Welcome to the Coalition to Protect our Public Schools. We are a group of parents, teachers and education supporters who believe that every child deserves a real school and a real teacher. Our goal is to explain the dangerous drawbacks of privatizing our public schools and provide you with options for REAL education reform. Our purpose is to alert you to the many attacks on our public schools and the horrific harm these attacks are inflicting on millions of school children. Our mission is to arm you with useful ideas on what you can do to fight back against these attacks. Join with us to protect our public schools – and hold the billionaires accountable for the crimes they have committed against our children.
For more than a century, Americans have been the most productive and innovative workers in the world. Because of the innovation of American workers, our economy has been the strongest economy in the world. At the heart of the American economic system has been our public schools - which have consistently produced the most highly trained and creative workforce in the world. Sadly, there is a small group of extremely wealthy people who want to take over and privatize our public schools. They call themselves “education reformers”. But they are really corporate raiders out to destroy the American system of public schools and replace it with a for profit system of private schools paid for with hundreds of billions of dollars in tax payers funds. The death of our public schools would not only mean the death of our economy, but the death of our democracy.
With the future of our children at stake, we need to go beyond merely attending PTA meetings and writing our legislators. If we care about our kids, our economy, our country and our future, we all need to open our eyes and recognize that there is a well-financed war being waged against our public schools – and our children are being used as pawns in this battle. It is time to look behind the curtain and expose those who are waging this war. It is time to examine the real reasons for this attack on our public schools. It is time to admit that we are currently losing this war. We therefore need to develop greater awareness of the tactics of those who are out to destroy our public schools and develop more effective strategies for responding to these attacks. Until we wake up and see this war for what it is, things will only get worse for our kids, our economy and our country.
This is what happens when billionaires take over our public schools
Some people have referred to the billionaire designed curriculum, called Common Core, as being more like bizarre, nonsensical word riddles. Below is one example of a Common Core assignment given to a Kindergarten student in New York State in 2013. The assignment Kindergarten Module 4A Lesson 2 Homework. According to the description on the Engage website, the Objective of this assignment is to “Model composition and decomposition of numbers to 5 using fingers and linking cube sticks.” However, the lesson also includes a concept called “Hidden Numbers” which involves finding embedded numbers. The student is to look at a group of 10 fish and then pretend that five of the fish swam away. Here are the fish.
This is clearly a convoluted attempt to teach children subtraction. What may seem confusing to a Kindergarten child is that seven of the fish are swimming to the left and three to the right. So it is not clear what direction the departing fish are using. Also young children are taught that small fish must stay with the big fish. So why are little fish leaving their parents? It is important to think like a child when creating problems for children. At any rate, after this bad example, the child is given the following even worse “finger” assignment.
There does not seem to be much of a relationship between the fish example and the finger assignment. As you can see, Jaiden was unable to complete the finger assignment. So he asked his dad to help him. The dad has a PHD in Chemistry but he was not able to do this beginning Kindergarten assignment either. The dad is now a vocal opponent of Common Core.
Below is a brief 3 minute video of the new billionaire designed Kindergarten math curriculum in action (Warning: This video looks more like a military indoctrination boot camp than a Kindergarten class. If you are a sensitive person, you may want to skip this video. It gives me nightmares.)
Here is one image from the video...
How many millions of children have already been harmed by the billionaires private schools and high stakes tests?
In Kentucky in 2012, 60% of 670,000 students failed the new tests. The total number who failed the test was 402,000. In New York State in 2013, over 70% of 2.7 million students failed the new high stakes, high failure rate tests. The total number who failed the test was 1.9 million. Thus the total number of students tested so far has been 3.3 million and 2.3 million failed the test. Here is a link to the 2000 page report with the failure rate in New York State broken down by individual school and grade.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 2,000 schools per year are being closed in the US since the push for privatizing schools began in 2004. This is double the rate of school closures in the 1990s where about 1000 public schools closed every year. These school closures affected the lives of over 300,000 students per year.
During this same time, the number of privately controlled charter schools rose from under 2,000 schools to more than 5,000 schools – with enrollment skyrocketing from under 500,000 students to nearly 2 million students. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_108.asp
Because this attack is based primarily on lies, the truth is our greatest weapon. But we need to recognize that it does no good to get informed without also taking action. And it does no good to take action if that action only falls on deaf ears. Some have claimed that we should write letters to Congress or to our State legislators. But it does no good to write letters to Congress or to our State legislators when Congress - and the Legislatures in nearly every State - are owned and controlled by the billionaires intent on taking over our schools.
