This post is a comprehensive review of the education priorities of the Walton Family Foundation.
The Walton family has made many billions of dollars from the Walmart stores.
Walmart comes into a region and undersells every local retail store. In time, the mom-and-pop stores-beloved community institutions handed down in some cases from generation to generation- close their doors, and mom and pop become low-wage greeters at Walmart. The giant Walmart causes an implosion of Main Streets across the region where they are located, as working people shop for bargains and bypass their own community.
If the Walmart head office decides that the store is not making a big enough profit, the Walmart closes and goes elsewhere. It leaves behind dead small towns, towns without a local economy, because the local economy was sucked dry by the big Walmart. Whether the Walmart stays or goes, Main Street dies.
In education, the Walmart agenda is not dissimilar. The foundation supports charters and vouchers, though it prefers vouchers. It seeks to create schools that are non-union and that are able to skim off students from the local public schools. In time, the local public schools will die, just as the Main Street stores died.
They give generously to create an education marketplace of choices; the one “choice” they do not favor is the neighborhood public school. They underwrite major education media to be sure that their agenda gets favorable attention. They fund compatible researchers. They are strategic in their funding.
The Waltons and the Walton Family Foundation have gargantuan financial resources and can exert undue influence on politicians and public policy issues of their choosing. No matter where people come down on the issues of education reform or school choice, we can all agree it is unfair that the Walton family gets to dictate the future of public education because of the amount of money at its disposal, and to do so in a way that is unaccountable to the public.
In their marketplace of choices, the voucher schools and charters compete to get the “best” students.
The public schools take those rejected, excluded, or dumped by the charter and vouchers schools.
The end result: a dual system of schools, all publicly funded. One for the haves, another for the have-nots.
Wingnuts love to talk about the merits of home schooling, but one of the biggest providers of home schooling curriculum shows how little they actually care about education.
A popular curriculum used by home-schooled students has drawn criticism for inaccurate, misleading information and an over-reliance on rote memorization, but those aspects may not be the worst things about it.
A lot of the material that children are exposed to in the Accelerated Christian Education is just astonishingly stupid, according to a former Christian fundamentalist.
Blogger Jonny Scarmanga shared some of the multiple-choice questions he found in some ACE packets used by British home-school students Monday on the blog, Leaving Fundamentalism.
In one question aimed at 9- or 10-year-old fourth-graders, students are given this example: “Children played happily in the water spout.” They are then asked to define a water spout from three examples: “a stream of water,” “two dry ducks” or “playground.”
Another example shows that “Elisabeth Howard sat and listened carefully.” Students are then challenged to identify whether Elisabeth Howard is “a kind of airplane” or “a missionary.”
Still another question asks 12- or 13-year-old seventh-graders to identify whether sports coaches, piano tuners or librarians “can touch the lives of their students.”
If that sounds like a trick question, that’s because it is.
“The correct answer, for those puzzled, is piano tutors,” Scaramanga writes. “It’s not that ACE doesn’t believe that sports coaches or librarians can touch students’ lives. The point is that the exact sentence, ‘Piano tutors can touch the lives of their students,’ has previously appeared in (an ACE packet), and the student is expected to remember this. Verbatim regurgitation of previously seen material is the entire point of the ACE system.”
Accelerated Christian Education’s sole purpose is to make people dumber.
The most obvious way ACE is crap is in its multiple choice questions (of which there are thousands). Here, for your general amusement, are some I found yesterday. I make no claim that these are the best (or worst) of it. They’re just a few I dug up in a cursory jaunt through the PACEs I have. I could go on much, much longer.
This is what happens when you leave education to people for whom religious conversion is everything and learning is a distant afterthought.
ACE students work through the PACEs at their own speed, so theoretically these questions could be for any age. Still, I’ve marked these with the grade and age that ACE thinks the average student will be. Prepare to utter the words for fuck’s sake! more than you ever have before.
My personal favorite:
Accelerated Christian Education is actually accredited in some places.
In the United Kingdom, UK NARIC has deemed qualifications based on ACE to be comparable to A-level. Ofsted routinely whitewashes ACE schools in reports, and ACE nurseries teaching creationism receive government funding.
In New Zealand, ACE qualifications are accepted for university entrance.
