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It is no secret that I have been disgusted with the whole idea of Istation as NC's new K-3 reading diagnostic tool. If you have not heard about it (or need a refresher), read our previous posts More Screen Time for our Students Thanks to Superintendent Johnson and Despite Claims, NC Superintendent Mark Johnson is not Showing Transparency for more information about how Superintendent Johnson procured for Istation against the recommendation of the evaluation committee and why our students deserve better.
So while thinking about how we got to this point with elected officials making decisions for our students without expert input, I was reminded that we have been going down this path for a while in NC with the move to privatize public education.
Public Schools First NC (PSFNC) explained that
Privatization of public schools refers to efforts by policy makers to shift public education funds into the private sector. It is an attempt to contract out to private, for-profit entities responsibilities, like education, that have long been the responsibility of the public sector.
PSFNC told some ways privitazation is occuring including
-the increase in high stakes testing in which students with lower family incomes are less likely to perform well on tests than students from weathier families. (Read more here.)
-unfairly using test scores to assign school report card grades and to take over less wealthy schools, grouping them into an Innovation School District run by charter companies (some for-profit).
-Increased funding of charter schools (often for-profit or online)
-School vouchers that take money out of the public school systems to give to private and faith-based schools.
Read more here about concerns about privatizing public education.
Stu Egan, Caffeinated Rage, wrote about "reforms" that the privatizers have initiated including "eliminating longevity pay, taking away graduate degree pay and career status from newer teachers, revamping the salary scales, and cutting teacher assistants were just a few of the actions taken to 'reform' public education."
Read more here as Egan explains how "NC has become the nation’s Petri Dish for harmful educational reforms."
Egan said, with the privatization comes "the push to 'innovate' and 'personalize' learning [which] has led to more technology in the classrooms that seems to take away students from engagement with a professional teacher." He referenced Rep. Craig Horn's idea for virtual pre-K and of course, Istation.
He explained how Mark Johnson became the most powerful NC Superintendent of Public Instruction after the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB17 into law which took away some checks and balances with the State Board of Education. Johnson had very little experiences and was given more power to make decisions about things he knows nothing about.
Mark Johnson was not given this power to champion the public schools; he is there to champion those entities that want to weaken public schools and allow more private entities to take a foothold in North Carolina such as charter schools. He is there to keep the Petri Dish that is North Carolina full of "reforms."
Read more here.
Johnson (and other privatizers) makes important decisions about our public schools and often does not hold charter schools to the same standards. For example, charter schools are not required to use Istation like public schools.
Speaking of charter schools, Egan wrote Paying to Play? Outsourcing Public Education (and Dollars) to Out-of-State Charter Chains. Here he explained how for-profit companies are running charters in NC and making significant campaign contributions to those privatizers who help keep their charter schools in operation. See a list of some politicians that have profited.
Here we see the vicious cycle: I privatize so I can profit, and when I profit I perpetuate the privatization.
Read a long list about how this privatization has hurt our public schools in Thank You Sen. Berger – NC Schools From 2011 to 2018 Went From 19th to 40th.
Read more about how those who have served in the NCGA have received donations from for-profit companies who run charter schools.
Read more about how Mark Johnson takes direction from Senator Phil Berger.
Read more about how politicians are profiting from the privatization of public schools here and how personalized learning is contributing including how Mark Johnson Listened To One Lobbyist Over An Entire Profession – Looking at ClassWallet and iStation.
We have got to stop the privatization of public schools. It's not too early to think about better voting choices for NC.
Tags: (Education, Istation, State Superintendent, NCGA, charter school, privatizing, personalized learning)
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