Others claim we need to write letters to our local TV stations, radio stations and/or newspapers. But it does no good to write letters to the editor when the local and national media are also under the control of the billionaires club and their weapons of mass deception.
Others say we should get more involved with political parties or our local PTA. But it does no good to pass resolutions in your political party or at your local or State PTA when both majority political parties and the leadership of State and national PTAs have been bought off by the billionaires.
There is an entire website devoted to parents and teachers writing hundreds of letters to Bill Gates explaining how his education reform efforts have harmed their children. But it does no good to write letters to Bill Gates when he has made it clear that he does not care about child development research or the number of children harmed by his reforms. Bill, like the other billionaires, is only interested in how much profit he will make. This may sound harsh. But with the future of 50 million children on the line, it is time for those of who do care about children to wake up and understand the ugly corruption and greed that lies behind the pretty face of “school reform.” We need to find a way to get past the avalanche of education reform propaganda and find a better way to protect our public schools. That is the goal of this website. To lift the curtain on corruption and speak truth to injustice – no matter how harsh or ugly the truth may be.
Understand that the underlying cause of this problem is GREED
So what can we do? The most important step is understanding the underlying motivation behind school privatization. It is not now and never has been about school choice or helping students or charter schools or parents rights. The real motivation behind the move to privatize our public schools is greed. There are about 50 million school children in the United States. Wall Street sees every one of these children as an untapped gold mine and an opportunity to increase corporate profits. We spend about $10,000 per student per year on operating costs of public schools. This provides our kids not only with well trained, experienced teachers, but also with councilors, librarians, principals, cooks, bus drivers, nurses, playground monitors, technicians, books, copy machines, desks, markers and white boards. In addition, we spend about $5,000 per student per year on building and repairing schools, school playgrounds and athletic fields. The total is about $750 billion dollars per year. Greedy billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers do not just want a part of this $750 billion. They want it all. Education reform is the “weapon” they are using to get their hands on this money.
The weapons of mass deception these corporate raiders use include No Child Left Untested, Race to the Bottom, voucher schemes, charter schools, common core, unfair, unreliable and counterproductive high stakes tests – which are then used as an excuse for mass firing of teachers and mass closures of schools. All of these weapons are known to harm children, demoralize teachers and shatter communities – especially the poorest students and communities that need the most help.
On this website, we will provide specific information on the drawbacks of the harmful weapons of reform. We will also provide information on alternative actions that would improve our public schools. But instead of wondering why the reformers are so cruel and heartless, or why they are so badly misguided, we need to understand that education reform has nothing to do with improving the education of children and everything to do with improving the profits of a few billionaires.
It does no good to point out that the educational reforms harm students. Those advocating for reform do not care about the harm their reforms inflict on children. All they care about is money and power. If billionaires cared about our children they would not be going to such great lengths to evade paying their fair share of State and federal taxes. Nor would they be spending millions of dollars working to divert billions of dollars away from public schools and into private for profit corporations.
Only Real Action will lead to Real Reform
Certainly, reading the articles and watching the videos on this website are a good start. But this alone will not protect our public schools from being taken over by the billionaires. There is a national organization for concerned parents called Parents Across America that is not under the control of the billionaires. They have exposed corruption, elected members to school boards and promoted real education reform. You should join Parents Across America. Their website is www.parentsacrossamerica.org. There is also a new book by one of our nation's leading educational researchers, Diane Ravitch, called Reign of Error which is essential reading. This is another good step in becoming better informed about the attack on our public schools.
But rather than wasting time writing corrupt officials, you should spend time talking with your friends and neighbors to help them understand how they are being misled by the billionaires. Consider running for your local school board. Even if you do not win, it will give you an excuse to go door to door talking with other parents about the danger of turning over our public schools to a few greedy billionaires. In fact, run for ANY elected office and use it as an opportunity to talk with your neighbors about the need to protect our public schools from corporate raiders. One of the underlying problems in protecting our public schools is that the billionaires have taken over the news media in the US. This gives the billionaires the ability to deceive and manipulate parents into helping them privatize and destroy our public schools. The only way to beat the billionaires is not fall for the lies. Instead, learn the truth and then stand up and speak out.
Instead of Common Core what we really need is common sense. It is common sense that replacing thousands of experienced teachers with poorly trained “TFA” recruits will not help our students. It is common sense that forcing 3rd graders to take high stakes tests knowing they will lose their teacher and maybe even their school should they fail the test is harmful to 3rd graders. It is common sense that tests which fail 70% of the students are simply unfair tests. We hope you will take the time to learn more about the attacks on our public schools and what you can do to protect our public schools. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.
David Spring M. Ed. and Elizabeth Hanson M. Ed.