In the USA, ACE’s Lighthouse Christian Academy is accredited by MSA-CESS. The curriculum is used in government-funded creationist voucher programs in eleven states.
In South Africa, based on HESA’s recommendation, a number of universities have signed up to accept ACE graduates.
ACE says its curriculum is used in 192 countries and 6000 schools worldwide. This is happening nearer than you think.
All this means that parents are more likely to choose this academically third-rate and theologically fourth-rate education for their children. This has got to stop.
What we didn’t have was sex education. None. What the school called sex-ed was lumped into our religion class, and that’s where all the thinking stopped. The biblically-rooted curriculum left sexually active kids completely on their own, especially the girls. Girls who so much as kissed multiple guys were labeled as “skanks” and ridiculed as relentlessly as they were pursued. Forget putting condoms on bananas, condoms were never even mentioned. Neither was the pill. Or sex, really. We covered the act of sexual intercourse by watching a video in class that included footage from an abortion. Did you read that right? We watched an abortion. In class.
We covered sexuality by reading about Sodom and Gomorrah — sorry straights! You weren’t even mentioned! We wrote five-paragraph essays detailing our thoughts on homosexuality. I found that essay on a floppy disc years later. In it, I wrote that since I was not gay, I didn’t know whether or not it was a choice and therefore couldn’t pass judgment on whether it was wrong. Of course, I was massively gay and didn’t realize it, and honestly: how could I have? To my knowledge, I had never met a gay person. All the effeminate men I knew were priests.
This feeling that I couldn”t be a leader at the school didn’t come out of nowhere. A faith that doesn’t include women in its leadership positions is sending a very strong message to young women. stay off the altar, whatever the altar might be. There is a part of mass where the priest stands in for Jesus, and blesses the stale communion wafers for the congregation. This is why the church says women can’t be priests; we can’t even for a moment; stand in for a dude.
bolded for truth!
Check-out the Author’s blog.
Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows:
A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food and attend him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?
A group of Texas students in the Canyon Independent School District are being taught that they’ll be as worthless as chewed sticks of gum and used toothbrushes if they have sex before marriage.
In a state where the teen pregnancy rates are among the highest in the country, sex education should include facts to keep teens safe, informed, and empowered to make responsible decisions.
Instead, these students got a demeaning lecture intended to undermine their self-worth and stigmatize certain behaviors.
Livid parents are demanding that Canyon Schools leave morality to the family and focus on the facts. If enough of us speak up, we can help them get this curriculum out of the classroom.
Sign the petition to Superintendent Michael Wartes calling on him to remove the “Reality CHECK” abstinence-only program from the district.
Click for the photo and to add your name to the cause.
“We haven’t found a miracle that solves the gender gap,” McKagan was quoted in a release from the American Physical Society. This non-discovery wasn’t from a lack of trying. Reviewing the gender gap studies, the trio identified 30 different factors that have been used to explain the differences. They then boiled those down to six families of factors, including differences in background and preparation, gender gaps that appear on other measures, answering questions based on their personal beliefs rather than what they think a “scientist” would answer, effects from teaching methods, so-called “stereotype threat,” and how question wording affects answers. Some of the source studies in the meta-analysis were quite strident in identifying a key issue, but then other work contradicted that finding.
With the exception of stereotype threat’s effect on performance—which got a big maybe here and a big probably elsewhere—none of these families of factors could fully or even largely explain the disparity. Stereotype threat does affect women’s performance in other arenas—being asked to report their gender has been shown to lower girl’s scores on advanced placement calculus tests, for example, and women reminded that women are allegedly poor drivers were then more likely to hit jaywalkers in a driving simulation. (The paper is available for free and for an academic opus it’s accessibly written, so take a look at the deeper analysis on these issues here.)
One possibility the authors didn’t raise is that there might be some sort of inherent biological difference between genders. While it would take a brave person—or perhaps a foolhardy one—to even suggest this, a glance at global science aptitude courtesy of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggests that culture, not genes, are at play. Examining 15-year-olds in 65 developed countries, girls outscored boys in the majority. Boys, however, outscored girls in Western European nations, the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as Brazil and Chile. (Here’s an interactive scatter plot to make it clear.) Same age, same test, different cultures.
