.  While it is a good thing to try to change bad laws and practices in the government, all the same, no is forced to be a citizen of the USA.  If you don't like paying taxes to the US government, then renounce your citizenship and you won't have to.  By staying a citizen, you CHOOSE to take on its responsibilities, including taxes. If you don't like the responsibilities of citizenship, then stop being a citizen.

Maybe better credentialling

Maybe better credentialling will help this problem.

Teacher dismissals pose challenges for districts

It took Santa Ana Unified less than two months to fire Jackson Elementary kindergarten teacher Linda Palmer after she arrived at work intoxicated in 2010 and then showed up for a meeting to discuss the incident with alcohol on her breath, according to district records.

In the neighboring Westminster School District, however, fifth-grade teacher Shirley Broney remains employed at Midway City's Hayden Elementary despite having pleaded guilty to four DUIs over the past 25 years – two before she was hired and two more in 2002 and 2010. She wore an ankle monitoring bracelet to school after her 2002 conviction, according to state records.

 Third-grade teacher Jayne DeArmond was fired for possessing a .38-caliber handgun in her classroom at Diamond Elementary in Santa Ana in 2008. After students discovered the gun, the school district's police department documented the gun in a series of photos.JEBB HARRIS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER      

Both Palmer and Broney still hold active teaching licenses, but the way these cases were handled lays bare the wide latitude that school districts have in determining what constitutes a terminable teacher offense.

State laws mandate that educators accused of drug possession or sexual crimes against children be pulled from their classrooms immediately and terminated if convicted. But many other types of cases fall into a grayer area, leaving it up to each school district to evaluate the particular facts of a case and decide how to proceed.

Over the past five years, Orange County school districts reported 35 teachers leaving their staffs and one more case pending – nine more than the state required – over issues including criminal convictions, sexual assault and verbal abuse of students. The county's districts employ about 20,000 teachers.

"HR is not an exact science," said Sandy Hall, the Orange County Department of Education's executive director for administrative services. "There are so many things involved, so many variables to take into question. You have to take each case on a case-by-case basis."

Westminster School District Superintendent Richard Tauer said district officials decided against initiating dismissal proceedings against Palmer because the state did not revoke her teaching license.

"It's a shame that the credentialing commission didn't take further action," Tauer said of the state's decision to suspend Palmer's license.

"In terms of rising to the level of an employee dismissal, our legal counsel advised us that it's very unlikely we would be successful because these infractions were not specifically related to her employment with the district."

Santa Ana Unified spokeswoman Deidra Powell said keeping children safe and providing them good role models is the district's No. 1 priority. Five of the 12 teachers removed from service in Santa Ana still possess valid teaching licenses.

"We have been aggressive in terms of teacher discipline," Powell said. "Our board and superintendent have very high standards."


Because state laws give school districts the ability to terminate an employee for such vague offenses as "immoral conduct" or "evident unfitness for service," some districts use that language to more aggressively weed out problem teachers, experts say.

At the other end of the spectrum are districts that opt not to initiate dismissal proceedings, even after a teacher is criminally charged.

"Districts sometimes struggle to demonstrate they have reached the level required to terminate the teacher," said San Francisco-based lawyer Laura Schulkind, president of the California Council of School Attorneys. "They're obligated to show there's a connection between the misconduct and the teacher's classroom effectiveness – will it impede the teacher's ability to be a moral exemplar?"

Fourteen Orange County school districts reported that from 2007 to July 2012, no teachers voluntarily or involuntarily left their jobs amid misconduct accusations. Of the other 14 districts that did, one-third of the cases were clustered in one school district – Santa Ana Unified, the county's largest, with 57,250 students.

Santa Ana Unified reported 12 teachers who resigned or were fired during investigations into their conduct. The county's second-largest district, Capistrano Unified – with 53,170 students – reported three such departures.

No district except Santa Ana reported more than three such departures in the five-year period, according to documents that the districts provided in response to an Orange County Register public records request.

Still, experts say it's impossible to know whether a district such as Santa Ana had more bad apples in its ranks or simply was more aggressive than neighboring districts about pushing out problem teachers.

Santa Ana's recently departed teachers run the gamut, with many not accused of crimes that caused them to lose their teaching license.

Segerstrom High School teacher Michael Seals was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of soliciting an undercover police officer for sex a few blocks from his school. Seals resigned after the district initiated termination proceedings against him, but his criminal case was dismissed after he served probation, and he still has an active teaching license.

Similarly, Willard Intermediate School music teacher Steven Jones retired in 2010 after the district began the process to fire him after he was accused of physical violence against children. But criminal charges were never filed, and Jones still holds a valid teaching credential.

The teacher was accused of grabbing a student by the neck and forcing him out of a chair; two months later, he was accused of entrapping a small group of students in his classroom and then grabbing one of the students by the wrist as he attempted to seize a piece of paper from her.

"We're constantly looking for ways to improve and increase the amount of screening we do," said Chad Hammitt, Santa Ana Unified's assistant superintendent for personnel. "We want to make sure anyone we put in front of kids is doing their best instructionally and morally."


A number of factors can affect teacher removal rates among school districts, said Jennifer Goldstein, chairwoman of Cal State Fullerton's educational leadership department.

The number of applicants for a particular teaching position determines how selective a district can be, which in turn affects the amount of leeway to weed out less-than-stellar candidates, Goldstein said.

Also, a school's degree of openness affects how likely staff and students are to report suspicious activity and wrongdoing, Goldstein said. Teacher misconduct is more likely to be detected and reported at a school where teachers are constantly interacting with and being informally observed by peers, and where students feel comfortable and supported when lodging complaints, she said.

"It's very different than a place where kids are more anonymous and adults maybe have a more adversarial relationship with students and are more concerned with defending their colleagues against students," Goldstein said.

