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K-12 Education Policy & Urban Education
Bush's Education Agenda    
Also published in the Spring 2002 issue of Socialist Appeal
10 February 2002.
       With massive bipartisan support, Congress recently passed Bush's education bill. Democratic Party Politicians also support most of Bush's education agenda. G. W. Bush is basically a cheerleader for the post-1983 K-12 school reform movement spearheaded by the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and launched with the infamous 1983 report titled 'A nation at risk.'  Doug Mann explains why Bush's education agenda cannot deliver on its promise to close the academic achievement gap, and has, in fact, caused the academic achievement gap to widen.

Houston's "zero dropout" miracle
By Michael Winerip, Rethinking Schools Online
Texas schools report dropout rates, Enron style.

'Choice' and Other White Lies // by Makani N. Themba
Rethinking Schools Online, an Urban Educational Journal; Fall 2001  

Bamboozled by the Texas Miracle // by Teddi Beam Conroy
Rethinking Schools Online, an Urban Educational Journal; Fall 2001

A classroom teacher in Texas describes how a package of reforms, including basic skills testing, has forced teachers to change the curriculum and their teaching methods for the worse.  Read this article before jumping on the 'accountability' bandwagon.

Plan Would Let Principals Pick Staff (Link to Susan Ohanian.Org)
by Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer 10 Aug. 2004
A proposal to allow principals of poor performing schools in Philadelphia
gut their rosters and select a new staff from a pool of applicants
is a part of the federal No Child Left Behind law, and the US
Department of Education has urged districts to add the language
in their forthcoming labor contracts.

The New Educational Eugenics in George Bush's State of the Union
by Greg Palast, Wednesday, January 21, 2004  [Note by Doug Mann] "No Child Left Behind" mandates testing, not access to a quality education for all. In districts where a high concentration of students are being 'left behind,' the test results are generally used to sort and group students for instructional purposes within classrooms and into separate classrooms. 'No Child Left Behind' promotes "choice" programs that provide opportunities for a small percentage of students in failing inner city schools to get into better public schools. For example, the "Choice is Yours," a city to suburb bussing program for K-12 students in Minneapolis is remarkably like "Choice" programs set up in the Deep South during the early to mid-1960s. No Child Left behind does not require school districts to come up with plans to make a quality education accessible to all students.

Re-segregating schools in the name of educational reform  
By: E. Wayne Ross  --  SUNY Binghamton
This 1999 article describes how a Long Island, New York school district
instituted a tracking system, putting elementary and middle school students
onto low, medium, and high-achievement curriculum tracks in the name of
educational reform. This was not an isolated incident of using tests and
the pursuit of improved test scores to justify curriculum tracking, which
of course leaves behind students placed on the lower tracks. White and
middle class students are generally underrepresented in the lower tracks.
Since 1997 most of the elementary / K-8 public schools in Minneapolis have
been assigning students to separate classrooms for reading instruction according to perceived ability by the beginning of first grade, a regime which has produced results similar to illegal, full-time tracking. The federal Department of education has had a policy of "mending not ending" curriculum tracking/ability-grouping since the early 1970s.

Mpls Public Schools: A victim of 'conservative' school reforms
8/20/2002  Should the Green Party candidate for Governor call for 'massive investment and massive reforms' to fix the schools? On average, per-pupil spending on education, reckoned in inflation-adjusted dollars, has steadily declined since the late 1970s in Minnesota and across the US.  However, most of the public schools in Minnesota do a good job of educating nearly all of their students and 'massive reform' is unnecessary.

Recommended Reading
Four brief book reviews

K-12 Education in Minneapolis: A Matter of Class // by Doug Mann
30 November 2001.  Also published in The Pulse of the Twin Cities
" It is understandable that parents with children who are getting the best education the schools have to offer are afraid of losing what they have.  However, 'preserving excellence' for some at the expense of others weakens the entire school system.  It's not enough to preserve excellence where it exists.  It is also necessary to create excellence where it does not exist."  

City Pages Whitewashes Mpls Public Schools
August 27, 2002   Minneapolis Public Schools administration challenges the validity of test scores as a measure of instructional effectiveness at poor performing schools.  

Re: City Pages Whitewashes Mpls Public Schools
August 28, 2002   
A Response to Patrick Peterson, DFL endorsed school board candidate in 2001.  Mann cites the Education Trust's "Dispelling the Myth" reports: Dispelling the myth that schools with high concentrations of poor and/or black students inevitably get poor results due to the disadvantages associated with being poor and/or black

Minneapolis Public Schools not 'measuring up'
14  November 2002 --  posted on mpls issues list

Inner city kids need to be educated, not separated
15  November 2002 --  posted on mpls issues list