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Do NOT be fooled by the Pearson-Powell Alliance Promise

20 Oct

Pearson Awards $600,000 in Grants to Increase High School Graduation Rates in the United States through America’s Promise Alliance, a right-wing corporate organization founded by former four-star general and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell—the American who went on TV and said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction leading to the long war in Iraq, but no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq after the war former President G. W. Bush started there in 2003.

Most Americans know who Colin Powell is but do they know what Pearson is? To discover this infamous UK corporation, I suggest reading Alan Singer’s Huffington Post piece, Pearson and Partners Pay in L.A.

Singer writes, “Los Angeles is only the latest Pearson disaster and is only the most recent time the company will pay for its misguided business practices.”

Will the grant money from America’s Promise Alliance go to the classroom or to more high stakes testing with the agenda of punishment designed to fire teachers and close public school?

To discover the possible answer, all we have to do is look at what happened to the $100 million that Mark Zuckerberg—should we change his last name to Suckerberg—donated as a gift to New Jersey’s Newark schools to help them improve.  The Washington Post offers the answer in The real story: Why Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark schools was announced on Oprah’s show – “Russakoff details what happened with the money and how, in the end, students wound up the big losers in the school reform philanthropy game.”

The burning question here is if the high school graduation rate in the United States is really that horrible that it’s being targeted, again, by the Corporate Education Reform Movement (CERM) as another smear campaign aimed at the U.S. public schools, public school teachers and teachers’ unions.

For instance, high school graduation rates have improved steadily for more than a century. For several decades the 17/18 year old on-time graduation rate was stuck but the overall graduation rate for 25 year olds and up was about 90% because many young people, for whatever reason—usually poverty, that isn’t the fault of public school teachers and their unions—couldn’t graduate on time on the k-12 education assembly line that was created by the state and federal governments and not by teachers or their unions.

In 1900, about a third of Americans age 25 to 64 earned a high school degree and 8 % earned a BA in college.  In June 2015, the on-time high school assembly-line graduation rate was 81%.

US HS graduatoin and BA rate 1900 to 1990

Chart from Russell Sage.org (click on the link and scroll through the charts)

While the above chart only goes to 1990, in 2014, the number of Americans age 25 to 64 who had earned  a high school degree was more than 90% for both men and women, and anyone—even an ignorant fool that supports the CERM—who looked at the following chart should see that both high school and college graduation rates have been literally on a dramatic upward trend since 1900. Does that chart paint a picture of failure for the community based, democratic U.S. public schools?

In addition, the U.S. is ranked 4th or 5th in the world for the ratio of citizens who have earned a college degree.

And then there is this from Time.com, And the World’s Most Educated Country Is… (Keep in mind that there are 196 countries in the world)

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Japan
  4. United States
  5. New Zealand
  6. South Korea
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Finland
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

This top TEN list from Time Magazine puts the U.S. in the top 2.55% when ranked with 196 countries.

I wonder if Canada, Israel and Japan have allowed Pearson and other far-right conservatives from the U.S. to buy their way in with a flawed curriculum and high-stakes test agenda that will rank and punish their public school teachers and close their public schools while turning their children over to private sector, for profit corporations so alleged frauds and psychopaths like Eva Moskowitz are allowed to pay themselves more than $500k annually as they abuse and manipulate OUR children to achieve their obvious greed-and-power driven agendas?

There is always room for improvement, but declaring war against the U.S. public schools, its teachers and the teachers’ unions with this track record of nothing but improvement is a ridiculous, tragic crime.

__________________________________

HEY, LET’S BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AS USUAL

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Graphic OCT 2015

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