School district hiring personnel say they do everything they can to prevent problem teachers, especially child predators, from ever entering the classroom.

Some districts require that all prospective teachers be interviewed at both the school site level and by the district office. Others have applications reviewed by district staff trained to spot flaws such as false, incomplete and conflicting information. Some hiring officials also try to find and speak with individuals who aren't listed as references by the candidate.

Even in cases in which the district receives hundreds of applications per job opening – a common phenomenon now because of the huge numbers of laid-off teachers – districts insist the screening process remains just as vigilant. Not every application is rigorously screened, of course, but anyone who emerges as a finalist is methodically evaluated, officials say.

Interviewers are trained not just to vet whether the individual will be an effective teacher, but also to identify any potential character flaws, said Mark Douglas, the Fullerton School District's assistant superintendent for personnel. Asking questions designed to gauge someone's character and personal ethics is common, he said.

"It's a mix of training and intelligence," Douglas said. "Sometimes you can meet someone and tell right away if you wouldn't want to take them to dinner."

Russell Lee-Sung, assistant superintendent for human resources for the 32,700-student Anaheim Union High School District, said one red flag for him is references and recommendation letters provided by fellow teachers instead of from principals or other supervisors. He said he would likely avoid hiring any candidate whose former supervisor didn't provide a glowing recommendation.

But, he added, "There is no guarantee that any employee you hire will be successful, even when they may have been the perfect employee at their previous job."

Lee-Sung remains at the center of his school district's legal battle to fire former Oxford Academy high school history teacher Christopher Ontiveros, acquitted by a jury last year of five felony counts of having sex acts with a 17-year-old female student.

Lee-Sung said he could not discuss the case, but after Ontiveros was acquitted, Lee-Sung argued in a legal brief that the teacher had demonstrated unfitness for service and immoral conduct, and "persistently violated or refused to obey" laws and directives.


Of the 36 Orange County teacher misconduct cases reviewed by the Register over the past five years, about two-thirds involved allegations of a sexual offense, whether grooming of a student victim or having a long-term sexual relationship.

Robert Shoop, a Kansas State University professor who has written extensively about teacher sexual misconduct, said most teachers who have inappropriate contact with students aren't serial child molesters, but rather fall victim to their own shortcomings and personality flaws.

Shoop said schools must be vigilant about monitoring teachers who:

• Have a poor sense of boundaries.

• Make unethical decisions of any kind.

• Have a difficult time discerning between right and wrong.

"In many cases I've seen, other teachers didn't recognize the behavior, or saw it and didn't report it, or couldn't believe the teacher was capable of it," said Shoop, author of "Sexual Exploitation in Schools."

"The bottom line for me is, if a school has a suspicion and can't prove it but thinks it might be happening, they have to question what they would rather defend – a wrongful-termination lawsuit or a teacher who rapes a child?"

Your comment is a good

Your comment is a good example of the left's vilification of the wealthy or really the perceived wealthy. Private schools, in many situations, provide better opportunities, safer environments or specialized education not readily available in the local public system. Look around any urban center and the private schools are filled for these reasons. Further, most of the students are not wealthy by any standard. Some choose private schools for religious reasons, some for sports and activities that are available. And, probably, yes some for status. That's probably true in some cases with regard to private clubs, but to generalize and stereotype is inaccurate. I live in a rural community with no public pools. In the summer, if you want to swim, you join a private club or put a pool in. It has nothing to do with status. The cost is $300 a year. I highly doubt anyone is amazed at my "status" of belonging to the club.

What you fail to realize with regard to taxes is that many people who you might consider wealthy have no objection to higher taxes. They object to use of those taxes on wasteful ineffective redundant policies and programs. As an example, this thread is about education. Are you going to tell me there is no waste in our public school systems? Yet, each year they come back for more money and higher taxes. I think many of the people you consider wealthy feel as though you shouldn't raise my taxes until you clean up your mess. Should we really be buying new band uniforms and football equipment and laying off teachers?

douglaslee's picture

supports the OP of this thread. Screwing the kids in elementary school,  condemning them to 40 years of indentured servitude for higher learning is the new norm. Then deny them the right to vote through the newer voter suppression tactics and get hardly a whimper. Goldman Sachs underwrites and owns a slew of the for profit colleges, so it must be right, and just, because it is profitable, like slavery was.

For about 150 years, the Midwest’s education philosophy—a philosophy that prevailed elsewhere in the United States as well, if less emphatically—was centered on a commitment to preparing students to do useful work. Local people, connected to their communities, built successful schools based in large part on this pragmatic principle. But today this principle is undercut by political demands for ever-shifting versions of reform, by market demands for efficiency, by smothering student debt loads, and by the mistaken priorities of colleges racing for prestige. The debate over improving education—in the Midwest and throughout the country—often seems hopeless, but it turns out that we have long known what to do and are now suffering from the abandonment of the good methods we once pioneered and practiced.
Failed states often show their degree of failure through their education system and their healthcare, both of which are predatory.Imagine the people that think predatory behaviour is a successful cultural model for a sustainable society and you will see predators.  They are the operators of prisons, private security [aka mercenaries], and basic fraud and graft. The new measure instead of gdp or gnp, ought to be ggp , gross graft product .40% of gdp is now finance, 10% is A&P [marketing].How much is spent on bribing I do not know, but the tax free units in the IRS non scandal indicate it is substantial. Healthcare is 17%. When the obituary is written or the history books written, they will mention how profitable Uncle Sam was before he died.


I am so sorry for saying

I am so sorry for saying this. It makes me sound like a bully. I can't explain why I am so hateful here. Yes, people can leave if they don't like things, but I still would like to cooperate and negotiate with people. Man, two years ago I wrote this! I must have evolved and changed. Whoa!