A very cool collection of maps over at WaPo. The video discussing the maps is worth watching, but unfortunately I was unable to embed it here. (Update: video added. —ed.)
The 40 maps that served as inspiration for this collection (linked to in the excerpt below) are also worth a visit, however many tend more towards the humorous than the informative, and some are just downright strange. Still, they’re interesting.
Maps can be a remarkably powerful tool for understanding the world and how it works, but they show only what you ask them to. So when we saw a post sweeping the Web titled “40 maps they didn’t teach you in school,” one of which happens to be a WorldViews original, I thought we might be able to contribute our own collection. Some of these are pretty nerdy, but I think they’re no less fascinating and easily understandable. A majority are original to this blog (see our full maps coverage here), with others from a variety of sources. I’ve included a link for further reading on close to every one. […]
Here’s a list of the maps:
- A political map of the world, circa 200 A.D.
- Where people are the most and least welcoming to foreigners
- The world's major writing systems
- The best and worst places to be born
- World map of major religions
- The countries where people are the most and least emotional
- A European missionary's map of Africa, circa 1908
- Where people are the most and least racially tolerant
- The world's most and least ethnically diverse countries
- Where people feel the most and least loved
- A Russian professor thinks the U.S. will break up into these four countries
- Who loves and hates America
- How the U.S. and China compare on global popularity
- China's disastrous passport
- Gay rights around the world
- Where people are the most and least tolerant of homosexuality
- Languages and dialects of the Middle East and Central Asia
- Where people smoke the most (and least) cigarettes per person
- Economic inequality around the world
- How the U.S. compares to the world on economic inequality
- Global crop yields are stagnating
- The best and worst countries to be a mother
- How al-Qaeda is changing
- More than half of humanity lives inside this circle
- Legal systems of the world
- How far Hamas's rockets can reach into Israel
- North Korea's missile range
- Child poverty in the developed world
- The cancer villages of China
- What Europeans think about the European Union
- Meet the world's 26 remaining monarchies
- The diversity of the Levant
- The nuclear powers, after the Cold War
- How people think their economies are doing
- A partial map of geopolitical anomalies
- Where the atheists live
- What the Muslim world believes, part 1: democracy
- What the Muslim world believes, part 2: religious conflict
- What the Muslim world believes, part 3: honor killings
- The world as seen from space, over a 12-month time-lapse
Gates: I just met with a group of teachers who are using social media in incredible ways. … One of the teachers said, “All I had to do is write and say I’m teaching a lesson on fractions, and I get five great responses back.” So [it’s insightful] to hear teachers using social media in deep ways that can really help them, not this scattered way of having to try to find things and not knowing whether they’re really good.
The other thing I heard is a lot about their own continuous learning, and one of the things about the common core is that it’s forcing them to go back to learning themselves. … They’re using the [Literacy Design Collaborative] materials and [Mathematics Design Collaborative] to help them teach the common core. [The two networks are funded by the Gates Foundation.] They’re saying we should be continuous learners, like our students, … and there’s a lot of excitement around that. I hadn’t really thought about how invigorated they would be by those new tools.
They’re not saying it’s easy. They’re saying, “It’s hard work, and I have to have time to do it, and I need to learn from another teacher who’s doing it.” But they’re saying it makes them excited about their craft, and it’s elevating their craft, and it’s going to help them be better teachers because of it.
Education Week: The Gates Foundation provided support to the groups who helped write the Common Core State Standards. What does the foundation make about the political battles over common core, some of which have targeted the foundation’s involvement?
By Jonny Scaramanga
When Joshua Bass, an engineer, sent his son to iSchool High, a Houston charter school, he was expecting a solid college preparation, including the chance to study some college courses before leaving high school. Instead, the Basses were shocked when their son came home from the taxpayer-funded school with apparently religiously motivated anti-science books.
One of these books blamed Darwin’s theory of evolution for the Holocaust
[Hitler] has written that the Aryan (German) race would be the leader in all human progress. To accomplish that goal, all “lower races” should either be enslaved or eliminated. Apparently the theory of evolution and its “survival of the fittest” philosophy had taken root in Hitler’s warped mind.